Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College

School of Health Sciences Faculty 

Welcome to the Stephens College School of Health Sciences. Stephens has a long history of innovation in the health sciences, continuing today with the 2016 launch of a Master in Physician Assistant Studies, whose inaugural cohort garnered a 100% PANCE board pass rate.

The School of Health Sciences is home to an expanding offering of undergraduate programs, including clinical, pre-professional and management programs, as well as two graduate degree programs focused on making a difference in our communities. 

Our mission is to prepare outstanding professionals to serve as leaders; exhibit critical and creative thinking skills; adhere to high ethical standards; and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, dispositions and cultural sensitivity required to contribute to the needs of an evolving and diverse society. 

We fulfill this mission in a number of ways. We educate our undergraduate students through intensive, focused study that includes hands-on research and experiential opportunities under the advisement of faculty. Our master’s programs in educational counseling and physician assistant studies emphasize behavioral health, strengthened by our community partnership with Burrell Behavioral Health. And, as we grow our faculty, we look to develop a true interprofessional, collaborative spirit among our programs.

I invite you to explore all that Stephens College and the School of Health Sciences has to offer. Thank you for visiting!

Julia A. Moffitt, PhD
Dean, School of Health Sciences

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Dr. Julia Moffit’s experience encompasses department leadership and management, extensive committee service, scientific research and publication, and teaching experience in programs including the biomedical sciences, kinesiology, physiology and pharmacology.

Moffitt earned her B.S. in exercise science from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, an M.A. in cardiac rehabilitation from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Ph.D. in the physiology program in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her education also includes a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Iowa, where she focused her work on physiology, pharmacology and behavior. 

She has been recognized with numerous awards for teaching excellence as well as for her research and professional service. She served most recently as a professor and chair of the department of physiology, pharmacology and pathology at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. Other professional appointments include professor and chair at St. Ambrose University, preceded by five years as faculty at Des Moines University.

She has been an invited lecturer at nearly 30 national and regional events and conferences; has authored nearly 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and published abstracts; is a named inventor on more than 20 U.S. and European patents related to cardiac pacing and neural stimulation therapies and has received significant funding for her research work.

 

Undergraduate Programs

Biology

Dr. Debeshi Majumdar, Assistant Professor
Dr. Debeshi Majumdar is an assistant professor of chemistry in the School of Health Sciences. She obtained her B.S. with honors in chemistry from St. Xavier's College, University of Calcutta, India. She received her M.S. in biochemistry from the University of Kalyani, India. Majumdar received her Ph.D. in cellular and molecular physiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2009, after which she completed her postdoctoral fellowship in cancer biology at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis. As a graduate student, Majumdar received the American Heart Association pre-doctoral fellowship. As a postdoctoral fellow, she received the Susan G. Komen for the Cure postdoctoral fellowship.

Majumdar first joined Stephens College as an adjunct faculty, but her passion for teaching and love for students motivated her to join the institution as a full-time faculty member. At Stephens, she received the Missouri Campus Compact Mini-Grant and in 2019, she received the Distinguished Teaching Award for her dedication to students. Majumdar runs a chemistry club at Stephens College that she started with the biology majors. She developed Environmental Chemistry, a course that biology majors take to get a minor in chemistry. The courses she teaches at Stephens College include General Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, Environmental Chemistry and Chemistry in Everyday Life. Her research interests include localization and function of acid-base transporters in the brain.

Dr. Jeff Phillips, Associate Professor
Dr. Jeff Phillips obtained his B.S. in biology from the University of Central Florida, and his master’s and Ph.D. in biology from North Carolina State University. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Missouri on DNA fingerprinting in largemouth bass. The courses that has recently or is currently teaching include Principles of Biology I & II, Concepts in Biology, Vertebrate Zoology, Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science, and Senior Project.

Dr. Carrie Whittle, Assistant Professor
Dr. Carrie Whittle obtained her B.S. in mathematics and physics from Northeast Missouri State University, her M.S. in mathematics from Missouri State University, and her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Arkansas. Courses taught include College Algebra, Calculus 1 and 2, College Physics 1 and 2, Thinking Quantitatively, Form & Beauty in Math, How Things Work, and Introduction to Information Systems. Her research interests are in the field of combinatorial group theory, specifically the word and conjugacy problems for automorphism groups of right-angled Artin groups and the time complexity of algorithms solving these problems.

