South University, Savannah (View Other Campuses)

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Faculty and Staff

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Program

John J. Burns, III, MMSc, PA-C
Program Director - Associate Professor

Lindsay Abernethy, MMSc, PA-C
Assistant Director of Clinical Education - Assistant Professor

Lisa Davenport, MSHS, PA-C, SA
Faculty Instructor - Assistant Professor

Tricia A. Howard, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Assistant Program Director - Associate Professor

Susan F. Miller, MSPAS, PA-C
Director of Pre-Clinical Education - Assistant Professor

Theresa A. Morris, MPAS, PA-C
Assistant Professor - Admissions Director

John Sheffield, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Evaluation Specialist - Assistant Professor

Ray Rudolph, M.D., MPH, FACS
Medical Director - Assistant Professor

M. Blair Whitaker, MPAS, PA-C
Director of Clinical Education - Assistant Professor

Staff
Kim Hahn, BS - Enrollment Manager
Marilou Jean-Louis - Clinical Coordinator
Meghan Machold, BS - Dept. Administrate Assistant

Adjunct Faculty
Joseph Crosby, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Beckie S. Hayes, MSPAS, PA-C
Stephanie Kirby-Davis, MPAS, PA-C
Krystal Goodwin,DC



John Burns Faculty

John J. Burns, III, MMSc, PA-C

Program Director - Associate Professor

John J. Burns, III joined the faculty of South University as the Physician Assistant programs’ Associate Clinical Coordinator in 2001. He has also served as its Academic Coordinator and Associate Director, and in 2009 assumed the role of Program Director.

Burns began his clinical career in Family Medicine at Fayette Medical Clinic in Fayetteville, Georgia and in 1999 returned to his hometown of Savannah to begin clinical practice in Endocrinology.

His academic and teaching interests include PA admissions, medical communication, endocrinology, ophthalmology and physical assessment. His clinical interests include endocrinology, specifically Type 1 diabetes, and thyroid disorders.

He is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Georgia Association of Physician Assistants, and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). He currently serves as Lead Faculty for the PAEA Admissions PANDO Workshop, and has previously served as a committee member for the CASPA Advisory Committee.

Burns earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia, and is a 1997 graduate of the Emory University Physician Assistant Program.





Lindsay Abernethy, MMSc, PA-C

Assistant Director of Clinical Education - Assistant Professor

Lindsay Abernethy joined the South University Physician Assistant Program faculty in 2014. She began as a guest lecturer on reproductive health topics then became an Adjunct Professor, teaching OB-GYN in South University’s Physician Assistant Program.

As a Physician Assistant, Abernethy has experience in family, emergency, urgent care, and occupational medicine. She has worked in large and small health care systems around the country, and even spent one year practicing medicine in the Caribbean.

She began her career in medicine at the age of 14, while volunteering at a local hospital in her hometown of Kansas City. She went on to gain experience as a unit secretary, health educator, patient counselor, and patient educator. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Georgia Association of Physician Assistants, and American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is licensed by the Georgia Composite Board of Medicine. She is also registered as a medical examiner on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

Abernethy earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies at Boston College and graduated with honors. She received a master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies at Emory University upon graduating in the top ten of her class in 2007.





Lisa Davenport, MSHS, PA-C, SA

Faculty Instructor - Assistant Professor

Lisa Davenport joined the South University faculty full time in the fall of 2011. She has experience in various fields including emergency medicine, hospital medicine, urgent/emergent care, and head and neck surgery. Currently, she works as a clinical trials investigator.

Davenport has been published in Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and continues to write and teach about communication and ethical issues.

Davenport earned her first bachelor’s degree in Microbiology at Northwestern State University, and a second bachelor’s with Surgeon Assistant Certification from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Later, she graduated from George Washington University with a Master of Science in Health Science.





Tricia A. Howard, MHS, PA-C, DFAAPA

Assistant Program Director - Associate Professor

Tricia A. Howard serves as Assistant Program Director - Associate Professor at South University.

A recognized grant recipient and national speaker, she has authored several journal articles. Her primary areas of interest include Nephrology and Internal Medicine.

She is a member of Pi Alpha, National Honor Society for Physician Assistants, is a Medical University of South Carolina Dean’s Award recipient, and has received the Distinguished Fellow recognition from the American Academy of Physician Assistants. She is a Fellow of the National Kidney Foundation and past chair of the National Kidney Foundation Council of Advance Practitioners. Howard is also a past National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants Nephrology National Specialty Exam Committee member.

Howard graduated from the College of Charleston with a bachelor's degree in Biology and earned a degree in Physician Assisting and a master's degree in Health Science from the Medical University of South Carolina.





Susan F. Miller, MSPAS, PA-C

Director of Pre-Clinical Education - Assistant Professor

Susan F. Miller joined the faculty of South University full time in 2013, and is now the Acting Director of Pre-Clinical Education.

Miller worked in Emergency Medicine in Beaufort, South Carolina before joining Low Country Cancer Care in 2008, where she continues to practice as a Hematology/Oncology Physician Assistant. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Georgia Association of Physician Assistants, Physician Assistant Education Association and the Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology. She also serves on the Physician Assistant Education Association Internal Medicine Test Writing Committee.

