International PA Symposium

Powered by University Hospital Mannheim & EuroPA-C

Welcome to the groundbreaking international PA-C Symposium 2024, "Learning from the Best - PAs in the United States, A Blueprint for Europe?" This pivotal event presents an unparalleled opportunity for European medical professionals and policymakers to delve into the insights and strategies that have propelled the success of Physician Assistants / Associates (PAs) in the United States. Through a series of expert-led lectures and a panel debate attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. PA model, exploring its potential as a template for healthcare systems across Europe.

As European healthcare faces increasingly complex challenges, from aging populations to the need for cost-effective care delivery, the PA profession stands out as an exemplar of adaptable, high-quality patient care. This symposium will bridge transatlantic knowledge, showcasing how the integration of PAs can enhance care team efficiency, improve patient outcomes, and address critical workforce shortages. Join us to engage with influential voices, learn from the best practices, and consider how the European healthcare landscape could evolve by adopting elements of the U.S. blueprint for clinical excellence.


Please register via our registration app, press the blue REGISTRATION button to get to the registration, thank you, see you in Mannheim!

Interdisciplinary Dialogue

PA play an important role, especially at times when personnel and financial resources are becoming increasingly scarce!


European Harmonization

Promoting and establishing the professional profile of PA in healthcare across Europe is a statutory objective of EuroPA-C


Common Standards

Uniform training and continuing education standards for PA across Europe, including certification exams.



Radisson Blu Hotel - Q7 27, 68161 Mannheim, Germany



Commander, Medical Readiness Command, Pacific and Director, Defense Health Network Indo-Pacific
COL Soliz enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1987 as a Combat Medic. His first 
assignment was with the 2nd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne 
Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he deployed in support of OPERATION DESERT 
STORM. In 1992 he became a Practical Nurse and was assigned to William Beaumont 
Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas, as an Intensive Care Unit Nurse, and later as a 
Hospital Education Nurse Instructor. He completed his enlisted career as a Sergeant First 

In 1996, he attended the Army’s Physician Assistant Training Program at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in February, 1998. His first assignment was as the Battalion Surgeon for the 1st, and later the 3rd, Parachute Infantry Regiments, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. From July 2001 to July 2002, he returned to Fort Sam Houston as an Executive Fellow, Allied Health Staff Officer for the Surgeon General, Headquarters, U.S. Army Medical Command. Upon completing his fellowship, he served as Officer-in-Charge of the Combat Casualty Care Course at Camp Bullis, Texas. He later served as the Flight Surgeon for 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. In July 2006, COL Soliz served as the Physician Assistant to the President of the United States, and later as J-3, Operations Director, as a member of the White House Medical Unit, Washington, D.C. In 2011, he served as the Deputy Surgeon for Special Operations Command South (Airborne), Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida. He was reassigned to the Pentagon as Aide-de-Camp to the Army Inspector General, Office of the Secretary of the Army, and later became the Chief, Orthopedic Surgery, at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, Fort Meade, Maryland. COL Soliz then deployed as the Chief, Strategic Engagements Branch, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) in Kabul, and then as Director, Prehospital Care, for CENTCOM’s Joint Theater Trauma System (JTTS) in Bagram, Afghanistan. From June 2015 to June 2017, COL Soliz commanded the California Medical Detachment and the Presidio of Monterey Army Health Clinic in Monterey, California. From July 2017 to June 2018, he was a War College Fellow at the Department of Health and Human Services. From July 2018 to July 2019, he served at the Pentagon as the Executive Assistant to the Army Surgeon General and Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command. From June 2019 to June 2021, he commanded the Joint Medical Augmentation Unit, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C. COL Soliz served Chief of Staff, Regional Health Command-Pacific, from July 2021 to May 2022. Most recently, he commanded Tripler Army Medical Center from May 9, 2022 to 19 May 2023. He assumed command of Medical Readiness Command, Pacific on May 22, 2023 and serves as the Director of Defense Health Network Indo- Pacific. His combat operations include OPERATION DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, OPERATION PROVIDE COMFORT, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, and various worldwide joint special operations contingencies. COL Soliz’s awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (2 OLC), the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC), the Meritorious Service Medal (3 OLC), the Air Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal (2 OLC), the Army Commendation Medal (6 OLC), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (1 OLC), the Combat Medical Badge (2nd award), Expert Field Medical Badge, Senior Aviation Badge, Flight Surgeon Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, the Presidential Service Badge, the Army Staff Identification Badge, the Health and Human Services Identification Badge, and foreign parachutist badges from multiple countries. COL Soliz received a Bachelor of Science (summa cum laude) in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Health Science Center, a Master of Science in Family Medicine from the University of Nebraska, and a Master of Business Administration from the Jack Welch Management Institute. He also holds a Doctorate of Medical Science from the University of Lynchburg, VA. His military education includes the AMEDD Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Army Command and General Staff College, Joint Combined Warfighting School, and the U.S. Army War College. COL Soliz is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).

Sharon Luke, EdD, PA-C

Sharon Luke, EdD, PA-C, is the Executive Director of the Accreditation Review Commission on the Education of the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA), the sole accrediting body for PA education in the United States.  She has a near 30-year history in the PA profession, serving as clinical PA provider, a PA educator and preceptor, an accreditation site visitor, and commissioner. 
Inspired by learning first-hand the role that accreditation can play on the quality of education delivered in PA programs, she served two terms as a commissioner of ARC-PA. In 2015, Dr. Luke joined the staff of the ARC-PA as an Assistant Director. In 2016, she became the Executive Director of the ARC-PA.  Her continuous goal is to work with the commissioners and satisfy the mission of ARC-PA to protect the interests of students and the public via the accreditation process and the subsequent assurance of quality education in PA programs.

