Listed below are the candidates and their position statements for the 2021-22 Board of Directors.
Polls will open on June 4, 2021, and close at 5:00 pm on June 18, 2021.
YOUR OAPA MEMBERSHIP MUST BE CURRENT TO VOTE.
Fellow and Chapter Members are eligible to vote for the Board of Directors. Only Fellow Members are eligible to vote for Delegates to the AAPA House of Delegates.
Meet the Candidates for Board of Directors
Parenthesis includes the city that the PA resides and works.
President-Elect (3 year term)
Keith Plummer (Tishomingo/Stigler)
Forward looking leadership to advance the PA profession in Oklahoma. Support legislative efforts to make PAs more competitive in the market. Support full implementation of AAPA OTP recommendations and full prescriptive authority for Oklahoma PAs.
Treasurer (2-year seat + 1 year At-Large Director)
Don Guthrie (Choctaw/OKC)
I’ve benefited from the accomplishments of the OAPA for more than 38 years. I’m very proud of the OAPA (Board) effort and commitment it took to move our profession forward. We now face many challenges; insurance reimbursement, career and practice strangulation and employment competition from NPs to name a few. I feel my years of experience and practice in numerous specialties both private and corporate can be a valuable resource for the Board and membership. I have time to commit to this position.
Four open seats. The top four candidates with the most votes will hold the director seat. Parenthesis include the city that the PA resides and works.
Devonna A’Belle (Inola/Tulsa)
The PA profession has served me well over the previous decades, but the utilization of PAs significantly changed since its inception in the 1960’s. The marketplace for PAs has changed dramatically, especially over the last few years. It is imperative that we recognize the challenges that face the profession and boldly face those challenges, both as a professional board and as individual PAs. Employment barriers for PAs are becoming more prevalent due to unnecessary legislative restrictions and board rules. These restrictions are archaic, arbitrary, and have no data to support their benefit in providing safe, convenient, or accessible medical care to patients. In fact, these restrictions have the effect of decreasing patient’s access to medical services, especially in rural areas.
The OAPA board has been diligently advocating for modernization of existing laws and rules, but the battle has not yet been won. Continued advocacy is needed to see these changes through, implement further changes to remove any barriers that prevent PAs from practicing utilizing all of our skills and training, and to respond quickly to any issues that arise in the future. The Board must be on the front line of advocating for the profession in the state of Oklahoma.
I have served as a director at large for the OAPA for the past year. I also served on the OAPA board previously as both a director at large and HOD delegate. I co-founded the Academy of Doctoral PAs and served as First Vice President. I currently belong to the OAPA. ADPAs, PAs For Tomorrow. I graduated from OU PA program, received my MPAS degree from the University of Nebraska, and my doctorate from Lynchburg.
Saura Douglas (Tulsa/Tulsa)
I have had the honor of serving as an AAPA House of Delegates for the last 3 years, two times as a delegate and once as an additional delegate. I also have served the OAPA on many various committees, most recently as the CME committee chair. I greatly enjoy the opportunity to give back to our profession on a grander scale, reviewing policy and change that will affect us now and for years to come. I feel it is important for our board and AAPA delegates to represent the membership rather than impose personal beliefs. My diverse clinical practice with areas in the office, in-patient, and surgery allows me the advantage to access view points of many different colleagues. Working with the CME committee and lecturing at state PA programs allows me to see the perspective of PA educators as well.
Nicole Mason (Owasso/Owasso)
PAs within the state of Oklahoma need passionate representation for our professional growth. As a PA of 15 years and a current medical practice owner, I am acutely aware of the strengths and weaknesses of our professional standing. I intimately understand issues that stand in the way of hiring PAs and plan to eliminate those issues.
I am actively and diligently working for our profession. Currently, I enjoy professional memberships with PAs for Tomorrow (PAFT), OAPA, AAPA, and am the President and founding member of ADPA. I also currently serve on the OAPA research and legislation committees. My membership to each of these associations is in large part because each is working to advance PA opportunities both as leaders in our healthcare system and professionally within our clinics. I have such faith in our training model, our ability to care for our patients, and our flexibility within healthcare.
In my role as Director-At-Large, my intents are to remove outdated barriers to hiring PAs. I will continue to work with our professional counterparts to strengthen our team concept and educate healthcare businesses and leaders on the merits of employing PAs. I will work with the board to encourage leadership roles for PAs, both as students and in the professional community.
Jennifer Putnam (Edmond/OKC)
As I progress in my career, I am looking forward to progressing the physician assistant culture. I believe in working along side physicians, as well as other practitioners to provide the best care to our patients. I would like to see better recognition of PAs and respect towards our profession and level of education, especially when compared to other practitioners. I believe it is important to build confidence in our profession.
