Melissa Ricker, PA-C
Melissa Ricker received her BS in Human Biology from North Carolina State University, her MPAS from East Carolina University and completed the WakeMed Surgical Trauma Critical Care PA Residency in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was her completion of a postgraduate training program that sparked her interest and motivated her to remain involved advancing the specialty skills and knowledge of PAs. Currently, she is practicing clinically in Medical Critical Care and holds the position of PA Fellowship Director for the largest and most diverse APP Fellowship at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Melissa has been active in leadership, education and advocacy for postgraduate education and critical care throughout her career. She has severed as past president of the Student Academy of the AAPA and prior Student voting member on the AAPA’s Board of Directors. She was the founding member of AAPA’s Specialty Organization, ‘PAs in Critical Care’ and organized AAPA’s first Critical Care Symposium. Lastly, she is engaged with Society of Critical Care Medicine’s PA Fellowship Subcommittee chair, advocating for PA Fellow academic and professional committment.
As the preimere organization for PAs Fellows and postgraduate progam faculty, Melissa looks forward to advancing opportunities for PAs seeking advanced training, while increasing collaboration with all organizations that promost postgraduation.
Dennis Tankersley, DMSc, PA-C
Dr. Tankersley DMSc began practicing as a PA in 2006, since 2007 he has served as the Department of Emergency Medicine Lead APP at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Colton CA. At ARMC Dr. Tankersley manages an APP Staff of over thirty (30) and an annual PA Fellow cohort of six (6) to twelve (12), who care for patients in one of the busiest safety-net Emergency Departments in California.
Dr. Tankersley is the Founding Director of the EMPA Fellowship, a 14-month high-intensity postgraduate education program for PAs in the specialty of Emergency Medicine. The EMPA Fellowship is currently in its tenth class and has 117 previous graduates.
In addition to his work at Arrowhead, Dr. Tankersley has served as a Society of Emergency Medicine PAs (SEMPA) Board of Directors member and the Chair of SEMPAs Postgraduate Training Committee. In 2016 he was elected to the public office of San Gorgonio Memorial Healthcare District, a subdivision of the County of Riverside, California. In 2017 he was selected by the other board members to be the Chairman of the Healthcare District Board, which is responsible for managing all capital assets of the District including a 79-bed acute care hospital, a free-standing medical office building suite, and the operations of a medical clinic housing multiple specialty medical services. By virtue of this elected role he also serves as an ex-officio member of the San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital Corporate Board, where he provides oversight and governance for Corporate operations.
Dr. Tankersley is also a member of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department Medical Reserve Corp and a leader in the Counties COVID-19 response collaborating with the Department of Public Health and heading a team to support skilled nursing facilities through the pandemic.
Bob Sobule, PA-C
Bob is the Director of PA Fellowships in Psychiatry at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. He oversees two fellowships: one in adult psychiatry and the other in child and adolescent psychiatry. His clinical work is comprised of inpatient psychiatry both adult and child, emergency psychiatry, consult and liaison psychiatry and outpatient psychiatry. Bob graduated from Missouri State University Physician Assistant Program in December 2016 and started at the University of Missouri’s Psychiatry Department in 2017 where he designed the psychiatry fellowship for PAs. He serves as a Director at Large for Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants and is Chair of the Allied Health Professionals Credentialing Committee for University Hospital. In 2017, Bob was instrumental in passing a bill with Missouri Legislation recognizing PAs as mental health professionals. Bob also enjoys serving as clinical faculty for Stephens College Physician Assistant Program as a preceptor in psychiatry. In 2019, he joined APPAP and was elected Treasurer where he is looking to further his leadership and advocacy for postgraduate PA education and training.
Sarah Vanderlinden, MPAS, PA-C
Assistant Director, MCP Advanced Practice Providers
APP Fellowship Director, APP Fellowship Program Director – Critical Care
Physician Assistant, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care Anesthesia
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Sarah Vanderlinden, MPAS, PA-C is the Assistant Director for Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). In her role, she focuses on APP Transition to Practice promoting a foundation for clinical and professional practice. To improve onboarding satisfaction and quality, she developed and implemented the APP Phased Onboarding Program providing a stepwise onboarding structure improving communication and training consistency. Since 2016, Sarah is the APP Fellowship Director and Critical Care Program Director innovating the first centralized post-graduate fellowship at MCW. She is excited to lead APP fellowship expansion across the organization, increasing recruitment and retention in complex and rapidly growing practice areas. Sarah has practiced in critical care since 2006, where her experience as the first APP in adult critical care at MCW and rapid growth of APPs inspired her interest to elevate APP practice.
