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Board Members

PRESIDENT: Elizabeth Blankenship PA-C, FHM

Elizabeth is a physician assistant in the healthcare industry for over 20 years and is passionate about advocacy of the PA profession . She currently works at Dell Medical School in the Division of Hospital Medicine where she holds several leadership positions including Lead APP in the Division of Hospital Medicine, Co-director of Surgical Co-management and the Director of Clinical Informatics. She is devoted to PA education and serves as a preceptor and mentor for advanced practice provider students, incorporating interprofessional collaborative practice teaching into their curriculum. 

Her vision for CTPAS is to expand the network in Central Texas, increase advocacy and awareness, expand collaboration and partnership with area physicians and sponsors and to enhance the member experience for PAsBefore becoming a physician assistant, she worked as an X-ray and CT scan technologist. She enjoys adventures with her husband, her two sons and their cat.


Gabriel Petty is a dedicated and experienced Physician Assistant specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine. With over a decade of clinical experience, Gabriel has been committed to serving his community and advancing the role of Physician Assistants in healthcare. A proud Texan, he has demonstrated a strong dedication to patient care, ensuring the highest standards in medical practice. Gabriel's career in orthopedic surgery has been marked by his passion for helping patients achieve optimal health and mobility. His extensive knowledge and skill in treating musculoskeletal conditions have made him a trusted provider in his field. Beyond his clinical acumen, Gabriel has been an active advocate for the Physician Assistant profession, striving to enhance the recognition and utilization of PAs in the healthcare system. 

As the President-Elect of CTPAS, Gabriel aims to leverage his expertise and leadership to foster collaboration, innovation, and progress within the organization. He is eager to lead CTPAS towards a brighter future, ensuring that the organizationcontinues to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those it serves. Gabriel's vision for CTPAS includes promotingprofessional development, advocating for policy changes, and enhancing the overall effectiveness of Physician Assistants in providing high-quality care. Gabriel's dedication to his profession and his community is evident in every aspect of his work. He is committed to continuing his advocacy for PAs and looks forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as he leads CTPAS towards new heights of success.

Director of Administration: Alana Hutches, PA-C

Alana Hutchens PA-C, a highly experienced and dedicated Physician Assistant, has been making significant contributions to the medical field for almost a decade. She received her Bachelors of Science from the University of North Texas and her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from Texas Tech University. Alana finds mental health and fitness important and has recently joined the Board for The Burnout Project as the Director of Finance. 

She has spent the past 8 years honing her skills and providing exceptional care to her patients in the field of Orthopedic Surgery. Her expertise in surgery has made her a valuable asset in the operative setting. Alana's commitment to patient care and her ability to work collaboratively with a diverse team of healthcare professionals have earned her a stellar reputation among colleagues and patients alike.  

As a native Austinite, she is proud to have returned to Austin as of 2020. She spent 3 years practicing Orthopedic Trauma in Virginia finessing her skillset. Since returning, she has expanded her expertise to include Total Joint Arthroplasties and now has combined these two specialties in her current inpatient orthopedic role.  

Alana finds her greatest passion in traveling and experiencing various cultures.  She has visited 21 countries and counting.  Since her trip to Antarctica in 2023, she has officially traveled to all 7 continents of the world.  Of the 7 Wonders of the World, she has 4 left to explore.  When states-side, she enjoys staying active by participating in adult sports leagues, spending time with friends and family.

Director of Finance: Mary Evelyn Schuwerk, PA-C

Mary Evelyn Schuwerk is a Texas board-certified Physician Assistant (PA) with more than four years of combined clinical experience in Pain
Management and Gastroenterology.Before pursuing her PA education at Pacific University in Portland, Oregon, Mary earned a master's degree in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston. During her academic journey, she served as an advisory member to the Governor of Texas on the Texas Bleeding Disorders Advisory Council, aimed at shaping policy recommendations to elevate access and quality of care
for individuals living with bleeding disorders across the state. After obtaining her MPH, she moved to Spain for a year to learn Spanish.

