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Member Spotlight - August 2020

Wednesday, July 29, 2020  
Posted by: Blake Manz
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Roger Lovelace is the new President of WAPA for 2020. Roger received his associates from UW-Baraboo/Suak County and Bachelor of Physician Assistant at UW-MadisonAside from his time in the Army, his recent service with the National Guard has him returning from an Egypt deployment.

You became President of WAPA as of July 1, 2020. What do you hope to accomplish during your time in office. 

I campaigned on increasing membership and building the Leadership coalition. Recent events and COVID have added to what I want to accomplish.

  • See CARES across the finish line, if not this session then in the next.
  • Oversee the building of WAPA's new Diversity Committee and initiative along with our new Diversity Chair Jackie Oraedu.
  • Increase membership.
  • Build the Leadership Coalition to include our NP colleagues.

Tell us about your education and career thus far.

Education: Started with an Radiology Tech degree through the Army. Got my Associate degree at UW-Baraboo/Suak County and Bachelor of Physician Assistant at UW-Madison. I received my MPAS from University of Nebraska Medical Center. My Doctor of Health Science degree from AT Still University and am currently working through my MBA with Western Governor's University.

Career: After the Army, I worked various jobs in radiology until I got my first PA job at Richland Medical Center in Richland Center, WI. I worked there for a year before getting my current job at Marshfield Clinic Health System in neurosurgery. I have been here 13 years. For the last 2 plus years I have been working to establish APC leadership within MCHS. I have been the Chair of the Advance Practice Clinician Advisory Council for 2 years. In addition to my work with WAPA, I was the National Guard Director on the Society of Army Physician Assistants (SAPA) national board of directors for 3 years from 2015-2017.

Military Career: I started in the Marine Corp Reserve, did a stint in the Army on active duty, and the remainder in the Army National Guard. I am closing in on 22 years total in the military. I was promoted to major in August 2019.

You have been very busy with the National Guard this past year. What experiences have you had?

I had a 4 month deployment from November 2019 to March 2020 of which I spent 3 months in Egypt. I was the medical provider for a Guam National Guard unit on deployment to the Multinational Force and Observers mission. The MFO mission is the peacekeeping force between Egypt and Israel. During that deployment I also had the opportunity to see the Pyramids and to visit Israel. Deploying in support of America's mission abroad is truly humbling, but even more humbling is what I was doing from March to June this year. If you join the National Guard you know in addition to federal support, you can be called upon in times of state emergency. State activation means we are helping our family, friends, and neighbors right here in Wisconsin. The National Guard is doing great things in response to COVID. During my time I was in charge of soldiers who were manning missions at isolation centers, augmenting nursing home staff, testing for COVID, educating corrections personnel in COVID procedures, and setting up and staffing of an overflow center for COVID patients. The National Guard will be active in response to COVID likely through the end of the year or longer.

How has Covid impacted you and your colleagues?

Like all health systems in the state and country, we initially shut down all elective care in our system for about 6 weeks. Our system has been adding back services for about the last 6-8 weeks. Our department is 5 PAs. For about 2 month two of us were on active duty leaving the other 3 to carry the weight of a 5 person practice. We have all had to endure the catch up phase with elective surgeries and have a higher volume of telehealth or telehome visits. Oh and of course masks and heightened PPE everywhere.

What are your hopes for the PA profession in Wisconsin and nationwide.

I hope to get to a future were all providers, PAs, NPs, and MDs, realize we all have a role to play, all have the training to do it, and work together without trying to one up each other and fighting. I envision eventually having to have a doctorate as an entry level degree for PAs. Additionally, though not a requirement, I see fellowship or resident training for PAs becoming more common.

I eventually want to see PAs work with NPs in the state to get entry to practice legislation in the state of Wisconsin. What that means is both professions would need to maintain collaborative agreements upon graduation for a set number of hours. After that the state would not require the APC to maintain the collaborative agreement with the state. Minnesota currently has this legislation for its NPs.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

Hunting, golf, bowling, and school. Just joking about the school, but I have basically been a student my whole adult life so maybe I'm not. Family and friends are really important to me. I do most things in my life in support of those I love.