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 2024-2026 term. The term for all positions is July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2026. To volunteer for leadership, contact us.

Board of Directors



Michelle Dellene, PA-C is a Neurosurgical Physician Assistant who is dedicated to delivering high quality care to her patients, highly rewarding coaching to her clients and highly valuable education to her students. With experience in trauma neurosurgery, aesthetics, general surgery, and robotics; Michelle Dellene PA-C has a unique background as a surgical PA. She loves to compassionately listen to her patients, offer empowerment through education and informed decision making while weaving in lifestyle modifications to enhance both operative and non-operative outcomes. Michelle Dellene PA-C was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology & Cell Science from the University of Florida in 2013, GO GATORS! and a Master of Medical Science Degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2016. Michelle Dellene PA-C served as the SGA Philanthropy Chair for NSU Orlando PA Class of 2016. Through her service she organized, directed and executed volunteer opportunities for her PA class to give back to the community through free sports physicals for students in need to playing Top Soccer alongside children with disabilities to providing volunteer services during The Special Olympics. Michelle served as the Immunization Coordinator for NSU Orlando PA Program's first mission trip to Guatemala. Michelle paved the way for future students by joining her PA student colleagues alongside AVIS Living To Serve non-profit organization to serve the indigenous population of Guatemala through medical care, installation of water filtration systems and stoves in the homes of truly deserving families. Michelle has always been passionate about serving her community and does it with a bright smile that lights the room.  During the COVID-19 pandemic she realized the tremendous need for healthcare providers to shift their healing skills inward. Michelle's mantra for 2020 was "you can't pour from an empty cup, it is 2020 the year of clarity and it's time for healthcare providers to heal". When elective surgeries were put on hold, Michelle studied the power of yoga by becoming a yoga teacher, practiced on a daily basis, studied the works of Dr. Joe Dispenza and experienced profound transformation in her professional and personal life. Michelle opened up her coaching company Michelle Dellene LLC On A Mission To Heal The Healers By Bridging The Gap Between Eastern & Western Medicine in November of 2020 with a focus of serving women in medicine by consistently coaching them through the practice of using food as medicine, The Anti-Inflammatory Protocol, how to incorporate medicinal movement through the daily practice of vinyasa yoga and kundalini and how to generate more peace and healing through Transcendental Meditation. As more and more women graduate from her coaching program Detox To Heal, they heal the medical system from the inside out by sharing what they have learned with their patients, colleagues and medical teams. In Michelle's spare time she enjoys learning new aerial silk drops, sequences and techniques, discovering the gems of the world by traveling with her friends, paddle boarding the springs of Florida, singing and dancing alongside her daughter Ella and spending quality time with her husband who has been her coach throughout her incredible transformation. Michelle Dellene PA-C is honored to serve AASPA through her Presidency and encourages all members to No Matter What Never Give Up On Your Healing. 

Immediate Past President & ACS-CSPS Representative


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 14 years of healthcare experience including a nursing background in the field of pediatric cardiology. She initially spent several years in the DC Metro area practicing adult cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, and now currently practices as a surgical PA at Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts in pediatric congenital cardiac surgery. She is passionate about seeing PA students and PA fulfill their healthcare dreams and has taught AASPAs workshops, Pre-PA/PA Student tracks, as well as being involved with CME development and the publication of AASPA's periodical Sutureline. She remains involved in these activities and 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 classical ballerina recently performing with the Harvard Ballet Company and City Ballet Boston as a strong advocate for merging medicine and art. You can watch her series about Dancers and Medicine on Instagram @thesurgicalballerina.



Amatul Noor Ali is a graduate of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Physician Assistant Program. She is a loyal, dedicated surgical PA with 12 years of healthcare experience and beyond including a background in the field of pediatric ophthalmic oncology. She currently practices as a surgical PA at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, in the sub-specialty area of ocular oncology. Recently, Noor graduated from the University of Lynchburg with her doctorate in Medical Science degree earlier in 2022. She currently serves as an Advanced Practice Practitioner supervisor in the section of Ophthalmology, Department of Head and Neck Surgery.  In addition to being a PA, she is a travel buff who enjoys hiking and other outdoor adventures with her family as well as enjoys learning about various culinary arts. 