Equestrian Studies

Sarah Denninghoff, Western Instructor; Director of Community Riding
Sarah Denninghoff graduated from Stephens College with her B.S. in Equine Business Management. Denninghoff has been riding and competing since 1990. In her youth, she competed at various levels within the United States Pony Club and Missouri Horse Shows Association in Combined Training and Hunter/Jumpers. Following her graduation from Stephens College, she began competing professionally, showing quarter horses within AQHA and NSBA. She has earned finalist and top-ten placings at the AQHA World Show, NSBA World Show and All-American Quarter Horse Congress, as well as an IBHA Reserve World Championship. Denninghoff is an AQHA Professional Horseman.

Kelly Hulse, Assistant Professor
Kelly Hulse is an assistant professor of equestrian studies and a world champion exhibitor and trainer. Prior to her position at Stephens, she and her husband owned and operated Mark Hulse Stables for more than 20 years. Under the Mark Hulse Stables banner, 45 world and reserve world championships were won. During this time, Hulse earned experience in teaching, training, breeding and equestrian business management. She is a USEF R judge and serves on the Missouri Horse Shows Association board. Additionally, she is co-chair of the United Professional Horseman's Association, Chapter 5. Hulse has a B.S. in equestrian science from William Woods University.  ​

Sara Linde Patel, Instructor; Program Coordinator of Equestrian Studies
Sara Linde Patel graduated from Stephens College with her B.S. in Equine Business Management. Currently she is finishing her MBA with an emphasis in equine studies from Midway University. Patel has been riding and competing since 1986. In her youth, she successfully competed on various levels of the Greater Arkansas Hunter Jumper Association. Having worked in various aspects of the industry, her knowledge ranges from training and teaching hunter jumpers to breeding and stable management. A former veterinarian technician for small and large animal practice, Patel was active on the North Texas Hunter Jumper Circuit, where she was an assistant trainer at an “A” show facility in North Dallas.

Areas of Expertise: Hunter/Jumper training and instruction, Equine Management and First Aid, Stable Management, Equine Nutrition, Equine Anatomy, History and Theory of Horsemanship, Course Design, Methods of Teaching I-IV, Summer Riding Program Director.

Patel has been a faculty member since 2006 and is the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award and a recipient of the 2015 Stephens College Customer Service Award. She has coached and trained horses and students to local, regional, and national levels. USEF/USHJA Member

Health Information Administration

Dr. LaShonda Carter, Adjunct Professor
Dr. LaShonda Carter has taught in the HIA program as a part-time adjunct instructor since 2008 and has served on the Advisory Board to the Stephens College HIA program since 2012. She practices her expertise in health information management, data analytics and reporting in a large academic medical center. Her specialized interests include value-based reimbursement models and healthcare fraud analytics.

Carter maintains the following certifications: Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA), Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA), and Certified Coding Specialist-Physician Based (CCS-P), all sponsored by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). She also maintains the Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP) credential sponsored by the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Carter holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and political science from Lincoln University, a B.S. degree in Health Information Administration from Stephens College, and a Master of Public Administration and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Margaret Ledda, Health Information Administration Director
Margaret Ledda, MBA, RHIA, has been the director of the HIA program at Stephens since 2009. Previously, she was an adjunct instructor for the HIA program. Ledda has a B.S. in healthcare management from St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, New York, an M.B.A. from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York, and a B.S. in Health Information Administration from Stephens College. Her background is in healthcare administration/management in both clinical and ambulatory settings. Ledda has been a volunteer firefighter/EMS member for the last 26 years and also is a member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation Team, an international network of Critical Incident Stress Management teams, service providers, administrators, researchers and educators who function in the field of activity associated with critical incident stress and post-traumatic stress syndromes.

