Speakers / Panelists
Alayna Weigel is a CCPA who is currently working at a Family Practice in Orangeville, Ontario. After graduating from the UofT PA program in 2014, Alayna has worked as a PA in Emergency, Hospitalist, and Neurosurgery specialties across the GTA. Before becoming a PA, she worked as a Medical Radiation Technologist specializing in Radiography.
Alayna currently resides in Mono, with her husband, Mark, and dog, Zeus.
Andy works as a Physician Assistant at in Hospital Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for the past 15 years. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Mayo College of Medicine and an Associate in Hospital Medicine. In addition to seeing patients, Andy is a course director for three Hospital Medicine CME courses. He serves as a PA preceptor and faculty at the Mayo Clinic Simulation Lab. He is a nationally recognized speaker and has won numerous education awards. He is a father of three boys and his rapidly graying hair and overuse of dad jokes can certainly speak to that.
Anne is a Canadian certified Physician Assistant (CCPA) with over 8 years of experience in Orthopaedic Surgery both in a community and academic urban setting. She is former Vice President of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants, and serves on the Board of Directors of PAs for Research and Education in Canada (PARSEC). She is also the 2015 recipient of the Tom Ashman PA of the Year, and guest instructor at both McMaster PA Education Program and at PA Consortium. She is an avid advocate for the PA profession, writing about her journey and experience as a PA through her blog CanadianPA.ca and on social media.
With a career that spanned 40 years, David’s clinical experience includes pioneering roles as one of the first PAs in an inner city emergency department, to working as a solo primary care provider for an island community on the coast of Maine.
After serving for five years as a Medical Technician in the US Air Force, David then completed his PA education at Saint Louise University in 1980, in St. Louis, Missouri. He later completed an MPH, concentrating on International Health, at Boston University.
David’s international journey began in 1994 when he became the first PA to work with Médecins Sans Frontières, when he first served in Somalia (1994-5), and then in Afghanistan (1995-6). He returned to Afghanistan in 2003 with Merlin, a UK -based medical relief charity.
He was subsequently honored as the recipient of the AAPA’s Paragon Award for International Humanitarian in 1999.
David joined the faculty at University of Birmingham (U.K.) as the Associate Programme Director for the PA program in 2008-11. While there, he also consulted on PA development at several other British universities. He was also part of a team of experienced academics who consulted on the first PA program in Saudi Arabia. He was the Founding Director for the first Irish PA program at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (2015-6).
Though now retired, he continues to advocate for expanding the PA role in the international arena.
Adrian S. Banning
Adrian S. Banning is an Associate Clinical Professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA and has been a faculty member there since 2008. She is responsible for didactic portions of PA education, particularly evidence-based medicine topics. Adrian has been a PA since 2006, having started her career in primary care with a proud focus on the veteran population before transitioning to education and developing a passion for evidence-based medicine (EBM), critical thinking topics and the integration of the arts into medical education. She is interested in the strategies of Information Mastery, utilizing and applying evidence-based medicine effectively, improving empathetic patient-provider communication and the overlap between art and science. She is a strong proponent of the benefits of the medical librarian-clinician team. She has authored several publications in and The Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAAPA) and The Journal of Physician Assistant Education (JPAE) and is a peer-reviewer for both journals. She has also presented at PA conferences nationally. Adrian is the former editor of the A Difficult Diagnosis section of JAAPA, Exploring Medicine Through the Arts in JPAE and a cohost of three novel PA-centric podcasts. In 2016, Adrian was recognized in BillyPenn’s, “Who’s Next in Health” as one of 13 young Philly leaders shaping the health scene.
Dr. Banning received her doctoral degree from Drexel University and obtained her Master’s of Medical Science/PA certificate from Arcadia University.
I am a professor in the Department of Medical Imaging at University of Toronto. I obtained my medical school degree, radiology residency degree and neuroradiology fellowship training at the University of Toronto. I am the site director for both the Neuroradiology Fellowship and the Radiology Residency Programs at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto and the head of head and neck radiology at the University Health Network. I run the Head and Neck Symposium Courses at the University of Toronto. I am a past president of the Eastern Neuroradiological Society (ENRS). I have also been an invited visiting professor lecturing on head and neck imaging at the University of Chicago, University of Manitoba, Queen’s University, Mahidol University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I also serve at Associate Editor of the journal Head & Neck and I am a reviewer for the journals Radiology, Clinical imaging, JAMA Otolaryngology, Journal of Neurological Surgery – Skull Base and Neuroradiology.
James W. Kim
Dr Kim is a general practitioner in Calgary with special interest in chronic disease, especially in diabetes and chronic migraine. He is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at University of Calgary.