Sarah Tyszko (Edmond/Edmond)
I am interested in serving the OAPA board as I realize with the changing climate of insurance reimbursement and changes to legislature it is important to preserve and protect our profession as well as ensure we are able to continue to provide access to care for Oklahomans. I feel as though my experience in both rural and urban settings has contributed to a unique understanding of the needs of very diverse patient populations.
Meet the Candidates for the AAPA House of Delegates
Only Fellow Members are eligible to vote for Delegates to the AAPA House of Delegates.
Parenthesis shows the city that the PA resides and works.
Phil Burke (Oklahoma City/Oklahoma City)
I have been involved with the House of Delegates off and on since 2013 and have enjoyed being able to represent the views and wishes of Oklahoma PAs at the national AAPA convention each year. We are currently in the middle of a Title Change Investigation that has been going on for a couple of years but will be discussed at this years All Virtual conference. I would love to continue to be involved in the HOD representing Oklahoma past 2021 as I know there will continue to be advancements and progress made within our profession on the national level that will impact Oklahoma PAs. Longevity and experience within the House of Delegates is important as there are some items that carry over from one year to the next and having knowledge of the history is very helpful. Please consider me to continue to represent Oklahoma in the House of Delegates.
Saura Douglas (Tulsa/Tulsa)
I have had the honor of serving as an AAPA House of Delegates for the last 3 years, two times as a delegate and once as an additional delegate. I also have served the OAPA on many various committees, most recently as the CME committee chair. I greatly enjoy the opportunity to give back to our profession on a grander scale, reviewing policy and change that will affect us now and for years to come. I feel it is important for our board and AAPA delegates to represent the membership rather than impose personal beliefs. My diverse clinical practice with areas in the office, in-patient, and surgery allows me the advantage to access viewpoints of many different colleagues. Working with the CME committee and lecturing at state PA programs allows me to see the perspective of PA educators as well.
Theresa Gavula (Norman/Oklahoma City)
For the past 18 years, I have practiced medicine as a PA in both rural and urban Oklahoma in four different fields. In addition to practicing medicine, I have also been very active in the Oklahoma Academy of Physician Assistants (OAPA). I was President of the OK PA Political Action Committee for three and a half, served as President of the OAPA for two consecutive three year terms and was a Member-at-Large of the Board of Directors for another 6 years. I have served on and Chaired several committees, including the CME, Leadership and Awards, Legislative Affairs and Website Development Committees, as well as serving on multiple other committees. Throughout the years, I have helped to modernize our By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation and Policies and Procedures in spite of conflicts and controversy. Additionally, I am a Preceptor and Lecturer for the OU PA Program and a Mentor for prospective students.
During this time, I have also been very active in the House of Delegates. I started in the HOD in 2005 as a Teller. In 2006, I was elected as an Alternate Delegate from Oklahoma and have served as a Delegate or Alternate every year since. After two years in the House, I knew I wanted to help write policy so I volunteered to sit on Reference Committees. I sat on Reference Committees B and C for the next five years. Earning the confidence of the Speakers of the House, I was appointed Reference Committee Chair the next six years and during that time chaired all three Committees. I will again sit on a Reference Committee in the upcoming HOD this May. I am proud of the work my Committees accomplished. We handled several controversial issues in an orderly and calm manner that led to creating policies that will strengthen our profession and allow us to provide quality care to the patients we serve. In addition to my work on Reference Committees, I also served three years on the Standing Rules Committee and was appointed Chair the last year I served. I was also elected to a two year term on the Nominating Work Group and was elected Chair during my second year. With the help of the Group, I was able to make the process of endorsing candidates for general elections a more fair and objective process. In 2013, I was appointed to the Board of Directors/House of Delegates Task Force on Improving Communications. Due to my dedication and work in the HOD, in 2018, I was awarded the AAPA HOD Outstanding Service Award.
I enjoy working in the HOD and helping to make policy for our profession. It is exciting and very rewarding to help promote our profession and to work with the other Delegates in voicing your opinions in the House. There are many challenging issues facing the House right now, but the most pressing are the title change discussion and Full Practice Authority for PA’s. These are topics we have debated in the HOD for years and will be debating and refining for years to come. I feel my experience and the contacts I have made with many other Delegates and the present and past House Officers give me the ability to help move these discussions forward in a timely manner. I also have the experience needed to mentor the newer Delegates as they learn how to navigate the HOD. I have been a mentor for years in the HOD and look forward to continuing in this role. Thank you for your vote of confidence in the past years and I look forward to continuing to represent the OAPA in the future.
Russell Wheeler (Oklahoma City/Oklahoma City)
I am interested in serving as your HOD representative to provide a voice for Oklahoma PAs in order to invest in the future of our dynamic profession. I think the OAPA will need to address many issues regarding our profession on a local and national level. I think we must continue to support optimizing team practice to provide high quality patient care without the burdensome administrative constraints. I will bring nearly a decade of experience working alongside many different healthcare professionals serving patients throughout my career as a PA in Neurohospitalist medicine.