2020 Election Candidates

2020 Election Candidates

We are pleased to announce the following candidates for the open Board positions.  Voting opens May 1 and closes on May 31 at 12 midnight (EST).  Eligible voting members will receive an email with a link to their ballot on May 1. If you did not receive your ballot, please contact the PAOS office at membership@paos.org or call (800) 804-7267.

For President

Samuel Dyer, PA-C, MHS

My name is Sam Dyer, and I am asking for your vote for reelection. For the last five years, I have served the PAOS as president. I have seen our organization grow by leaps and bounds over that time. There are so many things that we have accomplished, and I want to thank my BOD for supporting and helping me steer our organization in new directions. Here are some highlights from my last few years as president:

  • PAOS membership has grown by 30%.
  • Our social media outreach effort went from an almost nonexistent addition on our old website to our primary way of advertising and connecting with members.
  • We updated our website to include a robust career center.
  • We recently added a dedicated learning center on the website to host PAOS educational activities.
  • We outsourced our practice and salary survey and now have a more streamlined and polished product which is free for our members.
  • I proposed and helped develop the expansion of CME conferences to three separate standalone meetings per year. We actually won an AAPA outstanding CO organization award for implementing these new and innovative approaches to CME.
  • We started and continue to develop virtual meetings (AV recordings and self-assessment) of our conferences. This is yet another way that we can offer CME to our members.
  • We are offering PAOS members many hours of free AV CME during the quarantines, and will continue to do so until the current environment changes.
  • We continue to expand our offerings, and are planning a first ever PAOS sponsored MSK ultrasound course later this fall.
  • I proposed and developed PAOS CARES which is one of our primary outreach and advocacy programs.
  • We have grown the SLM student scholarship from offering one $1000 award to two $5000 awards per year. Additionally, I proposed and we established a self-sustaining fund to ensure the SLM scholarships are available for future generations of deserving PA students.
  • I negotiated and signed a collaborative agreement with the AAPA to offer our AV content on their learning center. This strengthens our relationship with the AAPA, increases sales of our AV, and opens us up to a new audience of PAs.
  • There are so many positives of being a member with our organization, and I enjoy leading us as we grow and thrive.

In conclusion, I have worked diligently to improve and grow our organization over the last few years. I am dedicated to the PAOS; I have been to every PAOS educational conference ever hosted both as a learner and the last few years as additional support staff for our CME teams. Since I started my presidency five years ago, we have grown PAOS into a fiscally stable organization able to promote multiple educational and advocacy programs. I am excited to continue this work, and I hope you will continue to support me and PAOS. I ask for your vote for reelection for president.

Click HERE to view Sam’s CV

Dennis Rivenburgh, MS, ATC, PA-C, DFAAPA

I am running for President-Elect of Physician Assistants in Orthopaedic Surgery, the specialty organization of the American Academy of PAs for PAs practicing in Orthopaedics. I have been a PA for more than 20 years working primarily in orthopaedic sports medicine. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to serve the PA community at local, state and national levels.  As the President of PAOS from 2005-2011, I worked to revitalize the organization by re-establishing the lapsed non-profit corporation and tax-exempt status; I bolstered the CME program through increasing the number of participants at the annual meetings; and I initiated strategies to bolster membership. I was a member and served as chair of the AAPA Judicial Affairs Commission from 2013-2017 and the AAPA Governance Commission from 2017-2019.  Following my service as Chair of the Governance Commission, I stepped in as chair of an AAPA Task Force charged with Governance Commission structure and function review. I am currently serving as an advisor to the Governance Commission. 

PAOS has made great strides in representing PAs who practice orthopaedics by providing extensive continuing education to the orthopaedic community.  As an organization, we must lead and continue to support our community. From my leadership experiences, I have acquired the skills needed to guide PAOS into the next stages of the organization. It is vital for PAOS to be governed according to the requirements of incorporation and to adhere to the regulations of the state of Virginia where it is based. With knowledge gained during my term as chair of AAPA Governance, I am confident that I can skillfully lead PAOS in attaining and even surpassing these goals. Continued transparency through Bylaw review and open communication with membership will allow PAOS to properly align with its legal responsibilities and propagate its professional objectives.

I strive to maintain accessibility in my management style and I firmly believe that an organization like PAOS is best managed by a team. My goal is to unite the membership on a course of even greater significance as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of healthcare in the United States. I believe we can do so much more. I will continue to work with the AAPA on direct reimbursement from Medicare which will not only enhance our individual practices; it will improve our marketability in the field. I will continue to enhance social media visibility and branding of the organization which will solidify our rightful place in the orthopaedic community. I plan to work with the Regional Directors to expand our organizational presence on the more local state level.

I hope you will give me the opportunity to serve you again as your President. Thank you.

Click HERE to view Dennis’s CV


For Treasurer

Robert Thomas, PA-C, ATC, DFAAPA

I am currently the treasurer for PAOS and I have served our organization for the past several years. I have enjoyed serving the members of this great organization very much and would like to continue for another term. I have been able to see the growth of our membership and also our finances.  We are on solid ground financially, which has allowed our organization to introduce many new and exciting benefits to our members. Your executive board is working on projects to make sure that physician assistants who work in orthopaedics are well-recognized and that our name PAOS is protected.  I also serve as the Treasurer for our tax-free scholarship fund, The Susan Lindahl Memorial Scholarship.  I work closely with an accounting firm to ensure that our funds are used in accordance with IRS rules.  