Dr. Dawn Morton-Rias 

Dr. Dawn Morton-Rias is the President & CEO of the NCCPA, the certifying organization for the more than 178,700 Board Certified PAs in the U.S. She is a Board-Certified PA and has practiced in family medicine, addictive medicine, GYN, and care for the homeless. 
She has served in many national leadership roles and is recognized for her leadership in certification, organizational leadership, DEI initiatives, curricula innovation, and expansion of educational access. Under her leadership, NCCPA has enhanced its certification programs, expanded research initiatives, and increased promotional and DEI efforts for the PA profession.
Before joining NCCPA, she served as a Professor and Dean at the State University of NY. Dr. Morton-Rias holds a BA from Stony Brook University, a BS and PA Certificate from Howard University, and a Doctorate in Education from St. John’s University. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and an Institute of Credentialing Excellence, (ICE) Certified Credentialing Professional (CCP).

Dr. DeShana Collett

Dr. Collett is a Tenured Professor at the University of Kentucky and has made extensive contributions to research scholarship and professional engagement, focusing on student performance metrics, clinical adherence to preventative practice guidelines, healthcare and health disparities, and introducing precision medicine in medical education. Her achievements include presenting at numerous national and international conferences and holding intellectual property, including a patent and commercialization for MediSkin, a silicone-based human-like artificial skin.
Currently serving as the Chair of the University Senate Council at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Collett's second term reflects her leadership and commitment to university governance. Her Senate leadership journey began in 2016 and progressed through various pivotal roles, including Senate Rules and Election Committee Chair and two terms as Senate Council Vice Chair. Since 2018, her accreditation involvement has spanned various roles, including accreditation specialist, site visitor, and National Board of Commissioner. Noteworthy among her professional roles, Dr. Collett serves as the Chairwoman of the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).  

Dr. Trenton Honda

Dr. Trenton Honda, Editor in Chief of the Journal of PA Education,  is an environmental epidemiologist and physician associate education researcher. As an epidemiologist, he focuses on computational methods to identify and quantify the health effects of air pollution, infectious diseases, and the built environment. Within physician associate education, he focuses on program evaluation, application of quantitative methods in biomedical education research, and disparities in physician associate education. 

His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Physician Associate Education Association. He currently serves as Associate Dean and Clinical Professor at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, USA. 

Mr. Lizotte

Mr. Lizotte is the Executive Director and Past President of the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, a US non-profit professional association that represents cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgery and CTV critical care PAs.   He has a 30 year history in the PA profession, holding clinical and administrative positions in cardiothoracic surgery.  Mr. Lizotte is passionate about PA education as well as international PA professional development.  He has traveled extensively engaging with PAs in several countries, has served as an adjunct professor at international PA training programs, and is currently working on novel models to decrease barriers to entry to the workforce for CTV PAs, to standardize CTV PA orientation, training and practice.

In 2004, Mr. Lizotte joined the Board of Directors of the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery (APACVS) as a Member at Large. In 2009, he was elected Vice President of APACVS and served in that role for 2 years. In 2011, he was elected President of APACVS and served as the association’s President for 5 years. In 2017, Mr. Lizotte was selected as the first employed Executive Director of APACVS, a role that he continues to hold today. Since taking on this role, Mr. Lizotte has directed a high level of innovation in the organization.

In 2015, Mr. Lizotte partnered with the European founders of the CALS protocol to bring this training to the Americas. He formed a multidisciplinary Advisory Board that developed international standards for training, as well as certification and center affiliation models. Mr. Lizotte collaborated on and was an author of the landmark The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Expert Consensus for the Resuscitation of Patients Who Arrest After Cardiac Surgery, published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery March 2017. He continues to be President of the company that is the sole provider of this education in the Americas.

Dr. med. Ilona Funke

PD Dr. med. Ilona Funke is an extremely experienced specialist in surgery as well as in plastic surgery and a graduate of the Master of Business Administration in Health Care Management. With a comprehensive clinical and business career, including quality management and risk management, Dr. Funke has profiled herself as a medical leader. Her professional career has led her to positions such as Medical Director of the HIRSLANDEN Clinic St. Anna Lucerne and Head of Medical Guidelines and Development at HIRSLANDEN AG. In addition, she is the study site manager for the “Physician Assistant” program at ISBA Munich and teaches as a lecturer at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. Throughout her long career, Dr. Funke has worked in various medical fields, including visceral surgery, thoracic surgery, and plastic surgery. Both research and teaching have played a significant role in her career, especially during her time as a working group leader at the Institute of Immunology at LMU Munich and through her habilitation in the field of surgery. With over 50 scientific publications and awards for her contributions to cancer research, Dr. Funke demonstrates outstanding commitment to medical research. Additionally, she is a member of numerous medical professional societies, highlighting her comprehensive involvement and passion for the medical field..


Thursday 25 April (by invitation only)

17:00 h     Get Together @ Rooftop Bar 

18:30 h     Faculty Dinner @ Restaurant SQUARE

Friday 26 April (by invitation only)

08:30 h     Get together & Registration @ Conference Center             

09:30 h     Opening & Introduction             Marcus Hoffmann

10:00 h    Keynote lecture                          Bill Soliz

10:30 h      ARC-PA                                     Sharon Luke

11:00 h    NCCPA                                        Dawn Morton-Rios

11:30 h     JAPAE                                        Trenton Honda

12:00 h    Lunch Break @ Restaurant SQUARE 

13:00 h    APACVS                                      David Lizotte

13:30 h                                n.n.

14:00 h                                n.n.

14:30 h    Coffee Break @ Conference Center

15:00 h    Panel Discussion                         All Faculty

16:00 h     Conclusion & Outlook                Marcus Hoffmann