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2020 NJSSPA Nominated Candidates

Posted about 1 month ago

Good Day NJSSPA Members:

New Jersey State Society of PAs (NJSSPA) is reminding you that it is time for elections. All current, Fellow members should have received an email with a link to the electronic ballot. Only members have the privilege to vote on the bylaws and incoming positions; if you are not currently a member please click here activate your membership to support NJSSPA in advancing your profession.  

Please contact us if you did not receive the ballot and we will resend it to you. 

Please see Nominee Bio's below.

Please vote by May 15, 2020!


President Nomination:

1. Bethann Mercanti is the Director of Clinical Operations for the Neurological Institute at Cooper University Healthcare in Camden, New Jersey. She has her Bachelor of the Arts degree in Biology and her Master of Medical Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies. She has practiced in neurology for 8 years, specializing in cerebrovascular disease. She has developed the Comprehensive Stroke Program at Cooper University Healthcare, achieving Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Certification status, the first in South Jersey. She also began the Cooper Telestroke program with local healthcare systems to provide acute stroke services. She was also the first PA on faculty at the Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, where she mentors medical students on their Capstone projects. She currently has 3 active studies focusing on clinical outcomes for stroke patients.

In addition to the neurosciences, Bethann’s passion is Physician Assistant advocacy, education, and professional growth. She started the Cooper Pre-PA Shadowing Program for pre-PA students to shadow with PAs in various specialties. She is also an instructor at Jefferson University’s Physician Assistant Program, and a clinical site preceptor. Most recently, she became Director of Temple University’s Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Enhancement Program, serving to coordinate clinical experiences for students. She is a current doctoral candidate at MCPHS for a Doctor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, focusing on health care research and organizational leadership.

Vice President Nomination:

1. Maureen Sullivan, PA-C has been a clinically practicing PA for over 23+ years. She is a 1996 graduate of Hahnemann University’s PA program, received her Masters in Health Sciences from Drexel University and just recently graduated from Stockton University with her doctorate in Education. In addition to her clinical work, she educated PA students at Jefferson University’s PA program in New Jersey over the past four years as an Assistant Professor. She now lectures as an adjunct in Jefferson’s pathophysiology and clinical medicine courses. Additionally, she is certified as an Emotional Intelligence Coach and has been a guest speaker on Emotional Intelligence at many venues for health care providers. She also completed an in-depth research project on Emotional Intelligence in the PA student and her research has been submitted for publication. She also serves on multiple state and county advisory boards and committees for Opioid and Alcohol Abuse and Addiction.

Maureen is passionate about the PA profession and has a strong desire to educate new PA graduates on the importance of representing PA’s as empathetic and compassionate health care providers to patients across the nation. She is committed to the representation of physician assistants in the State of New Jersey and will work diligently with the NJSSPA committee members to enhance awareness of our State organization. I look forward to serving all PA’s in New Jersey and will lobby to increase the membership as well as make our state organization more resourceful for all members. Thank you!

Secretary Nomination:

1. Jennifer Benante-Hawkins, MS, PA-C

I am 49 years of age and have been a practicing Physician Assistant for 16 years. I received a Masters degree in Science with an emphasis in Physician Assistant Studies from Northeastern University in Boston Mass. I have practiced in the field of OB/GYN for 16 years as a Physician Assistant. I have also practiced in the field of primary care. I am very passionate about Women’s Health and the Physician Assistant profession. I have also held the position of full time Assistant Professor with Jefferson University’s Physician Assistant Program (Previously Philadelphia University) from 2015 to 2019. I returned to practicing clinically full time when the program moved locations and I still teach at the program as a guest lecturer. I continue to help propel future Physician Assistants into the field of Women’s Health as it is mostly dominated by Nurse Practitioners. I also want to encourage all New Jersey licensed Physician Assistants to be part of the NJSSPA so that we can continue to become a united coalition that can network, help our communities and advance our profession in NJ and throughout the country. On a personal note I am a mom of two and have been married for 21 years. My hobbies include photography, event planning, set design and being a Theatre and Hockey mom. I look forward to being your new NJSSPA secretary if chosen. Thank you for your consideration.

Treasurer Nominations:

1. Erica Amianda, PA-C graduated from York College PA Program in Jamaica, NY in 2010 and is the Lead PA of the Center for Advanced Practice at Hackensack University Medical Center, and works clinically in Bariatric Surgery.  Erica served as the Student Director for the NY State society as a PA Student and has served as the Treasurer of NJSSPA for the since 2018.  She also was CME chair for the past 2 years helping organize conferences hosted in conjunction with the Seton Hall University PA Program and the College of St. Elizabeth PA Program.  At Hackensack Erica is actively involved in the PA Council, precepting PA Students from Seton Hall, and organizing research and quality projects with practicing PAs and PA students.  She has a dedicated interest in increasing visibility for the PA profession through leadership, mentorship and lobbying annually with the AAPA in Washington, DC for our profession.

