Caucus or Not to Caucus?

What is a “caucus” and what do they do? Webster’s defines “Caucus” as 1) part of a legislative process; 2) any meeting or group organized to further a special interest or cause. The AAPA has several Special Interest Caucuses who support various issues. So AAPA members who are veterans, friends or family of veterans, care for veterans, or are simply interested in veteran’s health or any veteran’s issues are eligible to become a member of the Veteran’s Caucus (known from this point as “the Caucus”) of the AAPA.

The Caucus is the primary advisory group to the AAPA leadership for all veteran’s issues. We represent veteran’s issues to the House of Delegates as a voting caucus. We do NOT replace your constituent organization or their representation of you. It is possible to have differing representation. For example, a specialty PA may have a practice issue that is specific to the specialty. They could address that issue to the specialty organization for representation. Perhaps there is a state issue that needs to be addressed such as licensing or practice guidelines. Those issues can be addressed thru the state constituent chapter. Another way to think of it as the state organization represents your ability to practice and the specialty represents your actual practice. Think of the Caucus as adjunct representation of your interest.

Supporting professional organizations is a vital part of becoming the consummate professionals PAs are known to be. Participating members make these organizations stronger and gives them the influence that is required to effect change. The Caucus has an incredible history. We have a successful scholarship program, veteran student’s assistance program, Opening & Memorial Day ceremonies at the AAPA and we are committed to Veterans Health Issues. These programs require members with the will and need to serve. There are over 10,000 veterans who are members of AAPA yet only 500 are members of our caucus. My question is “Why is that?” If you are supporting your ability to practice and your practice guidelines, why are you not supporting your special interest?

Whether scholarships, financial assistance for emergencies, or any other veteran’s issues, support is necessary. The Caucus is part of our professional tradition. Just as Navy Corpsmen were the first participants in 1967, the first official discussion group was by military veteran’s to share their mutual support and informal networks began to develop in 1979 at the AAPA conference.

On average, we present over $25,000 annually for veteran’s attending PA Programs. Currently we have over 13 scholarships available for varying amounts. We have funds available to any veteran PA student who requires financial assistance for various emergencies, i.e water heater breaks, medical emergency, auto breaks down, etc. This is meant to be short term. Everyone needs a little help now and again. Not only do we participate the opening ceremony of the AAPA conference, but also the House of Delegates. I have been attending AAPA conferences for many years and have participated in several of these ceremonies.

I had the privilege of speaking at one of the Memorial Day ceremonies. It was truly an honor. I have met more PAs interested in veteran’s issues and veteran’s healthcare at these ceremonies than just about anywhere else. If fact I have met more non-veteran’s than veteran’s at these functions. They feel it is their way of honoring the beginnings of the profession, those who have served, and those who continue to serve. The Memorial Day Ceremony is always followed by a reception with auction items to help support our Scholarship program.

The Caucus has a mentorship program which enables members to help other members. They can assist with transition to civilian life, contract negotiations, humanitarian projects, etc. Members can create or join with others with similar interests or needs. These programs can only work with member participation. One of our most successful programs is “Topic in the Tropics” CME Conference in December. It is a great way to beat the winter blues and still be productive, gain CME, and network with colleagues. It is the “Best Bang for the Buck” you will find.

This brings us back to the start; what a Caucus is and what they do, whether to Caucus or Not to Caucus. The Veteran’s Caucus is as varied as the people who participate in our programs. As the AAPA is moving the dates of the conference from the Memorial Day holiday, 2015 will be our last Memorial Day Ceremony. Going forward will be a celebration of veterans, their service, their pride, and their tradition. Visit our website for more information on any of these programs or please join us 25 May 2015 in San Francisco. We encourage you to stop by our table at in the Constituent Organization of the EXPO beginning 0900, Tuesday 26 May thru 1200, 27 May. We will have membership applications, “Topics” brochures, Caucus brochures and members of the Caucus available to hopefully answer your questions.

If you are not a veteran, the odds are you know one, will be one soon or take care of them. How better to assure that the Veteran is well cared for, than to become an active participant in a professional organization that supports all veterans.

Cheryl Gregorio, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA
Col (Ret), USAF, BSC
Director at Large

FEDERAL REGISTER – Camp Legune – Jan 13, 2017

FEDERAL REGISTER – Camp Legune – Jan 13, 2017

Diseases Associated With Exposure to Contaminants in the Water Supply at Camp Lejeune

82 FR 4173 - A Rule by the Veterans Affairs Department published on 01/13/2017

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its adjudication regulations regarding presumptive service connection, adding certain diseases associated with contaminants present in the base water supply at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Camp Lejeune), North Carolina, from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. This final rule establishes that veterans, former reservists, and former National Guard members, who served at Camp Lejeune for no less than 30 days (consecutive or...  SEE LINK ABOVE FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION


Women in Uniform Print

Women in Uniform

New in the Veterans Caucus Store

a signed, numbered print of "Women in Uniform" by artist Don Pedersen, PA.  The print is 18"x24" and perfect for framing. A limited number are available at this time.

It celebrates the many roles played by women over the years in service to their country. The print has been signed by many women veterans.

Offered in the Veterans Caucus Store for $75.00 (including S&H). $50.00 of each sale with be donated to the efforts to expand and upgrade the John McElligott Veterans Memorial Garden at the Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Center for Physician Assistants located in Durham, NC.



Effective immediately, the Veterans Caucus is offering free membership to ALL veterans enrolled in a Physician Assistant Training program. Use this link to JOIN US.

The Veterans Caucus hopes this will become the start of a long realtionship between the Caucus and you.

Frederick C. Brace, III, PA-C, DFAAPA
Veterans Caucus of the AAPA

Date posted 1/25/2016

Veterans Garden Pavers

Subject:  Purchase a Paver to Honor PA Veterans and PAs in the Uniformed Services

Donation of brick for Bubba Gwinn scanned info.pdf page 1
On October 15, 2016, landscaping and construction will begin to upgrade the Veteran Memorial Garden at the Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Center for Physician Assistants into a place of remembrance for Physician Assistants who are veterans or who are currently serving in the uniformed services of the USA.   The PA History Society welcomes all to become a part of this wonderful event by purchasing name engraved brick pavers to be embedded in the wheelchair accessible walkway and the patio area surrounding the life-size bronze combat medic statue and flagpole, the centerpiece of the garden. 

  Beginning July 1st 2016 through October 1, 2016 we are offering the opportunity to purchase a 9x9 inch named engraved brick pavers to PAs who are veterans or who are on active duty for $100 each.  We have the capacity to embed 400 pavers in the sidewalk and patio, so please do not delay in purchasing pavers so that your name or that of someone you want to honor is displayed prominently in the garden.  The insignia of your branch of service, name and date of service can be engraved on the paver.  For more information on this project, and to  order your pavers, please visit  the PA History Website at