Miller graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Molecular Biology/Chemistry. She worked in DNA research for four years doing clinical research while completing a Master’s Degree in Forensic Science at National University, San Diego. Miller is a 2006 graduate of South University, Columbia ’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant program.





Theresa A. Morris, MPAS, PA-C

Assistant Professor - Admissions Director

Theresa A. Morris is an Assistant Professor-Admissions Director in the South University Physician Assistant program. Previously, she was an adjunct faculty member in the South University Physician Assistant Program, serving as an Online Clinical Education Specialist.

Prior to her return to South University, Morris served on the inaugural faculty of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Physician Assistant Program as an assistant professor. Her duties included lecturing and collateral duties in admissions before becoming the Director of Clinical Education.

Her practice background includes emergency medicine, family medicine and urgent care. She has a special clinical interest in rheumatology, specifically myositis, and infectious disease.

Morris currently serves as a member of the Finance Council for the Physician Assistant Education Association. She has also been involved in medical mission work in Guatemala, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps’ active duty and active reserves.

She’s a member of Pi Alpha, National Honor Society for Physician Assistants, American Academy of Physician Assistants, Society of Emergency Medical Physician Assistants, Georgia Association of Physician Assistants and the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants.

Morris graduated with a Bachelor of Physician Assistant Studies from South University and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.





John Sheffield, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA

Evaluation Specialist - Assistant Professor

John Sheffield joined South University in 2003. While part of the South University Physician Assistant Program he has served as Clinical Coordinator and now as the Evaluation Specialist. His teaching interests include ear, nose and throat pathology, infectious diseases and behavioral medicine.

Sheffield served in the U.S. Army for 21 years before retiring at Fort Stewart in 1994. During his Army career he worked in emergency and family medicine. After his retirement from the Army, he worked as part of a busy otolaryngology practice in Savannah for eight years before joining South University.

He is a member of Pi Alpha National Honor Society for Physician Assistants. Sheffield is also a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, a member of the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants, and the Physician Assistant Education Association, where he serves as Chair of the Internal Medicine/Primary Care End of Rotation Exam review committee. He also is a member of the Assessments Institute.

Sheffield received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma after completing the United States Army Physician Assistant Program in 1990. He earned a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska.





Ray Rudolph, M.D., MPH, FACS

Medical Director - Assistant Professor

Dr. Ray Rudolph joined the faculty of South University in 2005 as a Clinical Assistant Professor of surgery before becoming Medical Director of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant program.

In 2001, he and Dr. Paula DeNitto established the Center for Breast Care, the first practice in the region dedicated exclusively to the care of women with breast problems. He has done volunteer medical work in Ecuador in the area of tuberculosis and has shared breast surgical techniques in China. Dr. Rudolph is an assistant professor of surgery at both the Georgia Regents University (Medical College of Georgia) and Mercer University School of Medicine. Although Dr. Rudolph retired from the active practice of surgery in late 2014, he remains a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Breast Surgery.

He was nominated for the Association of Medical Colleges Humanism in Medicine Award in 2008. In 2009, he received the Baylor College of Medicine Physician Assistant Program Alumni Achievement Award and also earned the Cancer Liaison Physician Outstanding Performance Award from the American College of Surgeons, Commission on Cancer. Dr. Rudolph was named Surgical Oncologist of the Year in 2010 by the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer/ Savannah Coalition.

At the beginning of his career, Dr. Rudolph served in the U.S. Army and completed his studies as a licensed practical nurse at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. He worked as a chief line medic in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969 where he received the Bronze Star for valor. After eight years as an LPN, he entered the Physician Assistant Program at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston and graduated in 1976. His first assignment as a Physician Assistant took him to South Dakota to serve the Sioux Nation at Lower Brule for four years. Dr. Rudolph then had the opportunity to attend the University of South Dakota, where he earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees. He completed his surgical residency training at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia where he joined the faculty upon graduation in 1991. Dr. Rudolph received his master’s degree in public health from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah in 2004.





M. Blair Whitaker, MPAS, PA-C

Director of Clinical Education - Assistant Professor

M. Blair Whitaker joined the faculty of South University in 2016.

Whitaker began guest lecturing and serving as an interviewer for the University of Kentucky’s Physician Assistant Program in 2010, before accepting a faculty position with Sullivan University’s new Physician Assistant program the next year. She also taught in an adjunct faculty role with Sullivan University’s College of Pharmacy in 2012 and then moved into an assistant faculty position with the College of Pharmacy’s Clinical and Administrative Sciences department. Later, Whitaker served as the Academic Coordinator for the Physician Assistant Program. Her role was renamed Director of Didactic Education in 2015.

Whitaker has also worked as a Physician Assistant in primary care, pain management, and rheumatology. She is a fellow for the American Academy of Physician Assistants and Georgia Academy of Physician Assistants. She is a nationally certified Physician Assistant, and has state licenses to practice in Kentucky and Indiana. Whitaker has been a nationally certified medical examiner since 2014.

She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Psychology from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Whitaker was a part of the Honors Program, Kappa Delta Sorority, and Omicron Delta Kappa. In 2008, she graduated from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.


http://www.southuniversity.edu/savannah/areas-of-study/physician-assistant/physician-assistant-master-of-science-ms/faculty