Synergizing her leadership skills, clinical expertise, and passion for process improvement, Sarah is engaged in inpatient team workflow optimization and clinical quality. Currently, she is developing an inpatient team assessment method to better understand teams and member roles, especially APPs, allowing comparison of current state against high-reliability team practices. With her experience as an Epic Provider Builder, she is involved with optimizing workflows to increase quality of patient care and promote top of license work.
Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame and master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Marquette University. She is a native Wisconsinite where she lives with her husband and daughters.
Alexander Gouttsoul, PA-C
Alexander Gouttsoul is a Board-Certified Physician Assistant at the University of Utah Medical Center, works in inpatient and outpatient services with Internal Medicine and Cardiology. Alexander received his undergraduate degree in Health Promotion And Education from University of Utah and Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from University of Utah Physician Assistant Program in 2010. Since 2012, he has been employed at the University of Utah School of Medicine by Cardiology Division and later by General Internal Medicine as a hospitalist. Alexander had the opportunity to build a IM Post Graduate APC Fellowship in 2017. He remained a director of the program since then, which allowed him to forward his passion in APC recognition by closing the gap in education, offering structured training, and the opportunity for development and shaping confidence.
Heidi Turpen-Folks, PA-C
Heidi Turpen-Folks, PA-C, was born and raised in Southern California. Her passion
for medicine began as an Emergency Medical Technician while working as a ski
patroller at a local winter resort for over 6 years. During this time she received her
Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience at the University of California Riverside in
2003. Heidi completed her Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at
Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona California in 2006. Without a
doubt she had a desire to pursue orthopedics given her prior experience and
decided to attend an Orthopedic PA Fellowship for an intense year of hands on
training at a local trauma hospital.
Heidi’s expertise in orthopedics continues to
blossom over 16 years as a PA and 11 years as the Program Director for the
Arrowhead Orthopaedics’ OSPA Fellowship. This position brought to light Heidi’s
passion to educate other PA’s. She returned to Western University of Health
Sciences in 2013 as a guest lecturer for the PA students during their musculoskeletal
objectives. Heidi continues to be a guest lecturer at Western University of Health
Sciences and University of Southern California each year and enjoys being a
preceptor for our future health care providers.
In her free time, Heidi enjoys skiing, hiking, biking, and kayaking with her husband.
Her love for skiing and medicine has kept her active with the National Ski Patrol and
she continues to volunteer her services every season as a ski patroller.
Jackie Broda, MPAS, PA-C
While completing her masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Baylor College of Medicine, Jackie Broda found her passion for treating pediatric patients. She applied for the opportunity to obtain specialized training in different facets of pediatric oriented surgery in the Physician Assistant Surgery Fellowship Program at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Department of Surgery and graduated in January 2014. The training exposed her to all surgical subspecialties at Texas Children’s Hospital and she found a standout experience in Pediatric Urology. She was fortunate enough to join the Urology team and has deeply enjoyed working with patients and their families to treat and educate them about pediatric urological conditions.
In addition to patient care, she enjoys teaching and has been Program Director for the TCH PA Surgery Fellowship Program, TCH PA Orthopedic Fellowship Program, and TCH PA Community Surgery Fellowship Program since 2018. As Program Director, she has led her team through the application of accreditation through ARC-PA. Jackie has been an active member of APPAP and was recently appointed APPAP Board of Directors as a Director-at-Large of Education.
Jennifer Spisak, MHA, PA-C
Jen Spisak hails from the Midwest, where she attended Purdue University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and Physiology with Honors in Research. During her years in undergrad, Jen acquired a strong interest in research, earning the Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant for three consecutive years in support of her work. Jen delayed her pursuit of clinical medicine to obtain a Master’s Degree in Health Administration and to take advantage of a research opportunity at the University of Chicago, where she worked in a research lab devoted to hormonal regulation of energy metabolism within the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism there. Jen devoted six years to various projects in the lab, and had several opportunities to publish and present her work at national conferences before moving to NYC to pursue a Master’s Degree in PA Studies at Touro College in Manhattan. After graduating, Jen dedicated 18 more months to her education in a postgraduate fellowship in Emergency Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital. Jen has been working as a PA in Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Health since 2015 and serves as their EMPA Fellowship Program Director.