GAPA Welcomes Brad Cohen to Summer Conference
06/29/2012

Award Winning Teacher and Acclaimed Author to Address Physician Assistants

Online PR News – 29-June-2012 – June 28, 2012 / Georgia – Living with Tourette Syndrome can be a challenge, but Brad Cohen believes he has overcome his disability by living life to its fullest. The Georgia Association of Physician Assistants (GAPA) is pleased to welcome the award winning educator and author of Front of the Class as the keynote speaker at the organization’s Summer Conference on Tuesday, July 10 in Sandestin, FL.

“I plan to share my life story of the ups and downs of living with a neurological disorder called Tourette syndrome,” Cohen explained. “I make loud barking noises and funny faces known as tics. To the outside world I'm weird. But on the inside, I just want to be treated like everyone else, with respect.”

Cohen has been a highly respected teacher for 14 years and is currently an Assistant Administrator in Cobb County, just outside of Atlanta, GA. He has taught reading, writing and math, but he also teaches his students how to accept people for who they are, no matter what their disability may be. One of Cohen’s biggest honors was receiving the Sallie Mae First Year Teacher of the Year Award for the State of Georgia.

“I had no friends, was beaten by my family and wasn't sure who to turn to,” Cohen revealed about life growing up with Tourette Syndrome. “But then I learned about the power of education. I knew I wanted to be that teacher I never had. But in order to follow my dream, I had to convince others to believe in me too. After 24 interviews, I still had principals refusing to hire me because they said I couldn't teach kids because I had Tourette’s. But on my 25th interview, I was hired as a 2nd grade teacher.”

His first book, Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had, was widely acclaimed and is still in hardback and paperback in bookstores across America. It was named the Education Book of the Year and was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for CBS television in 2008. Since the first airing of the show, it has been seen across the world. It is now featured regularly on the Hallmark Channel. Cohen has appeared on Oprah and CNN and has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times and in many other publications.

“Today I remind my students to believe in themselves and to go out and follow their dreams much like I was able to follow mine to be a teacher,” he continued. “But I also teach them that your disability or weakness in life doesn't define you as a person. I'm not a medical condition. I have strengths. And when I can find the right people who believe in me and are willing to listen, I have a chance to shine.”

Cohen is also the founder of the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation, Inc. (BCTF), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that aims to help children who have Tourette Syndrome learn how to exist in the real world with others who don’t understand. Cohen’s session at the GAPA Conference will be held on Tuesday, July 10 at 10 AM in the Baytowne Conference Center at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, 9300 Emerald Coast Parkway West, Miramar Beach, FL. A book signing will follow the session. For more information about Cohen and BCTF, please visit: bradcohentourettefoundation.com or classperformance.com.

GAPA will also host a number of other events during the five-day continuing medical education conference in Sandestin. Those open to the public include the annual GAPA/American Red Cross Blood Drive, sign-ups for the National Bone Marrow Registry and a swim safety school. The Association will also bestow its annual GAPA Awards, recognizing the leaders and rising stars of the Association, and host the annual Student Medical Challenge Bowl, a competition for GAPA student members enrolled in Physician Assistant (PA) programs. For more information about GAPA’s 2012 Summer CME Conference, please visit gapa.net.

The mission of the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants is to promote high quality, cost-effective, accessible healthcare as part of a physician-directed PA/physician team in Georgia. To learn more about how PAs make healthcare more affordable and accessible in Georgia, please visit GAPA.net and click on “Patients.” GAPA also offers “Find a PA,” a free searchable database for healthcare consumers with listings of Physician Assistant providers throughout the State. Learn more about GAPA’s 2012 health initiative, “Get Fit with GAPA” and the “Rx for Fitness” program at gapa.net/fit.