After completing his medical school training in South Africa, he has been working as a GP in Alberta since 2009. He has completed post-graduate diploma in Diabetes in 2012 and works as a peer reviewer and editorial board member for numerous medical journals including Canadian Journal of Diabetes.
Within Diabetes Canada, his role includes steering committee member for the Clinical Practice Guideline, current co-chair of Primary Care Special Interest Group, and has been a scientific planning committee member for the Annual Diabetes Canada Conference.
Kate Straughton was one of the first cohort of UK trained Physician Associates, graduating from the University of Birmingham in 2009. Kate has worked in acute medicine as a PA in the National Health Service since 2009, as well as in PA Education since 2015, with a special interest in clinical placements and work-based learning. She currently holds the post of President of the Faculty of Physician Associates, Royal College of Physicians London. Kate has been involved in the PA profession in the UK at national level since 2010, lobbying for statutory regulation and liaising with national bodies about the PA profession, as well as organising national conferences and events. She has been the national representation for the profession on a number of different projects, including the publication of a clinical guideline by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, as well as at several national and international conferences. Outside of the PA world, Kate is a mum to two boys (aged 3 and 4) and enjoys exploring the world from their perspectives. Twitter: @KateStraughton
Laura Mae Lindo
Laura Mae Lindo, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener Centre, is a respected activist and educator who holds both a Masters and PhD in Education. Her commitment to building inclusive communities both within and outside of educational environments is grounded in her knowledge of how to put anti-oppression theories into practice. Laura Mae is a knowledgeable advocate for the rights of women and girls, a respected ally to marginalized community members, and, most importantly, a courageous public speaker on issues often left unaddressed in the mainstream. Laura Mae is the Official Opposition Critic for Anti-Racism, and Citizenship and Immigration. The Leader of the Official Opposition appointed her as Chair of Official Opposition’s first Black Caucus, to collaborate with Black communities and allies to address systemic anti-Black racism in Ontario.
Maitry Patel is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant working within the Department of Radiation Oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since her graduation from the McMaster PA Education Program in 2014. She has been an active member within multiple disease sites and has recently transitioned to inpatient care. She is proactive about patient education and transition to community care for oncology patients. She has a special interest in developing easily accessible patient education material using plain language. She is an Instructor within the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. In her role as a PA educator, she is passionate about enhancing opportunities for PA students to work in oncology. In addition, she is a strong advocate for the PA profession, whereby she volunteers as the Alternate Director of Ontario Chapter at the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants.
Maureen Taylor is a Physician Assistant in Infectious Diseases at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto where she has been running the non-ICU COVID-19 ward. She graduated from the inaugural PA program at McMaster University in 2010. Prior to her PA career, Maureen was a broadcast journalist for 25 years, including 7 years as the National Medical/Health Reporter for the CBC. Maureen is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University and is currently on the editorial boards of the health policy website Healthy Debate and the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Ohood Elzibak is a Physician Assistant in Orthopaedic Surgery, specializing in sports orthopaedics and arthroscopic surgery since 2010. She completed her undergraduate studies at McMaster University and was part of the inaugural PA cohort. In 2012, she went on to obtain her Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Ohood is an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University and is involved in clinical skills teaching and preceptorship in Orthopaedic Surgery. In 2016, Ohood was the recipient of the national PA Educator of the Year award. She is a passionate advocate for PAs and for diversity in medicine.
Sahand Ensafi has been an Emergency Medicine PA at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada for over 6 years. Outside of his clinical duties, Sahand enjoys being actively involved in PA Education as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the McMaster University PA Program and Course Facilitator at the University of Toronto PA Program. Sahand also advocates for the growth of the PA profession through his roles as the Ontario Director of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants and the Vice-President of the Ontario Physician Assistant Association. In 2019, he was the recipient of the “Tom Ashman PA of the Year” award. In his spare time, Sahand loves to spend time with his family and always tries to appreciate the little things in life.
Stephen is a dedicated PA who works in outpatient Orthopedics and community hospital based Internal Medicine. He graduated the U of T / NOSM Physician Assistant program in 2017 and the McMaster Medical Radiation Sciences in 2011. He performs ultrasound-guided procedures, interprets Xray, CT, ultrasound and MRI imaging by applying it to his patients. As a former Medical Radiation Technologist and former MRT instructor at Camosun College, he guest lectures PA students at through University of Toronto. He is a dynamic individual who radiates his energy into everything he does.
Stephen Wolff, MHS, PA-C is a 2019 graduate of the Drexel University PA program. Stephen previously worked in Southeast Asia for a number of years and as a Wilderness-EMT. He now works in Adult Internal Medicine in Portland, Maine. In his free time he enjoys most outdoor activities and ultimate frisbee.
