AASPA leaders are all surgical PAs or PA students who volunteer their time to support and advance the surgical PA profession and ultimately better surgical patient care.

Congratulations to our Leadership Team!

Congratulations to the following members elected to the Board of Directors positions for the 2020-2022 term. The term for all positions is July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022. To volunteer for leadership, contact us.

Board of Directors


Erin Sherer, EdD, MPAS, PA-C, RD

[email protected]

Erin Sherer is a PA currently practicing in New York City. Her work experience as a physician assistant includes surgical critical care, emergency medicine, and PA education. She enjoys all aspects of PA education, including working with students. In addition to being a PA, she is also a registered dietitian and is passionate about nutrition and fitness. She has been involved with AASPA since 2004.

Immediate Past President

Erika Nigam, MPAS, PA-C

[email protected]

President-Elect & ACS-CSPS Representative

Margaret Holland, MPAS, PA-C

[email protected]

Margaret Holland is a graduate of the George Washington University Physician Assistant (PA) Program and has been involved with AASPA since 2015. She is a dedicated Surgical PA with more than 11 years of healthcare experience including a nursing background in the field of pediatric cardiology. She currently practices as a surgical PA at Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts, in the specialty area of pediatric congenital cardiac surgery. Prior to this, she spent several years in the Northern Virginia area working in adult cardiothoracic and vascular surgery. She is passionate about working with AASPA's students and PAs, and desires to see them fulfill their dreams in healthcare. As former Director of Education, she has taught workshops and the Pre-PA/PA Student track for several years as well as being involved with CME development and the publication of AASPA's periodical Sutureline. As current President-Elect, she remains involved in these activities and also is a PA representative for the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety (CSPS) which influences practices of operating rooms across the US.  In addition to being a PA, she is a strong advocate for merging medicine and art, using classical ballet training for current active performing, teaching, and choreography. 



Ashley Sclafani, PA-C

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Ashley Sclafani is a reconstructive plastic surgery physician assistant in Miami, FL. Her current position focuses heavily on complex pelvic and breast operations, as well as minor cosmetic procedures. At the practice, she also functions as the clinical administrative coordinator.

She holds a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Rutgers University. Throughout her undergraduate and professional education, she held positions that concentrated on volunteerism and PA advocacy. During PA school, her role in the Assembly of Representatives fostered legislative involvement with the Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Born into a military family, Ashley has had the opportunity to live in seven states given her Mother's roots as a nurse practitioner in the United States Air Force. Ashley is a quadruplet in an Italian family of eight and enjoys international travel, adventurous eating, and snowboarding.


Maj. Jon Van Horn, MPAS, PA-C

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Jon is the current Trauma Caucus and FCCS Chair, and has worked at Legacy Emanuel and Randall Children's Hospital which is a ACS Verified Level 1 Trauma Center in Portland, Oregon. He is a graduate of the US Army Interservice Physician Assistant Program. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Oregon National Guard, and has served for 28 years. His deployments include Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, and multiple state activations for fires and floods.

He currently serves as the AAPA Liaison to the American College of Surgeons, and is the Immediate Past-President of the American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants. He also is a member of the EAST Military Committee, and APP Task Force.



Director of Education

Veronica Victorian, PA-C

[email protected]

A native of Houston Texas, I graduated with my Masters degree from Nova Southeastern University PA program with a masters in medical science in 2010. I later earned my doctorate in medical science from the University of Lynchburg in 2020. I have been a PA in pediatric general surgery since the start of my career with a special interest in anorectal and colorectal disease. I am an Assistant Director for surgery advanced practice providers in operations, quality and safety, and research.


Director of Marketing

Gerald Simons, PA-C

[email protected]

Gerald Simons is an award-winning surgical PA with more than two decades of experience in general and vascular surgery. He is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Stony Brook University, and has been teaching surgery and wound care clinical skills for decades.  Jerry pioneered the concept of seminars for Pre-PA students, and helped integrate Pre-PAs into AASPA. He has a special interest in the gut microbiome and is a well known CME speaker on the Human Microbiome.  In addition, he has an interest in the role of hyperbaric medicine in chronic disease and developing innovative methods for teaching surgical skills to students.