2. Shaun E. Rowe, PA-C: Director of Clinical Practice/Lead APP Cooper Bone & Joint Institute, Cooper University Hospital. Years in Practice: 6. Currently acts as the Director of Clinical Practice and Lead Advanced Practice Provider for Cooper Bone and Joint Institute at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey. Shaun has six years of experience as a physician assistant. He has worked in Orthopaedics with a primary focus on Orthopaedic Trauma. Shaun is a graduate of University of the Cumberlands Physician Assistant Program in Williamsburg, Kentucky. He is nearing completion of his MBA with a concentration on Healthcare Administration. Shaun is a member of NJSSPA, AAPA, and OTA.

Member at Large (MAL) Nominations:

  1. Amanda DiPiazza: Amanda graduated from Barry University PA Program in 2011. She started her career as a general surgery PA at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY covering many surgical subspecialties. In 2014 Amanda switched specialties to neurosurgery and has worked with a private neurosurgery group since that time. Amanda loves vascular neurosurgery. She is currently on staff at seven northern NJ hospitals. Amanda holds an administrative position at Hackensack University Medical Center in the Center for Advanced PA Practice as the Lead PA for Education, and she works very closely with Seton Hall PA Program. Amanda has a true passion for PA education. She hopes to continue to support all NJ PAs as a NJ House of Delegate Representative. Amanda has been an AAPA House of Delegate Representative since 2019.

  2. Bernadette Parga has been a Physician Assistant since 2010 after graduating from Rutgers University, formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds a Bachelors Degree in Biology from Montclair State University. Since graduating she’s practiced in Cardiology in both outpatient and inpatient settings, as well as spent some time working at an Urgent Care. At present she is a Hospitalist at Overlook Medical Center and Morristown Memorial Center, where she’s been for the last 6 years. She hopes to continue to be able to grow as a practitioner to better herself for the patients she treats on a daily basis. If given the opportunity as a NJSSPA board member, she would take great pride in helping to advocate for the PA profession as a whole in order to expand their recognition in the healthcare world, as well as promote ongoing advancements in the field.

  3. Carla Pardee: My name is Carla Pardee and I have been a practicing PA for the past 4 years. I graduated from the Rutgers Physician Assistant Program in 2016 and have worked primarily in emergency medicine. I am Vice President of a non profit organization called Mayanza- a physician assistant founded and run organization that aims to improve the lives of school children in a rural town in Guatemala, receiving many grants over the past few years. I have been a NJSSPA member since I was a student, and previously was a member at large two years ago and helped form one of the first newsletters I hope to finish where I left off and dedicate my best to helping NJSSPA reach its prime. 

  4. Dhaval Patel: I attended Rutgers University Physician Assistant Program and graduated in 2010. I have been practicing Emergency Medicine for the past 9 years. I was a traveling PA for 3.5 years and have practiced in various Emergency Departments in NJ, NY, and PA. In February 2019, he assumed the APP Regional Director role for Envision Physician Services - Northeast Operating Unit. I fully understand Physician Assistants play an integral role in healthcare and need to be represented at every level. NJSSPA plays an instrumental role in advancing our profession. As a NJSSPA Board Member, I want to continue to represent the profession at the state level, increase local and national awareness of PAs, and help our profession thrive. During my free time, I enjoy playing golf and traveling the world.

  5. Emily Stefanicha: Emily completed her Master of Science, Physician Assistant Studies, at Rutgers University (formerly University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey) in 2010. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Biology from Ramapo College of New Jersey. She joined North Jersey Brain and Spine Center at the beginning of her career and is still practicing with the group as their Chief PA. She additionally serves as the Chair of the Physician Assistant Committee at Hackensack University Medical Center. She takes great pride in the advancements made by NJSSPA in the past for the PAs of NJ, at both a state and national level. As a board member of NJSSPA, she would hope to continue to help promote and further the physician assistant profession.

