Leadership

The Society of Air Force Physician Assistants (SAFPA) is a professional organization

SPECIALISTS

Major Stephen Vela

Major Stephen Vela

Maj Vela is currently stationed at Travis AFB serving as the Phase 2 Director for IPAP. In his off time he enjoys upcycling, antiques, and fly-fishing (although he never has time for this!)

EDUCATION:
  • 2008 MPAS University of Nebraska “IPAP”

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • Sep 2008—Jul 2012 Staff PA, Family Health Clinic, Ellsworth AFB, SD
  • Jul 2012—Jun 2015 Staff PA, Flight Medicine, Hurlburt Field, FL
  • Jun 2015—present IPAP Phase II Director, Travis AFB, CA

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • 2011 SAFPA Excellence Award
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with 3 OLCs
  • Air Force Achievement Medal with 1 OLC
  • Army Achievement medal

    DEPLOYMENTS:
  • Jul 2010—Jan 2011 Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center, Landstuhl, Germany

  • Major Karen Salyars

    Major Karen Salyars

    Maj Salyars is currently stationed at Dover AFB serving as the Flight and Operational Medicine Flight Commander. She loves to spend time with her husband, daughter and 3 dogs. Her favorite activities are traveling, snowboarding, camping and photography.

    EDUCATION:
  • 2003 BS University of Nebraska/Interservice PA Program
  • 2005 MPAS University of Nebraska

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • Dec 2010—Jul 2012 Staff PA, Family Medicine Residency Clinic, Eglin AFB, FL
  • Jul 2012—Mar 2014 IPAP Phase 2 Director, Eglin AFB, FL
  • Mar 2014—Jan 2017 IPAP Graduate Faculty, JBSA-Ft Sam Houston, TX
  • Jan 2017—present Flight & Operational Medicine Flight CC, Dover AFB, DE

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Army Commendation Medal with 4 OLCs
  • Air Force Achievement Medal
  • Army Achievement medal with 1 OLC
  • 2013 SAFPA Wheaton Award
  • Expert Field Medical Badge

    DEPLOYMENTS:
  • Nov 1997—Feb 1998 Operation Joint Endeavor, Tuzla West, Bosnia
  • Jul 1998—Sep 1998 Operation Joint Forge, Tuzla, Bosnia
  • Nov 2003—Jul 2004 Operation Iraqi Freedom, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Dec 2006—Mar 2007 Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ar Ramadi, Iraq

  • Major Rodney Ho

    Major Rodney Ho

    Maj Ho is currently stationed at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, TX serving as the Chief, Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health. In his off time he enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies, and grilling steaks!

    EDUCATION:
  • 2010 MPAS University of Nebraska “IPAP”
  • 2013 Ph.D. in Health Sciences, Trident University International, Cypress, CA
  • 2016 MPH, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL.

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • May 2010-April 2012 Staff PA, Family Health Clinic, Flight Medicine Clinic, Student Health Clinic, Sheppard AFB, TX
  • Apr 2012-April 2015 Element OIC; Medical Standards, Flight Medicine Clinic, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan
  • Apr 2015-present Research PA; Chief, Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health; 711 HPW/Det 5, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, TX

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • 2012 PACAF Biomedical Sciences Clinician Cat I CGO of The Year
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 OLC
  • Air Force Achievement Medal with 2 OLCs

  • Major Bryan Johnson

    Major Bryan Johnson

    Maj Johnson is currently stationed at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO where he serves as the general surgery element leader and staff general surgery PA. He is married and has three boys ages 14, 12, and 9. In his spare time he enjoys all forms of exercise, the outdoors, and watching his sons do awesome things!

    EDUCATION:
  • 2006 MPAS University of Nebraska “IPAP”
  • 2009 Certificate General Surgery Residency, Wilford Hall Medical Center

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • 2006—2008 Staff PA, Primary Care Clinic, Dyess AFB, TX
  • 2009—2012 General Surgery Residency & Bariatric Surgery Clinic, Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, TX
  • 2012—2015 Staff General Surgery PA, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO
  • 2015—2016 Staff General Surgery PA, Osan AB, Republic of Korea
  • 2016—Present Staff General Surgery PA, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • Air Force Achievement Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with two oak clusters

    DEPLOYMENTS:
  • Jan 2009—June 2009, Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan

  • Captain Jodi Post

    Captain Jodi Post

    Capt Jodi Post is stationed at Holloman AFB, NM. 

    EDUCATION:
  • 2007 BS Health Sciences University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • 2010 MPAS Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • Oct 2012—Dec 2014 Staff PA, Family Health, Travis AFB, CA
  • Jan 2015—Sept 2015 Operations Officer, Flight Medicine, Travis AFB, CA
  • Oct 2015—Present, Base Operational Medicine Clinic Director, Holloman AFB, NM

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • Air Force Commendation Medal w/1 OLC

  • Captain Kevin Stuessy

    Captain Kevin Stuessy

    Capt Kevin Stuessy is Stationed at Presidio of Monterey, CA with his wife and 2 daughters. He enjoys outdoor activities, spending time with family. Most of families weekends are consumed with competitive softball for his daughters as they travel the west coast playing in tournaments.