Professional Development Director

Michelle Dellene, BSc, MMS, PA-C, RYT

[email protected]

Michelle Dellene Heine, PA-C is a passionate surgical physician assistant striving to bring excellence to all her patients. She has experience in trauma neurosurgery, aesthetics, general surgery, and robotics. She strives to deliver high quality care, enthusiasm, and optimism. She was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology & Cell Science from the University of Florida in 2013 and her Master of Medical Science from Nova Southeastern University in 2016. During the COVID-19 pandemic she became a registered yoga teacher and lifestyle coach and currently is working as an entrepreneur with the mission to Heal the Healers. Her 2022 goal is to open her own surgical practice with an emphasis on lifestyle medicine and philanthropy. 

Sutureline Executive Editor

Alex Merkle, DSC, PA-C

[email protected]

Alex currently works in emergency surgery at a tertiary referral hospital. He still pays homage to his pre-hospital roots by volunteering with a Search and Rescue team in the Lake Tahoe area, where he gets to refine his austere medicine, technical rescue and Nordic mountaineering skills. Alex attended the Army's Surgical/Critical Care PA fellowship at Brooke Army Medical Center and subsequently supported SOCOM. Previously he worked medical support missions in isolated postings across Alaska, remote Pacific islands and Antarctic field camps.

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Diversity and Inclusion Chair

Kayla McLaughlin, PA

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Kayla McLaughlin is a physician assistant in Los Angeles, California. She received her MPAS from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she received the Outstanding Service Award and served as Diversity Representative for the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants. She began her career as an HIV research clinician at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and later transitioned to the Transgender Health Program. In 2017 Kayla joined the Gender-Affirming Surgery Team at Kaiser Permanente, West Los Angeles. In this role, she provides gender-inclusive peri-operative management for patients undergoing gender-affirming genital reconstruction and gender-affirming facial surgeries.

Student Representative

Victoria Cruz

[email protected]

Victoria Cruz is a 2nd year PA student attending the University of South Florida in Tampa FL. Her background includes work as a medical assistant for internal medicine, CNA for home health, and scribing experience at an ophthalmology practice. She has been in various leadership roles throughout her years in college and is currently the Vice President of her PA cohort and the FAPA representative of her PA program. Victoria has been involved with AASPA since 2018 through various volunteer opportunities and she hopes to go into surgery once she graduates from PA school.

Assistant Student Representative

Adam Buck

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Adam Buck is 1st year PA student attending The University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. He graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management and Policy, and most recently from Florida Atlantic University with a Certificate in Biomedical Sciences. His background includes working as a medical assistant and scribe in cardiac electrophysiology and interventional cardiology.

Adam has been involved with the AASPA since 2019 and is passionate about assisting and uplifting pre-PAs as well as his fellow students to achieve their goals. He is also enthusiastic about personal growth and enjoys reading, lifting weights, and training MMA in his free time. He remains active in his school’s Surgical Physician Assistant Club, and following graduation aspires to attend a surgical PA fellowship for pediatric surgery.

Specialty Representatives

Military Representative

Catherine Gaines, PA-C, LLT. COL (RET.), COANG, BSC

[email protected]

Active Duty Military Liaison

Major James Huang, DSC, PA-C

[email protected]

Management Staff

Affinity Strategies

[email protected]
(331) 248-7799

Volunteer Opportunities

How You Can Help

You can make a difference with AASPA while building your network of contacts, strengthening your resume and qualifications and helping to promote the surgical PA profession and ultimately improving surgical patient care. Opportunities include:

  • Serving on the Board of Directors
  • Joining one of many committees, including scholarship, website, reimbursement, student activity, corporate relations, membership and CME
  • Mentoring or teaching AASPA PA students and residents
  • Speaking or exhibiting at surgical and PA meetings, local hospitals interested in PAs
  • Writing articles or editorials for the Sutureline journal or for the website
  • Donating to the surgical PA Marketing Fund
  • Assisting with workshops at the annual CME conference
  • Volunteering to be a model for the ultrasound workshop at our CME conference
  • Assisting with check-in and registration at the annual CME conference

Count Me In

Sign up to volunteer by emailing [email protected].