Ann Schlosser, Adjunct Instructor
Ann Schlosser has taught as an adjunct instructor in the HIA program since 2008. She earned her B.S. in biology at the University of Kentucky, her M.S. in zoology at Miami University, and has completed postgraduate work in science education at the University of Missouri. She initially taught in both traditional and online classrooms and now focuses her teaching exclusively online. Currently she teaches Introductory Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Pathophysiology & Pharmacology, and Medical Terminology. Schlosser believes one goal of science education is to create a scientifically literate society. To do this, she focuses on teaching science content as well as what science is and how science works, the nature of science. Her aim is to teach students to relate their life experiences and “school science” to what they consider “real science.” This, she believes, will create a context for the students that will transcend the classroom and create superior consumers of science. 

Health Science

Dr. Mary Amanda Haskins, Assistant Professor
Dr. Mary Amanda Haskins received her B.S. in paralegal studies and M.S. of health education from Mississippi University for Women, the first state-supported college for women in America. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi in health and kinesiology with a concentration in health behavior and promotion with an area of support in nutrition. Courses taught include Women's Health, Health Psychology, Nutrition, Health Behavior and Health Program Planning and Evaluation; she also oversees all internships and a professional development course for majors. Her research interests include osteoporosis knowledge, awareness and prevention as well as other preventative health perceptions and behaviors and health disparities.

Human Development

Dr. Sean Travis Clouse, Associate Professor and Interim Director of Counseling
Dr. Sean Clouse earned his B.S. in psychology, an M.A. in human development and family studies, an M.A. in counseling psychology and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, all from the University of Missouri-Columbia. A member of the Stephens faculty since 2006, he teaches courses in the education, psychology and counseling programs. His courses focus on life span development, multicultural aspects of learning, social justice issues and counseling. He also serves as the certification officer for the early childhood and elementary education and school counseling programs. Clouse is a licensed psychologist in the State of Missouri and focuses his clinical work on adolescents and young adults.

Psychology

Dr. Eric Marx, Associate Professor
Dr. Eric Marx completed a B.A. in philosophy at Ouachita Baptist University and an M.T.S. in religion and culture at Harvard Divinity School before obtaining his Ph.D. in psychology from Georgetown University. His principal academic and research interests are in the study of moral and social development, including the roots of prejudice and discrimination, and in the psychology of the arts and artistic creativity. Among the courses Marx teaches are Social Psychology, Biological Psychology, Music and Psychology, and Global Ethics. 

Dr. Crina Silasi-Mansat, Assistant Professor
Dr. Crina Silasi-Mansat obtained her B.A. in law from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, her M.A. in experimental psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma, and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Texas A&M University. She has taught courses such as Cognitive Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods, Judgment and Decision Making, Abnormal and Biological Psychology. Her research interests focus on the cognitive processes underlying human judgment, decision-making and learning, and their interplay with factors such as personality, working memory capacity and intelligence.

 

Graduate Programs

Counseling

Dr. Sara Carpenter, Assistant Professor
Dr. Sara Carpenter teaches core school counseling courses in the graduate counseling program. As a certified K-12 school counselor, Carpenter has practiced as an urban elementary school counselor and a rural high school counselor where she was heavily involved in the creation and implementation of a transition program for underserved incoming freshmen students. Most recently, she directed an inclusive summer camp for children with developmental disabilities and oversaw non-profit programming for individuals with disabilities. She obtained her Ph.D. in counselor education at University of Missouri-St. Louis, focusing primarily on school counseling and counseling children and adolescents. ​

Dr. Sean Travis Clouse, Associate Professor and Interim Director of Counseling
Dr. Sean Clouse earned his B.S. in psychology, an M.A. in human development and family studies, an M.A. in counseling psychology and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, all from the University of Missouri-Columbia. A member of the Stephens faculty since 2006, he teaches courses in the education, psychology and counseling programs. His courses focus on life span development, multicultural aspects of learning, social justice issues and counseling. He also serves as the certification officer for the early childhood and elementary education and school counseling programs. Clouse is a licensed psychologist in the State of Missouri and focuses his clinical work on adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Debolina Ghosh, Assistant Professor
Dr. Debolina Ghosh obtained her B.A. in psychology from Rama Devi College, India; Masters in Clinical Psychology from Calcutta University, India; Masters in Clinical Social Work from University of South Florida; and Ph.D. in counseling and counselor education from University of Florida. Courses taught include: Stress and Anxiety Management, Human Growth and Development, Substance Abuse Counseling, Intro to Counseling, Advance Marriage and Family Therapy, Group Supervision, Race and Culture, Psychopathology, Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Sociology. Her research interests include multicultural counseling and supervision, and creative interventions in cross-cultural supervision.  

