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Meet Our Physician Assistants & Nurses

Our Physician Assistants

Cody Thompson, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant

In December 2005 Cody started at COSSA after graduating from Towson University Physician Assistant program in Baltimore, Maryland. He was President of his 2005 graduating class and helped organize efforts in raising more than $10,000 for charities such as Toys For Tots, Bea Gaddy's Foundation for the Homeless and Adopt a Family. Cody was raised in St. Petersburg and graduated with his Bachelor's degree from University of South Florida.


Cara Cimilluca, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant

Cara is a Certified Physician Assistant with a special interest in sports medicine. She is originally from the Midwest and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Athletic Training. She received her Master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2004, where she was class secretary and co-created and co-edited the programs very first newsletter. She previously worked in spine surgery for three years in Dallas, TX, before joining us in August 2007.


Jacquelyn Carney, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant

Jacquelyn graduated from the Physician Assistant Program at Nova Southeastern University’s Fort Lauderdale chapter in 2011. She spent her first three years working in Johns Hopkins All Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit before joining us in January 2015. She was raised in Houston, Texas and got a Bachelor of Science from the University of Notre Dame.


Lara Hunter, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant

Lara graduated from the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Florida in 2010. She spent her first three years working the University of Florida Orthopaedic Institute, until moving down to Tampa Bay. Lara then worked at the Florida Orthopaedic Institute for a year prior to joining COSSA in 2015. She was raised in Boulder, Colorado and got a Bachelor of Science from the Colorado State University.


Shadin David, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant

Shadin graduated from the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Bridgeport in 2015. She was President of her Physician Assistant class as well as her Exercise Science class at the University of South Florida, where she received a Bachelor of Science. She has been a Tampa resident since 2003 and joined our team in July 2015.


Rachele Mehl, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant

Rachele received her Master's degree from the University of Florida School of Physician Assistant Studies in 2015, and joined our team shortly after. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Florida. Rachele is a Florida native and was raised in Sarasota. She has a passion for working with children and has a special interest in sports medicine.


Our Nurses

Terri Amick, RN, BSN

Registered Nurse

Terri is our St. Petersburg office triage nurse. She joined our practice in January of 2004 after working for a gastroenterologist for 15 years. Prior to that, she worked as an Intensive Care nurse and Open Heart Surgery at Bayfront Medical Center and Palms of Pasadena Hospital. She enjoys working in the Pediatric orthopaedic setting.


Valerie Costello, RN

Registered Nurse

Valerie is our Tampa office triage nurse. She joined our practice in May 2014 after working in Family Practice, Pediatrics and Urology. Valerie moved to Florida from Syracuse, NY in 2013. She graduated from St. Josephs College of Nursing in Syracuse NY 2006 with an Associates Degree. Valerie handles all new patient calls and referring physicians’ calls in our Tampa Office.


Continue reading about Children's Orthopaedic and Scoliosis Surgery Associates' board-certified orthopaedic surgeons »

What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?

Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. Within the physician – PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. How much Education does a PA have?

  • Primary School:12 years
  • College: 4 years
  • PA Program (Masters Degree):
    2.5 years
  • Total: 18.5 years
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