Veterans Caucus of the AAPA

History of Topics in the Tropics

25th Annual Topics in the Tropics

I decided I was going to give you a little history about this conference and why it means so much to me before we talk about the conference itself.  I think after 25 years it deserves to talk about itself and why you should attend.  This conference all began 26 years ago when Ken Harbert asked Lt. Col. David Gwinn to come to Geisinger to discuss with the CME Office the possibility of jointly sponsoring a conference with the AAPA Veterans Caucus.

After much discussion and many meetings, a conference was planned for December, 1991 in St. Thomas USVI.  It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship (David and mine) and a very successful and long running conference.  We lost David along the way but I am sure he is smiling down that this conference is still going strong.  It is one of the most meaningful activities that I have ever been involved with.  This conference has been in many places (Cancun, Jamaica, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, etc.) over the years and you (our attendees and speakers) have helped many orphans in those countries with contributions of all sorts (food, money, toys, Christmas gifts, etc.) and we have had the opportunity of seeing their smiling faces when they were given such treasures.  I have met and become friends with so many people in so many different states, it still amazes me.  At one time in my life, I had never been out of little Danville and now I feel like I have been everywhere thanks to this group.

Next all the proceeds from this conference go to the Veterans Caucus Scholarship Program. The Veterans Caucus Scholarship Program supports eligible Physician Assistant students in their quest to complete PA training who are veterans or active members of the Guard or Reserves of the Uniform Services. Through your continued support of this conference, we have supported more than 250 veteran students in their studies. To me this is amazing and we could not do it without your continued support and that of our outstanding speakers. I do not know if you are aware, but we do not pay any of our speakers for their time or travel, they donate everything to this conference.  That speaks for itself.   So I hope you now understand how something that has given me many lifelong friendships, provided excellent education too many providers, supported orphans in all the countries we have visited and subsidized school expenses for over 250 military students can make you feel so good about what you do.  I truly love this group and what they stand for.  Now onto the meeting..........

Sharon Hanley