Health Information Management

Dr. Susan L. Foster, Health Information Management Director
Dr. Susan Foster obtained her B.S. in Health Information Administration from Stephens College; her Master of Business Administration with clinical information systems emphasis from Stephens College; and her doctorate in higher education administration, instructional leadership from Lindenwood University. Foster has worked for more than 25 years in health information management and higher education. She also is certified in healthcare privacy and security and has experience as a privacy officer. 

Foster has taught Medical Terminology, Introduction to Health Information Management, Healthcare Delivery Systems, Healthcare Statistics, Quality Management in Healthcare, Basic ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding, Inpatient Coding, Basic CPT Coding, Clinical Classification Systems and Terminology, Healthcare Reimbursement, Healthcare Finance and Revenue Cycle, Computers in Healthcare, Human Resources, and Risk Management.

Foster's research includes online education and adult learning styles, and she currently is participating in research on knowledge transfer in an interdisciplinary study abroad course. Foster currently is serving on the AHIMA CEE Curriculum Workgroup and recently was elected director of education for the Missouri Health Information Management Association.

Nursing

Dr. Noreen M. Houck, Associate Professor and Founding Director of Nursing
Dr. Noreen Houck is a National League of Nursing certified nurse educator with a background in academic leadership, accreditation and curriculum development. She obtained her Ph.D. from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; her M.S. as a perinatal clinical nurse specialist from Syracuse University; and her B.S. in nursing from Villanova University. Her research interests include patient safety and the nurse’s work environment, including workplace violence and workplace flourishing. Prior to joining the Stephens College faculty, Houck was associate professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh.  

Physician Assistant Studies

Dr. Megan Blakemore, PA-C, Assistant Professor and Program Director
Dr. Megan Blakemore earned her B.S. in biology from the University of New Mexico, her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Missouri State University, and her Doctorate of Health Administration from the University of Phoenix. Blakemore has worked as a physician assistant with cardiothoracic surgery and neurosurgery at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital since 2007. Courses taught include: Anatomy, Clinical Medicine, Clinical Skills, Case-Based Medicine and Professional Practice. Dr. Blakemore holds membership in several professional organizations to include: MOAPA, AAPA, AAPA Veterans Caucus and VPAA. Her research interests are advancing physician assistants in leadership and management opportunities as well as physician assistants in the uniformed services and veterans.

Emily Huckla, Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education
Emily Huckla completed her B.A. in biology at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in 2009 and her Master of Physician Assistant Studies at Missouri State University in Springfield in 2012. After graduation, Huckla began working as a PA at Missouri Heart Center, where she specialized in general, intervention and structural cardiology and was a provider for the center’s heart failure clinic. In 2017, she began working at the Harry S. Truman VA Hospital as a physician assistant in cardiothoracic surgery. Her research interests include new and upcoming non-invasive and minimally invasive cardiovascular therapies to improve long-term heart failure outcomes.

Dr. Allison Kleiber, Adjunct Faculty
Dr. Allison Kleiber teaches Medical Physiology in the Stephens College Physician Assistant Program. Kleiber earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry (medicinal emphasis) from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Her graduate training in physiology focused on neural control of cardiovascular function, specifically changes in glutamatergic signaling mechanisms that occur in cardiovascular control regions of the hypothalamus as a result of heart failure, and how those changes might be reversed by exercise training.

Following graduate school, Kleiber completed two postdoctoral fellowship programs. At the University of Nebraska Medical Center her postdoctoral research focused on mechanisms of cerebrovascular control, specifically the impairment of responses to cerebral blood vessels during disease states, while her second round of postdoctoral research, at the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Missouri, examined oxidant signaling mechanisms of the medulla oblongata in control of responses to acute intermittent hypoxia.