    EDUCATION:
  • 2006 – BS Business Administration University of Maryland
  • 2013 – BS Physician Assistant Studies University of Nebraska
  • 2014 – MPAS University of Nebraska

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • August 1997 – January 2008 - Tinker AFB, OK Aerospace Propulsion Technician for AWACS
  • January 2008 – December 2011 - Seymour Johnson AFB, NC Aerospace Propulsion Technician (F-15)
  • January 2012 – April 2013 - Ft. Sam Houston, TX – IPAP Phase 1
  • April 2013 – June 2014 - Nellis AFB, NV – IPAP Phase 2
  • June 2014 – June 2017 - Barksdale AFB, LA – Element leader, Family Health
  • July 2017 – present – Presidio of Monterey, CA - Aerospace and Occupational Medical Leader

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • Air Force Commendation Medal w/2 OLC
  • Air Force Achievement Medal

    DEPLOYMENTS:
  • Operation Northern and Southern Watch
  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Operation Desert Fox
  • South America for CDO’s

  • Major Lloyd "Chris" Scharfenstine

    Major Lloyd "Chris" Scharfenstine

    Maj Scharfenstine is stationed at JBER, AK with his wife and 3 children. He loves the outdoors and camping/fishing throughout Alaska. In the winters, he and his family can be found on the slopes skiing.

    EDUCATION:
  • 2004 BA Psychology University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
  • 2007 MPAS University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • ASSIGNMENTS:
  • Aug 2007—Jun 2010 Staff PA, Family Health, Peterson AFB, CO
  • Jun 2010—Jun 2013 Element Leader, Family Health, JBPHH, HI
  • Jul 2013—Jul 2014 AFIT Fellow General Surgery, SAMMC, TX
  • Jul 2014—Aug 2015 Surgery Element Leader, Osan AB, ROK
  • Aug 2015—Jun 2016 Surgical Specialties Flight CC, JBER, AK
  • Jul 2016 — Present Surgical Services Flight CC, JBER, AK
  • AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • Meritorious Service Medal w/1 OLC
  • Air Force Commendation Medal w/1 OLC
  • Air force Achievement Medal w/1 OLC
  • Air Force Combat Action Medal
  • DEPLOYMENTS:
  • Oct 2008—Jul 2009 Chief Medical Officer RPAC-S, FOB Walton, Kandahar, Afghanistan
  • Captain Stephen

    Captain Stephen

    Maj(s) Smith is currently stationed at Osan AB, Korea serving as Surgical Services Element Chief and Staff General Surgery PA. While in Korea he enjoys traveling, eating, and has recently delved into the world of CrossFit. At home he prefers to spend time with his wife and two daughters!

    EDUCATION:
  • 2008 BS—Weber State University (Adv Radiologic Sciences)
  • 2011 MPAS—University of Utah School of Medicine
  • 2016 DSc—Baylor University (General Surgery)

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • Sep 2011—May 2015 Staff PA, Family Health Clinic, Travis AFB, CA
  • May 2015—Dec 2016 General Surgery Resident, San Antonio Military Medical Center, San Antonio, TX
  • Jan 2016—Present Staff General Surgery PA, Osan AB, Korea

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • IPAP “Preceptor of the Year Award,” 2014
  • 51st Medical Operations Squadron CGOQ1, 2017

    DEPLOYMENTS:
  • May 2015—Joint Service “New Horizons” Humanitarian Surgical Mission, Dominican Republic

  • Captain Daniela Feldhausen

    Captain Daniela Feldhausen

    MAJOR DANIELA FELDHAUSEN Title: DAL Memberships Maj Feldhausen is stationed at Ft Sam Houston, TX and in the Emergency Medicine Fellowship. The fellowship program demands provide little time off. However, when not on shift, completing research for doctorate, studying for her next exam, logging procedures… you would most likely find her napping or spending time with her family (with naps scheduled in). Education • 2010 MPAS University of Nebraska “IPAP” Assignments • Jan 2011—Jan 2014 Staff PA, Family Health, Beale AFB, CA • Feb 2014—May 2017 IPAP Phase II Director, Egin AFB, FL • May 2017—present AFIT Fellow Emergency Medicine, SAMMC, TX Awards/Decorations • Meritorious Service Medal • Air Force Commendation Medal w/3 OLC • Army Commendation Medal • Air Force Achievement Medal • Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal Deployments • Mar 2012—Sep 2012 MEDEL Staff PA, Soto Cano AB, Honduras

    Captain Stephen Kesterson

    Captain Stephen Kesterson

    Capt Kesterson is currently stationed at Offutt AFB serving in the Otolaryngology Clinic and is the Assistant Phase 2 Director for IPAP. In his off time he enjoys community work, sports, and outdoor activities.