Todd Bryden originally from Sydney, Nova Scotia joined the Canadian Armed Forces in September 1995 and over his 22 years in the CAF was posted to numerous locations throughout Canada. He completed his Physician Assistant training in 2010 with a Bachelor of Sciences Degree from the University of Nebraska, and practiced as a PA in the CAF onboard HMC Ships and within Health Services clinics until 2017 and final posting to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where he retired from the CAF and started work with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority with the Department of Surgery in the Section of Urology where he is presently employed.
Todd is married to his lovely wife Melissa and has 3 children, 9-year-old twins RJ and Olivia and 17-year-old Beth who now reside in Brandon, Manitoba.
Todd has been an active member of CAPA and volunteered on the Physician Assistant Council of Canada Exam Committee as well as most recently as a member of the CAPA Board of Directors as the Provincial Director for Saskatchewan. He is an avid supporter of the PA profession and a strong advocate for integration of PAs into health care across Canada.
Nino obtained her Physician Assistant Degree from the University of Toronto in 2018. Previous to that, Nino graduated Medical School in Eastern Europe, and spent the last 9 years working in numerous areas of medicine. She developed a special interest in addiction medicine while working in pain management. She currently works with Dr. Holub at Halton and Mississauga Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic where addiction medicine treatment options are provided for patients across the full spectrum of substance use disorders.
Specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology
-Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Manitoba
-Has served as director for the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency training program
-Has been an examiner for the Royal College
-She is involved in national and international education programs in women’s health
Dr. Darren J. Holub
Dr. Darren Holub was initially trained in biochemistry, he obtained his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 2001, and completed his psychiatry residency through McMaster University. Through his experiences, Dr. Holub developed a keen interest in the field of addiction, along with a strong passion, empathy, and desire to serve those individuals and families affected by this devastating disease. For ten years he served as the Lead Psychiatrist of the Concurrent Disorders Program (combined mental health and substance use disorders) at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. He has taught medical students and residents, and has trained staff and consulted for related agencies in the Halton Region, including the Canadian Mental Health Association and ADAPT (the primary addiction counseling agency in the area). He was board certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine in 2012, and is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a Certificant of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Holub now primarily practices community-based addiction medicine through the Halton and Mississauga Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinic with locations in Oakville, Milton, Georgetown, Mississauga, and Toronto.
Jessica Danquah completed a Bachelor of Science in the Physician Assistant (PA) Education Program at McMaster University. Since graduation, she has worked as a PA at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, managing the care of acutely ill cancer patients in the Urgent Care and Procedure clinic. Prior to this, she completed a Masters of Public Health at the University of Queensland in Australia, specializing in Infectious Diseases. Upon completion of her degree, she returned to Canada; her continued interest in the area of infectious disease prevention lead to research work at Women’s College Hospital with the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centres. Her work focused on HIV prevention in vulnerable female populations. Her public health interests expanded to an international level, and she followed this by working with the Canadian International Development Agency and Youth Challenge international, helping to implement a health education initiative for the prevention of HIV/AIDs in Ghana, West Africa. Additionally, she has worked in the area of cancer genetics research at Women’s College Hospital, tying together her academic and research interests in the areas of oncology and infectious disease. She has a strong interest in the management of complex care in immunocompromised patients and in the future, hopes to develop interventions aimed at improving access to care and health outcomes in vulnerable at risk populations.
Brenda Wastasecoot (Cree, Ininu) is a Toronto-based writer, poet and storyteller currently teaching in the Centre for Indigenous Studies and Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto. She is originally from Churchill, Manitoba and is a member of the York Factory Cree Nation.
Brenda completed her PhD in Adult Education & Community Deveopment at OISE in 2016, where she delved into her childhood home and growing up Cree in the sixties. This developed into a journey of storytelling her arts based auto-ethnography of “Nikis” and her families experience of the residential school policy.
Upon graduating from her Bachelor of Education degree in Manitoba she was hired not as a school teacher but as a counsellor in the Mental Health field in First Nations communities. Brenda continued her studies and researched “culturally appropriate ways of healing.” When she completed her Master of Education degree she was hired to teach in a counselling degree, the first of its’ kind in Canada: the First Nations & Aboriginal Counselling Degree program. In Toronto, Brenda taught in community programs at Anishnawbe Health Toronto for five years.
Michael Boivin is a clinical pharmacist consultant, continuing education developer and president of CommPharm Consulting Inc. He has developed in excess of 400 different continuing education activities for pharmacists, family physicians, physician specialists, nurses and other allied professionals.