Before joining Stephens, Kleiber taught physiology and writing-emphasis pathophysiology at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and anatomy, physiology and biology at Moberly Area Community College.  

Dr. S. Hasan Naqvi, Medical Director
Dr. S. Hasan Naqvi is a board-certified internal medicine physician and works as a hospitalist and division director of hospital medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He earned his medical degree from Allama Iqbal Medical College, Punjab University in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Naqvi completed his internal medicine residency training at New York University in Brooklyn, where he also served as chief medical resident. He has served as medical director for hospital medicine at Columbus Regional Healthcare, Columbus, Georgia; clerkship director for internal medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, Columbus Campus, Georgia; and clinical assistant professor, Mercer University School of Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Mercer University physician assistant program.

Naqvi is dedicated to medical education and works as an associate professor of clinical medicine at the School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia; associate chief medical officer of University of Missouri Health Care; and program director for hospital medicine fellowship. He is actively involved in clinical research and his interests are translational research, patient safety, clinical quality improvement and new drug trials. He is also Fellow of American College of Physicians (FACP) and a Senior Fellow of Hospital Medicine (SFHM). Courses taught include Clinical Medicine and Hospital Medicine.

Lezlie Norris, Assistant Professor and Director of Didactic Education
Lezlie Norris has been a licensed physician assistant in Missouri since 2002, practicing in various specialties within orthopedics. Norris earned a B.S. in radiological sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a graduate of A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences with a Master of Science in physician assistant studies. Prior to pursuing her career as a physician assistant, Norris was a registered radiological technologist at University Hospital and Clinics in Columbia. 

Angela Rehagen, Assistant Clinical Coordinator
Angela Rehagen obtained her B.S. in marketing and social work from Lincoln University.

Dr. Merrill Sapp, Assistant Professor, Co-Director of Clinical Medicine and Director of Research
Dr. Merrill Sapp is a physician assistant whose clinical experience includes neurosurgery, otolaryngology and family medicine. Prior to PA school she pursued a career in cognitive psychology. She graduated from Drury College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and completed a Ph.D. at New Mexico State University. While representing NMSU she became a collegiate road cycling National Champion. She continued her medical studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she received a Master of Health Science in physician assistant studies in 2011. Courses taught include Clinical Medicine and Case-Based Medicine. Research interests include PA education.

Dr. Rakesh Singh, Assistant Professor
Dr. Rakesh Singh received his bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the Birla Institute of Technology in Ranchi, India, and his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Kansas. His graduate work was centered on investigating the involvement of the serotonin 2A receptor in the pharmacological activity of atypical antipsychotics such as olanzapine, where he identified the important interaction between the serotonin receptor and JAK/STAT pathway.  His postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois at Chicago was focused on investigating the role of Gs alpha protein in the therapeutic lag associated with antidepressants like SSRIs. He also has conducted research on the biochemical interactions responsible for increasing the pharmacological activity of methotrexate in the absence of NAMPT protein while working at the University of Kansas Medical Center. His research experience has been heavily focused on understanding the biochemical interactions among various cellular pathways that regulate the pharmacological activity of numerous drugs. Singh’s future research interest includes understanding the role of the JAK/STAT pathway in the anti-inflammatory activity of methotrexate. Courses taught include the cardiovascular section of Prematriculation Physiology, Hemostasis and Medical Pharmacology.

Jennifer Wekenborg, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Jennifer Wekenborg is a recent graduate of the Stephens College Physician Assistant program and is a practicing physician assistant in emergency medicine. In addition, she is a PA fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Missouri. Prior to becoming a PA, Wekenborg enlisted in the military in 2004, served nine years as a medic and completed a tour in Iraq from 2007-2008. She earned her B.S. in biology from Columbia College in 2011. Over the years, Wekenborg has taught EMT courses through MU Health Care’s EMS Education program, military medic refreshers and combat lifesaver courses, and was a graduate teaching assistant in animal physiology at MU, among other teaching experiences. Clinically, she has worked in a variety of civilian settings, from patient care tech in the emergency department, to ambulance work, to the children’s critical care transport team. Wekenborg is excited to use her teaching and clinical experience to educate, grow and encourage future physician assistants.


  

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