  6. Meenal Patel: PA Education: PA Program, PCOM Class of 2004, NCCPA Certified, 2004 - Present. Employment: Cardio Metabolic Institute 2013- Present, Clinical Practice: Inpatient & Outpatient Services, Wellness/Obesity Clinical Coordinator. Research Trials: Sub- Investigator New Brunswick Cardiology Group 2004-2013. Professional Involvement NJSSPA Member at Large 2014-2016, 2018-2020, NJSSPA Conference Co-Chair 2014, NJSSPA CME Committee 2014, NJSSPA and AAPA member since 2014.  With over 15 years of clinical experience, I have learned it is crucial to promote education, opportunity, and awareness in order to grow our profession. It is vital to increase NJSSPA awareness among our professional community at a local, state, and national level. I would help bring new ideas and suggestions to help further the goals of NJSSPA to help represent, support, and serve the physician assistants in the state of New Jersey.

  7. Michael Serrano: Prior to becoming a US Public Health Service officer, Officer Serrano received degrees in Bachelor of Science in Biology and Physician Assistant and worked in a Pharmaceutical company, as a Drug Safety Associate. He commissioned in 2006 and was stationed in San Diego with the Department of Immigration and Health Services. He then transitioned into the Reserve Corps and returned to New Jersey. Officer Serrano worked as a civilian PA at Mount Sinai Hospital in the Thoracic Surgery Unit. In 2008, he was recommissioned to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an FDA Investigator. He conducted numerous clinical trial and adverse drug event inspections. He was chosen to represent the FDA for the Good Pharmacovigilance inspectorate program and collaborated with Canada and United Kingdom health regulators. He assisted in the development of the compliance guidance for adverse event inspections and training program for FDA Investigators. In addition to his current position with the FDA, Officer Serrano also currently practices as a PA in an Urgent Care center and is studying for Master of Science in Clinical Trials at Rutgers University. He has been deployed multiple times in assisting various disaster areas, outbreaks, and suicide clusters.

House of Delegates (HOD):

  1. Amanda DiPiazza: Amanda graduated from Barry University PA Program in 2011. She started her career as a general surgery PA at Lenox Hill Hospital in NY covering many surgical subspecialties. In 2014 Amanda switched specialties to neurosurgery and has worked with a private neurosurgery group since that time. Amanda loves vascular neurosurgery. She is currently on staff at seven northern NJ hospitals. Amanda holds an administrative position at Hackensack University Medical Center in the Center for Advanced PA Practice as the Lead PA for Education, and she works very closely with Seton Hall PA Program. Amanda has a true passion for PA education. She hopes to continue to support all NJ PAs as a NJ House of Delegate Representative. Amanda has been an AAPA House of Delegate Representative since 2019.

  2. Diane Daw: I am honored to be nominated for HOD. I accept the nomination. I have served in NJSPPA in multiple positions over many years including president, secretary, treasurer, and member-at-large. I am dedicated to the advancement of our profession. We are well established as excellent, competent medical providers. We are now advancing as leaders. I plan to continue to work to have PAs to continue to grow in responsibility and leadership, weather that be clinical or executive. Diane Daw, PA-C, MPAS

  3. Erica Amianda, PA-C graduated from York College PA Program in Jamaica, NY in 2010 and is the Lead PA of the Center for Advanced Practice at Hackensack University Medical Center, and works clinically in Bariatric Surgery.  Erica served as the Student Director for the NY State society as a PA Student and has served as the Treasurer of NJSSPA for the since 2018.  She also was CME chair for the past 2 years helping organize conferences hosted in conjunction with the Seton Hall University PA Program and the College of St. Elizabeth PA Program.  At Hackensack Erica is actively involved in the PA Council, precepting PA Students from Seton Hall, and organizing research and quality projects with practicing PAs and PA students.  She has a dedicated interest in increasing visibility for the PA profession through leadership, mentorship and lobbying annually with the AAPA in Washington, DC for our profession.

  4. Gary RacichMy desire to better the career of all PAs, provide the best care to patients and my aspiration to learn as much as possible about this profession has prepared me to represent NJ at the national level.  With my experience having served on the House of Delegates over the last 5 years I know there is a lot that can be accomplished and I would like to take the concerns and ideas of NJ PAs to that level and continue to have our voices heard.  I hope to take on this opportunity once again and serve on the House of Delegates to proudly represent the state of NJ during such a crucial time in this profession

  5. Gregory Pierson: I have been a member of HOD for the past approximately 5+ yrs. During this time I have work with NJSSPA and the HOD to help with recruitment of new membership as well as the shaping the NJSSPA mission and other important issues regarding our profession. I have enjoyed this experience and I hope to continue to be part of HOD, to contribute to the success of NSSPA and our profession. I feel that I can continue to contribute to this success. Please consider me for this honor. Thank you for your consideration. Stay safe and well during these times. Respectfully, Greg Pierson