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Central Texas
Physician Assistant Society  


Michelle Meystedt, PA-C, MPAS

Michelle has practiced as an urgent care PA since 2018 and is currently with Austin Regional Clinic. While attending Missouri State University's PA program, she was the student representative for their regional PA society and has been a strong PA advocate since. She joined CTPAS in 2018, was elected president-elect in 2021, and president in 2022. Her vision for CTPAS is to continue monthly CME/Networking dinners and MeetUps, in addition to updating its online presence, strengthening its community relationships, participating in legislative activities, and hosting an annual PA Appreciation Fundraiser. 

President Elect

Julia Huo, PA-C

Julia (Yujia) Huo was born in China. She became a Texas resident in 2006 after moving with her parents in 2006. After getting a B.S in molecular biology from UT Austin in 2008, she worked in Houston as a Research assistant at MD Anderson, where she became exceedingly interested in the practical side of Medicine. Julia entered UTMB-Galveston PA program in 2011 and graduated in 2013. The love of central Texas and her life brought her back to Austin. She has been working in Family Medicine in Kyle, Texas since 2014. Her interest is in nutrition, preventive medicine and psychiatric disorder.

Julia currently lives in San Marcos with her husband. 


Julia Forsberg, PA-C

Julia Forsberg is a board-certified physician assistant (PA) and educator focused on patient education and empowerment. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and then completed her Master of Physician Assistant Studies at The University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas.  

She began her career as a PA in orthopedic surgery at Texas Orthopedics in Austin, Texas. She worked in both the clinical and operating room settings, specializing in total joint replacement. Due to the flexible nature of the PA profession, she then transitioned to outpatient psychiatry, at Roots Behavioral Health in Austin, Texas. In this role, she honed a different set of skills to bring quality mental health care to patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She focused on medication management but also provided progressive treatment options such as ketamine therapy.

Most recently, Julia joined the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences to 
build and teach at one of the first PA programs in Austin. She is excited to lay the groundwork for what will become an innovative, high-quality PA program in the

heart of Texas.

Julia remains an active member of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants(TAPA) and American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). Outside of work, she enjoys game nights with friends, traveling, hiking and rock climbing.


Gabriel Petty, PA-C

Gabriel Petty is a native Texas and has been in clinical practice as a physician assistant, specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine since 2009. He graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas with his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry prior to earning his Masters of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Mr. Petty is an active member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants, the Central Texas PA Society, and the Society of Physician Assistants in Orthopedic Surgery.

Gabriel enjoys working with patients of all ages and activity levels. He has a special interest in patient education. He enjoys spending time with each patient, so that they truly understand their condition, and how to prevent future injury, if possible. He is also well versed in conservative therapeutic treatment options for your orthopedic condition. Gabriel enjoys spending time with this family, hiking, skiing, and traveling outside of treating patients.

Membership Director

Rachel White, PA-C

Rachel White is a Physician Assistant at Hamilton Vascular in Round Rock, TX. She completed her Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA. Upon completion of her Bachelors degree, Rachel earned her Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Mercer University in Atlanta. After completing her training, she moved from Atlanta, GA to Austin, TX. Prior to joining Hamilton Vascular, she worked in orthopedic surgery for almost 5 years. Outside of work, she loves being outdoors, working out, hanging out with her 2 cats, and traveling as much as possible! 

Director of Continuing Medical Education

Valerie Dezarae 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 eight years and currently is practicing in Orthopedic Trauma and Total Joints at Ascension Seton North West. 

She is also the 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 Coaching.  Her current focus is on community events and engagement to bring light to the ever existent mental health crisis burnout can evolve into. 

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, enjoying Austin's live music scene, dancing and recent discovery of scuba diving. She has a chocolate lab named, Torpedo that she loves and cares for dearly. They both enjoy camping,  hikes and paddle boarding at the lake.

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.

Reach out to Valerie Cavazos PA-C to discuss how to be get involved! 

PA Advocacy Chair

Blaine French, PA-C, MPAS 

Blaine graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in December of 2009 with a MPAS and returned to his home state of Texas to work at Scott and White practicing Orthopedics.  During his tenure at S&W he was actively involved in the Advanced Practice Professionals council who met first hand with the CMO and lobbied for equal benefits for PAs to match the already generous benefits that had been awarded to CRNAs and NPs.  Additional projects included identifying different practice models and RVU production to determine what model would work best within the system.  He also worked extensively on insurance reimbursement, identifying reasons for non-payment for service, and implementing processes to prevent future non-payment. He got to witness the transition to lean health care and the subsequent merger with Baylor. In 2014, he transitioned to part-time practice and full-time insurance consulting.  In December of 2016, He became the CEO of Summit Review Services which represented a panel of physicians offering consulting for a variety of areas to include peer reviews, utilization management, and early compensability assessments.  He sold this company in 2019 and transitioned to PA education beginning in January 2020  as an Assistant Professor with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor's Physician Assistant program where he serves as the course director for Clinical Disease and Prevention.

Technology Officer

Joanna Lopez, PA-C, MPH   

Joanna Lopez, PA-C, MPH, is a bilingual associate provider for the Musculoskeletal Institute at UT Health Austin. She is a board-certified physician assistant and specializes in the evaluation and treatment of lower and upper extremity orthopedic conditions in adults. Additionally, she is a faculty associate for the Dell Medical School Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care.  

After receiving her undergraduate degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University, Lopez continued her studies and obtained her Master of Public Health. During this time, Lopez’s passion for working with communities that have been historically underserved grew, and after graduation, she supported public health research initiatives in Houston. Enjoying the research aspects involving patients, she decided to return to school and obtained her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Prior to joining UT Health Austin, she worked in neurology and learned how the mind and other health determinants affect physical function. Also interested in surgery, Lopez transitioned to an orthopaedic clinic and served as a first assist in total hip and knee replacements and arthroscopy surgery.

Combining her clinical training with her passion for working with communities that are underserved, Lopez participates in annual orthopaedic surgical mission trips to Guatemala.  As an outdoor enthusiast and active young professional in Austin, she finds great joy in helping others live their life to the fullest.

Past Presidents

Blaine French 2020-2021

Sarah Arcement 2019-2020

Blaine French 2018-2019

Sarah Arcement 2017-2018

Richard Bottner 2016-2017

Alan Boutwell 1994-1995 Founder

Kara Dinda Hammerding 2001-2003

Michelle Pruett 2004-2005

Amy Sweet 2006-2009

Dustin Fontenote 2010

Andrea Gamse 2011-2012

Sunny Kilmer 2011-2012

Agnieszka Szczepanska 2013-2016

Cassandra Hollifield 2015 - 2017

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