Justine Danielson, DMS, PA-C

As a graduate from the Campbell University PA program in 2023 and Butler University Doctor of Medical Science program in 2024, I have begun my first role as General Surgery PA. As a PA student, I was elected the position of Student Academy Representative for the AAPA and submitted our program for the AAPA Award of ‘Outstanding Student Society’, which our program won. I was also elected for the position of Southeast Regional Director for the AAPA Student Academy BOD in my second year. In this role, I served as the Leadership and Diversity Committee Chair for the AAPA Student Board. During PA school, I worked closely with North Carolina Academy for PAs and I have transitioned this involvement with my state organization of Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants. I additionally serve as a PA mentor on the AAPA Huddle network to help lead and guide pre-PA and PA students and volunteer for NCCPA.


Samantha Buhler, PA-C

Samantha has been a physician assistant for over 14 years. She currently holds the position of Lead APP of bariatric surgery at AdventHealth in Orlando, FL. She has been published in Bariatric Times and has been a public speaker in the field of bariatric surgery and metabolic disorders. She has led quality improvement projects that improved patient outcomes and successfully launched an onboarding program for physician assistants entering into the specialty. She is currently pursuing her MBA in order to be a well rounded advocate and leader for the physician assistant profession.


Director of Education

Elliott Silverman, PA-C, MSHS

Elliott Silverman, PA-C, MSHS, is a passionate teacher and dedicated to clinician wellness, and innovation through clinician community and camaraderie.  Elliott completed his training at Weill Cornell Medical College in 2006.  Elliott’s greatest professional interest is in setting conditions for success for clinicians to be prepared when it counts to improve the clinician, patient, and family-caregiver experience.  Elliott focuses on identifying, teaching, and refining performance of critical clinical instincts.  Elliott builds new types of Educational Homes to facilitate initial skill acquisition, continuous development of skills, refinement of individual and team performance, with an emphasis on physician wellbeing. Elliott was the recipient of the Houston Methodist Barbara Bass Teaching Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Residency Program” in General Surgery.  During his time at Houston Methodist Elliott also became a core member of the Center for Performing Arts Medicine, which focuses on arts integration for healing hospital environments and frontline implications of music on the healthcare experience for patients, clinicians and patients’ families and an fMRI music and brain research core. Elliott was recruited to be an initial team member of MITIE (Methodist Institute of Technology Innovation and Education) at Houston Methodist to build an inanimate simulation educational home within the main hospital, and serve as a member of the medical staff in the Department of Surgery. Elliott returned to Weill Cornell Medical College and served as Founding Director of SAIL – Skills Acquisition and Innovation Lab; an educational home located in New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.  Elliott was awarded the Weill Cornell Medical College 1st Golden Apple Award for “Exceptional Contributions to the Residency Programs” and the Weill Cornell Medical College “Excellence in Teaching Award.” In addition to his role at the Weill Cornell Medical College, Elliott was appointed as an academic Visiting Fellow in the Cornell University Department of Music to focus on the intersection between music, healthcare education and practice, architectural design, technology, and the patient – caregiver experience. Elliott has served as Director of Surgical Skills and Training, Assistant Professor of Surgery, and Associate Program Director of the Accredited American College of Surgeons Simulation and Education Fellowship, which Elliott initiated the accreditation effort to establish for the United States Department of Defense. Elliott subsequently served as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine.  While at the Department of Defense, Elliott served for two years as the Fellow for Team Performance for the Choral Arts Society of Washington D.C. with performances at The Kennedy Center. After spending a year dedicated to eldercare, Elliott was recruited to Methodist Health System in Dallas, Texas to build the first Center for Simulation and Wellness (C-SAW) emergency training center, served as the Medical Education Officer for the Hospital Police and completed the Mayo Clinic Health and Wellness Coach training program focusing on clinician wellbeing, throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. Elliott transitioned to the Intuitive Surgical where he focused on Digital innovation applications and products for furthering new medical education and simulation capabilities. Elliott continues to focus now on educational innovation, clinician wellbeing, creating medical “Educational Homes” for lifelong learning and novel ideas, and continuing to further Music and Arts role in Medicine & Hospitals.