I take serving on the Board seriously and feel it is a privilege and honor to serve on the PAOS board.  I have enjoyed serving as Treasurer and hope to continue for another term. 

Click HERE to view Robert’s CV


For North Central Regional Director

Brian Downie, PA-C, MS

My name is Brian Downie and I am running for the position of North Central Regional Director for PAOS.  I have been a practicing Physician Assistant (PA) for over 21 years at Michigan Medicine.  After graduating from the PA program at Western Michigan University, I completed a surgical residency in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The sports division of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has been my professional home for 19 of my 21 years in practice.  I am the Lead Advanced Practice Provider for Orthopaedic Surgery and an Associate Chief Physician Assistant at Michigan Medicine.  While practicing, I obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis.  Academically, I continue to publish and currently review for the Journal of Orthopaedics for Physician Assistants (JBJS/JOPA).  As I have matured in practice, the importance of quality and patient safety has taken center stage with my role as co-chair of our department quality committee. The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role quality and safety efforts must take now and in our future.

I offer my experiences not as proof from where I have come, rather as a diverse set of skills that could serve PAOS and the Orthopaedic Surgery PA community.  An organization requires participation and input to grow.  We gain participants by creating opportunities for and serving with our membership. I can bring a diverse, yet focused set of organizational, strategic and collaborative skills to the position of NC Regional Director where the impact of the current pandemic will likely change all our practices and our community and membership must remain our priority.  Innovative and continued engagement will allow PAOS to leverage the diversity and strengths of its membership.  Our current environment will force innovation and change for not only PAOS but our members.  I am volunteering to help in that transition.  As members of the Orthopaedic Surgery community we need partners like PAOS and those who serve our membership in any capacity to advocate on our behalf.  Together, we will continue to make a difference for patient care and our own professional lives.  I ask that you consider me for NC Regional Director.  Thank you!

Click HERE to view Brian’s CV


For Northwest Regional Director

Chris Merchant, PA-C

My name is Chris Merchant and I have had the pleasure of serving as the Northwest Regional Director of PAOS for the past year. I’ve had the opportunity to help with the Ortho in The West conference in Phoenix, as well as the Annual PAOS meeting in San Antonio. It has truly been eye opening to see the amount of time and effort that our PAOS board invests in organizing and putting on these meetings.

As the Northwest Director, I hope to reach out to members in each of the Northwestern states to allow more up to date information regarding events and legislation pertinent to each state. Currently, most of this information is only found on state PA websites and can often been out of date or lacking information. My goal for the next 2 years is to try to attend as many Northwestern state meetings as possible as a PAOS representative and possibly provide a CARES injection workshop. I have been fortunate to assist our President, Sam Dyer, with the CARES injection program and have been able to teach 3 separate seminars in my community. The CARES program is a great opportunity for our members to learn from and help other providers become more proficient with joint and soft tissue injections.

During these difficult times, I hope everyone will be safe while doing their best to help others. I would appreciate your support to allow me to continue to represent the Northwest Region by serving on the PAOS board.

Click HERE to view Chris’s CV

For Southwest Regional Director

Krista Bartlett, PA-C

I have had the privilege of serving the PAOS community as the Southwest Regional Director and student liaison for the past 2 years. I have worked the past 8 years as an orthopedic PA and surgical first assist. I started in California working in a private practice focusing on general orthopedics, trauma, and total joint replacement. I moved to North Carolina for 3 years working for a private practice where I specialized in orthopedic spine surgery. In June 2017, I returned to the Bay Area to work as an orthopedic surgical first assist at Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City, California. The last 2 years working as a volunteer leader of PAOS has been a tremendous joy!

An accomplishment I am very proud of while acting as the student liaison and SW Regional director is reaching out to each and every one of the US PA schools to promote student involvement in PAOS and interest in going into orthopedics after graduation. I helped provide a network of people for students to answer questions, promote job opportunities/scholarships and defuse insecurities about their future as the next graduating class of PAs. Since elected we have seen a huge growth in student PA involvement in PAOS!

As an experienced practicing orthopedic PA, I have a significant amount of autonomy and am drawn to this elected position to help increase opportunities for senior PAs like myself and help empower new PAs to thrive in orthopedics. If re-elected, I will work on obtaining approval for practical skill courses to perform autonomous orthopedic procedures. I will act as a liaison for the Southwest region to answer questions, increase member attendance, and promote awareness of new exciting changes for PAs in orthopedics. I will work with local, state and country-wide PA organizations/school programs to increase and better PA work opportunities in orthopedics for this region.

Click HERE to view Krista’s CV


I am expressing my interest in the PAOS Southwest Regional Director. I am a PA practicing in Orthopedics approaching 20 years. I hold licenses and practice in Nevada and California. I have been an active member of both the Nevada and California PA academies along with student and fellow member of AAPA.  I have been a member of the PAOS for many years and given presentations and workshops at multiple PAOS Annual Meetings and the 2020 Ortho in the West. I have watched the PAOS grow over the last two decades and am very interested in representing the southwest region in which I practice in 2 of the 4 represented states. 

I have leadership and organizational experience with past positions in my state academies, the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, and also as a representative of AAPA to the NQF Rural Health Workgroup and AAPA medical liaison to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery. 

I have found tremendous value from my membership in the PAOS with their focused CME, orthopedic PA practice advocacy, networking with colleagues, and professional resources like the salary survey.  I would like to show current/potential members the benefits of PAOS and receive their input on where the organization can add more services for its members and improve advocacy with our national academy and other organizations.

Thank you for considering my candidacy.

Click HERE to view Dan’s CV