Michael attained his Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and Certified Tobacco Educator (CTE) status in 2014. He obtained his Certificate in Travel Health (CTH®) from the International Society of Travel Medicine in 2015.
Diego Delgado, MD. MSc, FCCS, FACC
Medical Director Inpatient Cardiology Service
Site Director, Division of Cardiology, Toronto General Hospital
Reuben and Florence Fenwick Family Professorship in Heart Failure
Associate Member, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto
Past President Interamerican Society of Cardiology
Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network
David E. Mittman
Dave Mittman has been a PA leader for over 45 years. Dave co-founded the LIU PA Program student society in 1973, was President of the New York State Society of PAs in 1979 and served on the AAPA Board of Directors, twice, thirty-five years apart. Dave also has won the AAPA Public Education award for leading the march in Trenton NJ to establish PA practice. Dave was introduced to medicine as a medic in the USAF. He later had the distinction of becoming the first PA allowed to practice in the USAF Reserves. Dave spent almost 9 years in a primary care group practice in Brooklyn, N.Y. and left to begin a career in medical publishing with Physician Assistant (PA) Journal in late1983.
Dave left PA Journal to co-found Clinicians Publishing Group in 1990 and Clinician Reviews Journal in 1991. This was the first journal written for both NPs and PAs. Dave and his partners took Clinicians Group and built it into a major publishing business launching eight journals in six different physician specialties within an eight-year period, something never done before in the history of medical publishing. In 2001, Clinicians Group was acquired by Jobson Publishing.
Dave recently completed his term as President of the AAPA after serving on the AAPA Board for 5 years. Dave also previously served on the AAPA Board from 1982-84. Dave also was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Medical Science in 2020 from the Trustees of Lynchburg University, in Lynchburg, VA.
In 2008, Dave co-founded Clinician1, which was the largest NP and PA informational/clinical/social community on the web. Clinician 1 ceased publication in late 2019. Dave is now involved with a video Q and A feature on POCN.
Dave has also served as Treasurer of the Association of Family Practice PAs. A co-founder of the American College of Clinicians, the first President for Executive and Administrative PAs and PAFT.
Dave has authored numerous papers and studies in publications as diverse as "Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mothers Soul", "U.S. Pharmacist", “Medical Marketing and Media”, "The British Medical Journal" and many others.
Dave is a noted expert in PA and NP practice both in the U.S. and around the world. He has published papers on both NP and PA prescribing. He has consulted for many companies on NP and PA practice and has spoken at numerous PA and NP meetings with audiences ranging from 5 to 8,000.
Dave is married to his high school sweetheart Bonnie for over 45 years and has two wonderful adult children.
Michael A. Sharma, PA-C has been a practicing emergency medicine and urgent care PA for over 10 years. He is also a medical educator and speaker at the local and national levels. In addition, he is a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Army.
In 2000, Mike graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor's Degree in biomedical science. It was at Texas A&M where Mike began his medical training, working on the university's student-run EMS service in pre-hospital medicine. Upon graduation, he was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps of the U.S. Army.
As an Army officer, Mike trained and led teams in patient care, medical operations, and human resources. He deployed to Iraq in 2004 and, as an assistant operations officer, helped coordinate air and ground medical evacuation operations over the entire country. He was then selected for and graduated from the U.S. military's PA program, the Interservice Physician Assistant Program.
Upon his graduation with a Master's Degree in physician assistant studies in 2010, Mike was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. He and over 700 Soldiers from the battalion deployed to southern Afghanistan in 2011. There, he served as a trauma team leader at a NATO Role 1 Aid Station, directly treating over 100 patients injured by such methods as improvised explosive devices and gunshot wounds. In addition to his clinical role, Mike was also the medical supervisor and primary educator for a cohort of 35 enlisted combat medics.
Mike was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 2014 after 14 years of service. He, his wife, and children then moved to Dallas, TX, when he began working full-time in emergency medicine and urgent care. He continues to work in education, this time with PAs, NPs, and physicians, by originating and teaching workshops at the local and national levels. Mike is also the lead instructor for CME4Life, preparing PAs for their national certification and recertification (PANCE/PANRE) exams. He can currently be heard on the "Total EM" podcast with Chip Lange, PA-C, where he and Chip are doing a series of episodes on Advanced Trauma Life Support, preparing clinicians to excel in the course and successfully treat trauma patients. He is enthusiastic about connecting with fellow medical professionals both in-person and over social media.
Kellie obtained a BSc. Hons. Physiology from the University College Dublin. Achieved 1.1 MSc Physician Associate Studies, RCSI, Dublin. Currently working as an Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Irish certified Physician Associate, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. Recently awarded best oral presentation in the Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery academic meeting 2020