Director of Marketing

Helia Ludema, PA-C

I’m a current plastic and reconstructive surgery PA, having taken this position straight out of school, and was a bartender and performer in a cabaret show before making the switch. I attended Midwestern University Downers Grove for training, where I noticed fewer involvement opportunities for the PA students compared to those for other programs. At the time, my interest was in the field of neurology, and I secured the first PA student position on the Neurology Interest Group board, consisting of only DO students up until then. My position as liaison to my program required much of the same duties as the Director of Membership for AASPA, generating new recruits and hosting promotional events. I also served as a member on the Awards and the Advocacy and Policy Committees for the AAPA, and eventually served on the House of Delegates. I am hoping to continue my work with the HOD in the future and would be thrilled to represent the surgery constituent organization at the annual meeting.

Professional Development Director

Brittney Alexander, PA-C

I am currently practicing as a trauma surgery Physician Assistant. I have also developed a love for research and publication. I have published a case report, sat on research committees, assisted in development of guidelines, mentored new PA’s and continue to look for additional opportunity. I am very passionate about the Physician Assistant career, but even more so our ability to advance in surgical specialties and assist with the groundbreaking guidelines and publication opportunities. I have recently accepted a new position with the University of Arizona where I will have the opportunity to advance my research career while continuing to practice clinically. I believe my clinical and research background make me an ideal candidate for professional development with AASPA. PA’s are front lines in medicine. I think it is extremely important to continue to remain front lines in all aspects, and that includes research, presentation and continued education.

Sutureline Executive Editor

Ashley Fiacco, PA-C

I was born and raised in upstate NY, moved to Boston for undergraduate education, to Philadelphia for PA school and am now a newly practicing Physician Assistant in the Boston area. I have wanted to be a surgical PA since middle school when I shadowed at a local hospital. I have a passion for minimally invasive surgical approaches including robotic surgery. I currently work in urology and first assist in OR cases ranging from benign to metastatic disease. When not working, you can find me running, hiking, practicing aerial yoga or playing with my new puppy niece!

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Diversity and Inclusion Chair

Tyisha Barrett, MS, MMS, PA-C

Tyisha Barrett is a graduate of the Wake Forest School of Medicine Physician Assistant Studies program. Additionally, she has a MS degree in Biological Sciences and extensive experience in clinical research. Presently, she practices as a PA-C in general surgery and surgical oncology. She is native of Houston, Texas and a dedicated member of the medical profession. She is passionate about revamping the healthcare system to one that benefits everyone and improving the lives of many individuals who are hesitant about seeking medical care. In addition to being a PA, she enjoys reading and watching movies 

Director of Membership

Alexis Chen, PA-C

I am a graduate of the Northeastern University PA Program, Class of 2019 and have remained in the Boston area working in general surgery since graduation. I have spent the first few years after graduation honing my surgical and clinical skills in general, vascular, thoracic, and bariatric surgical subspecialties and am now looking to become more involved with a leadership position within the field. While I love working with patients clinically at my job, I also very much enjoy connecting with other PAs and brainstorming ways to continuing growing the field of PAs, but more specifically within the surgical specialty. While the PA profession has advanced tremendously over the last several decades, healthcare continues to change and we will need to change with the field to remain an integral member of a healthcare team, and I want to be apart of that change. Outside of my day job, I'm a new homeowner with my husband and very much enjoy gardening, reading a great book, fitness, and travel.

Student Representatives

Brittany Douglas



 Paige Andrews



Brennon Taylor





Assistant Student Representatives


IFedayo Akinyemi


Jacqueline Olive



Laura Hassan


Kyle Capone

Specialty Representatives

Military Representative

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


Active Duty Military Liaison

Major James Huang, DSC, PA-C


Management Staff