    EDUCATION:
  • Aug 2011 – Bachelor of Science Degree, University Nebraska Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas
  • Sep 2012 – Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas
  • Jun 2017 – Otolaryngology Fellowship Certificate, San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, Brooke Army Medical Center

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • Sep 2012 – Jun 2016, Staff PA, 559th and 59th Medical Operations Squadron, JBSA-Lackland, Texas
  • Aug 2017 – present, Otolaryngology Element Chief, 55th Medical Operations Squadron, Offutt AFB, Nebraska

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • Air Force Commendation Medal, Two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Air Force Achievement Medal, One Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Presidential Meritorious Unit Award

  • Lt Col Brandi Ritter

    Lt Col Brandi Ritter

    Lt Col Ritter started her military career over 28 years ago as an Aeromedical Technician and was commissioned as a Physician Assistant in 1999. She is currently assigned as the Chief, Air Force Medical Evaluation Support Activity at Fort Detrick, MD. For the past twelve years Lt Col Ritter has been involved in evaluating and proposing solutions for identified gaps in military medicine to improve medical care on the battlefield. She loves to spend time with her two cats (not crazy yet), reading, and crafting.  

    EDUCATION:
  • 1995:      Associate Degree in Applied Science, Community College of the Air Force
  • 1999:      Bachelor of Science Degree, Physician Assistant Studies, University of Nebraska
  • 2001:      Master of Physician Assistant Studies Degree, University of Nebraska
  • ASSIGNMENTS:
  • (Assignment Information is quite extensive)

    AWARDS:
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
  • AF Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • 2014 AAPA Veterans Caucus Outstanding Uniformed PA of the Year
  • Society of Air Force Physician Assistants, 2006 Jerrold L. Wheaton Award
  • 2009 DMSB Field Grade Officer Physician Assistant of the Year
  • AFMSA/SGR 2006 Company Grade Officer of the Year
  • DEPLOYMENTS:
  • Dec 08 – Jul 09 Forward Surgical Team, Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan
  • Major Jennifer King

    Major Jennifer King

    Maj King is stationed with the 134th Air Refueling Wing, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville TN with her husband and 2 boys. She loves the outdoors, camping and hiking, tolerates running and is most comfortable with a good . book and a cup of hot tea (or a suture set...your pick). She has been a member of the 134th Medical Group since 2001 as both a Medical Technician and a PA and is profoundly grateful to her guard family for the opportunities and support over the years.

    EDUCATION:
  • 2007 BAS IPAP University of Nebraska
  • 2008 MPAS IPAP University of Nebraska
  • 2013 AMP 201 Wright-Patterson AFB OH

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Air force Achievement Medal

  • Major Ryan Kastern

    Major Ryan Kastern

    Maj Kastern is stationed JBSA-Randolph and works at the Air Force Personnel Center as a BSC Utilization Officer. He loves playing golf and hanging out with his son and puppies.

    EDUCATION:
  • 2007 MPAS University of Nebraska Medical Center

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • May 2007—Nov 2010 Staff PA, Family Health Clinic, Langley AFB, VA
  • Nov 2010—Sep 2013 Element Leader, Family Health Clinic, Lackland AFB, TX
  • Sep 2013—Jul 2015 Creech Medical Clinic Flight Commander, Nellis AFB, NV
  • Jul 2015—present BSC Utilization Officer, Randolph AFB, TX

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • 2014 SAFPA Wheaton Award
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal w/2 OLC
  • Army Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Achievement Medal w/1 OLC

    DEPLOYMENTS:
  • Jun 2009—Dec 2009, Afghanistan

  • Major Breanne Kormendy

    Major Breanne Kormendy

    Maj Kormendy just completed her Doctorate in Physician Assistant Studies in General Surgery and is moving to Osan AB, Republic of Korea. She is hoping to enjoy more free time in Korea and find a new hobby (since her puppies will be in Texas).

    EDUCATION:
  • 2008 MPAS, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • 2017 DSc Physician Assistant Studies in General Surgery, Baylor University, TX

    ASSIGNMENTS:
  • Sep 2008—Jun 2011 Staff PA, Family Health Clinic, Lackland AFB, TX
  • Jun 2011—Jul 2013 IDMT Instructor, Fort Sam Houston, TX
  • Jul 2013—Jun 2015 IPAP Phase II Program Director, Nellis AFB, NV
  • Jun 2015—May 2016 Executive Officer, Air Force Medical Operations Agency, JBSA Lackland-Kelly, TX
  • May 2016—Dec 2017 General Surgery Fellow/Doctoral Candidate, JBSA Fort Sam Houston, TX

    AWARDS & DECORATIONS:
  • 2015 AMSUS Andrew Craige Allied Health Professional
  • Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with 1 OLC
  • Joint Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 OLC
  • Air Force Achievement Medal

    DEPLOYMENTS:
  • Feb 2010 – Sep 2010, SOCCENT Forward

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