Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College

Faculty and Staff 

Master of Physician Assistant Studies program 


Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson, Director
Eric Johnson is Director of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. Johnson is a Physician Assistant and Clinical Assistant Professor working in critical care and emergency medicine in Columbia. Prior to Stephens, he served as Vice President for the Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants and was the program’s Director for the University of Missouri’s Physician Assistant Residencies in Acute Care Medicine and Hospitalist Medicine. He also was the academic advisor for the University of Missouri’s Pre-PA Association; helping future PAs attain admission into PA school. He earned his undergraduate degree in General Studies with an emphasis in biology, chemistry and philosophy from the University of Missouri–Columbia. He graduated from Missouri State University in 2009 with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Prior to his career as a physician assistant he was a paramedic and volunteer firefighter with 14 years of experience. He considers himself privileged to have assisted at both Ground Zero on 9/11/2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Specialist with Missouri Task Force One.


Cansu Agca

Dr. Cansu Agca, Adjunct Faculty
Dr. Cansu Agca teaches Molecular Foundations of Biomedicine in the Master of Physician Assistant program. She received her DVM degree from University of Ankara, Turkey. She completed her MS and PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Purdue University-West Lafayette, respectively. In addition to her teaching position at Stephens College, she works at the University of Missouri as a research scientist. Her research areas include molecular characterization of gluconeogenic enzymes, molecular reproductive research, and animal modeling with the emphasis of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Mirna Becevic

Dr. Mirna Becevic, Adjunct Faculty
Mirna Becevic, holds a PhD in Health Informatics, Master’s in Health Administration, and Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology. She is an Assistant Research Professor of Telemedicine, with the Department of Dermatology at the University of Missouri. Dr. Becevic is also the lead evaluator for the Show-Me ECHO Project. Her work has been published in many national and international journals, as well as professional and scientific conferences.  Dr. Becevic served as a member of the board for Region VII Health Equity Council with the US Department of Health and Senior Services from 2011-2013. She is passionate about using available technologies, such as telemedicine and mHealth, to increase access to care for rural and underserved patients.

Megan Blakemore

Dr. Megan Blakemore, Academic Coordinator and Assistant Professor
Dr. Megan Blakemore, a Physician Assistant, is the Academic Coordinator and Assistant Professor with the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. Dr. Blakemore has worked as a physician assistant with Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Harry S. Truman VA Hospital for the last eight years. Megan served as the TAVI coordinator and was instrumental to the development of the program. Dr. Blakemore holds the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification, has served as a PA mentor and actively participates in the University of Phoenix mentor program. Dr. Blakemore received her B.S in Biology from the University of New Mexico in 2005. Megan graduated from Missouri State University’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 2007.  She completed her Doctorate of Health Administration in 2013 from the University of Phoenix. Prior to becoming a PA, Dr. Blakemore served over six years on active duty in the United States Army as a Medical Specialist.

Paul Harris

Paul Harris, Clinical Coordinator
Paul Harris BA, RN, CEM, is the Clinical Coordinator for the Stephens College Physician Assistant Program. He has worked in healthcare for over 40 years.  He started his career in Emergency Medicine and moved into nursing where he has worked in Neurosurgery ICU, ER, Trauma, Flight team and Emergency Preparedness Coordination. Prior to taking the role as Clinical Coordinator, Mr. Harris was a member of the Stephens College PA Program Advisory Committee.  The Clinical Coordinator is responsible for recruiting preceptors and building the Clinical Phase Calendar managing 300 clinical rotations yearly.  Mr. Harris other experiences include disaster response for the State and Nations with participation at New York, 9/11, New Orleans Katrina/Rita, Joplin EF-5 tornado, New York Hurricane Sandy. He has been an adjunct instructor for FEMA/CDP Bioterrorism Medical Response, Law Enforcement/ Tactical Medicine and Fire/EMS Training at the State and Federal level. 

