Faculty and Staff
Master of Physician Assistant Studies program
Dr. Megan Blakemore, PA-C
Program Director and Assistant Professor
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. 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 teaching at 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.
Stephanie Whyte is the administrative assistant for the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. Whyte earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from William Woods University. Her career includes sixteen years with Missouri Cancer Associates, LLC where she managed provider credentialing, contracting and managed care. More recently, Whyte was a business support specialist at University of Missouri in the School of Medicine, where she provided credentialing, HR, and payroll support. In her free time, Whyte enjoys playing piano, spending time with family and watching her daughter compete in golf.