Mary obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. During her college years, she competed and ranked nationally in women's collegiate powerlifting. Born and raised in Houston, Texas. She is the proud mother to an adventurous toddler, and dog mom to a Shih Tzu-Maltese named Bo. In her rare spare time she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, paddle boarding, traveling, trying new restaurants and exploring new places with her family.

Director of Membership: Nina Jolley, PA-C

Nina Jolley, PA-C, currently works in women’s health, where she is excited to empower and support her patients through their sexual and reproductive health journeys. With prior experience in psychiatry, she continues to promote prioritizing and optimizing mental health care. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and her Master of Clinical Medical Science and Physician Assistant Certification at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. Through CTPAS, Nina hopes to encourage other PAs to become active participants to promote positive changes in the PA field within Central Texas. 

Nina's special interests include mental health, sexual and reproductive health and preventive medicine. Nina is passionate about serving marginalized populations and advocating for equitable healthcare access. Nina is an active member of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) and Association of Physician Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology (APAOG). Outside of work, she likes to go hiking with her husband and dogs, Baxter and Gracie, traveling, baking, and eating her way around Austin.

Director of Public Relations: Valerie Cavazos, PA-C

Valerie Cavazos PA-C, MPAS, is a bilingual Physician Assistant that has specialized in Orthopedics after graduating from The University of Texas Health Science Center in 2016. She has worked in Orthopedic Trauma, Spine, Sports and Total Joints over the last nine years and most recently accepted a position as Medical Director for an Occupational Medical Practice.  In 2020, she became founder of The Burnout Project for which she has a lot of passion and initiative to help prevent and resolve burnout in healthcare, education and the tech industry.  She currently works with individuals and small business as a consultant in Burnout Prevention and Career Coaching.  In addition, she coaches pre-PA and pre med students with their application, interview and post graduation hiring processes. You can follow The Burnout Project ATX on Instagram and attend community events and experiences that promote mental health advocacy and burnout prevention!  She was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and has great pride and appreciation for her Mexican culture and heritage. 

Her passion outside of work includes spending time her family and friends, traveling, hiking, camping and scuba diving. She has a chocolate lab named, Torpedo that she loves and cares for dearly. Valerie coordinates educational dinners for CTPAS and is the marketing agent for our society. She directly works with sponsors and donors to focus on educational outreach and society expansion.  She was able to maintain CTPAS community engagement and sponsorships through the 2020 COVID Pandemic via virtual dinners and zoom presentations.  It has been a great achievement to see our CTPAS community grow and be engaged throughout the years of hardship we have faced in healthcare and are always grateful for CTPAS donors, partners and sponsors. In addition to that, Valerie is also the PA Advocate for our members! 

Director of Education: Sarah Acrement, PA-C

Sarah Arcement is a dedicated and experienced cardiology Physician Assistant based in Austin, Texas, specializing in preventive cardiology, lipidology, and lifestyle medicine. Sarah completed her undergraduate education at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Sociology.  She then attended the University of North Texas Health Science Center, where she earned a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies.  Sarah began her career in surgical oncology at the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2012 before moving to Austin with her husband and young daughters in 2013. 

For the past 8 years, Sarah has been a vital part of the team at Austin Heart, focusing on general and preventive cardiology, lipidology, and lifestyle medicine.  Following a passion for disease prevention,  Sarah became a certified lifestyle medicine provider in 2023.  She integrates evidence-based lifestyle interventions into her cardiology practice to promote optimal health outcomes for her patients. 

Sarah has been active in the professional community, serving on the CTPAS board in some capacity for the past 10 years, including President, CME coordinator, PA Advocacy chair, Director and Large, and now Director of Education.  She is an active member of the National Lipid Association as a board member for the Southeast chapter and Co-Chair of the APP committee.  She is also an active member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.  

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two daughters.  She loves reading, running, lifting weights, and savoring delicious food, preferably all shared with dear friends.  

Director of Technology: Sarah Talbot, PA-C