Allison Kleiber

Dr. Allison Kleiber, Adjunct Faculty
Dr. Allison Kleiber teaches Medical Physiology in the Stephens College Physician Assistant Program. Dr. 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, Dr. 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. Prior to teaching at Stephens, Dr. Kleiber taught physiology and writing-emphasis pathophysiology at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and anatomy, physiology, and biology at Moberly Area Community College.   

Syed Naqvi

Dr. S. Hasan Naqvi, Medical Director
Dr. S. Hasan Naqvi is Medical Director for the Stephens College Physician Assistant Program. He is a board certified Internal Medicine Physician and currently working as a hospitalist and Division Director of Hospital Medicine at University of Missouri-Columbia. He earned his medical degree from Allama Iqbal. Medical College, Punjab University Lahore, Pakistan. He did his Internal Medicine residency training from Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn NY where he also served as Chief Medical Resident. Prior to moving to Columbia, he has served as Medical Director for Hospital Medicine at Columbus Regional Healthcare Columbus, Ga.; Clerkship Director for Internal Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine Columbus Campus, Ga.,  and Clinical Assistant Professor, Mercer University School of Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic  Medicine and Mercer University Physician Assistant Program. He is dedicated to medical education and currently working as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia, Program Director for Hospital Medicine Fellowship and Medical Director for Hospital Medicine Physician Assistant Fellowship. He is actively involved in clinical research and his interests are patient safety, clinical quality improvement and new drug trials. He is also Fellow of American College of Physicians (FACP) and Fellow of Hospital Medicine (FHM). 

Lezlie Norris

Lezlie Norris, Co-Director of Clinical Medicine and Assistant Professor
Lezlie Norris is an Assistant Professor and co-director of Clinical Medicine studies within the Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program.  She has been a licensed Physician Assistant in Missouri for the past 17 years, practicing in various specialties within orthopedics.  Norris attended the University of Missouri—Columbia for her undergraduate studies where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Radiological Sciences.  She is a graduate from 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, Lezlie was a registered radiological technologist at University Hospital and Clinics in Columbia.  In her time outside of work, she enjoys being an active mom to her three sons and watching them play various sports.

Richard Oliver

Dr. Richard E. Oliver, Adjunct Faculty
Dr. Richard E. Oliver is Dean Emeritus and Founding Dean (2001) of the School of Health Professions, University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to his appointment as dean, he served as Director of the School of Health Related Professions, a position he held since 1986. During his tenure as director and dean, Oliver has held leadership positions with the Midwest Association of Allied Health Deans at Academic Health Centers and the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). Oliver obtained his B.H.S. in Medical Technology in 1971. He holds masters and doctoral degrees in higher and adult education. He also has completed post-doctoral coursework in the MU School of Law. Oliver is a Past President and a Fellow of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions. Oliver serves as an adjunct faculty member as well as a member of the Stephens College Physician Assistant Program’s Advisory Board. He also teaches an introductory course in the Stephens College School of Health Sciences. He is married to Carol Oliver, a 1976 graduate of Stephens College.

Erica Ottis

Erica Ottis, PharmD, BCPS, Adjunct Faculty
Erica Ottis is a Clinical Associate Professor for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy at MU in Columbia, Missouri. Her scholarly interest is primarily in the area of the scholarship of teaching and learning, including the development of interprofessional experiences for health professions students and the implementation of simulated activities into the pharmacy curriculum. For the last 8 years she has been involved with the development of the MU interprofessional curriculum focused on quality and safety. She has also had involvement in the implementation and evaluation of an IPE curriculum for the UMKC School of Pharmacy which operates as a three site model. Currently she is serving as a key faculty member in a grant funded by the Josiah Macy Foundation titled "Train-the-Trainer: Interprofessional Faculty Development" .

Dominick Salvatore2

Dr. Dominick Salvatore, Adjunct Faculty
Dr. Dominick Salvatore attended St. Louis College of Pharmacy and obtained his PharmD in 2012. After graduating, Dr. Salvatore completed a PGY1 Pharmacy Residency at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in St. Louis, followed by a PGY2 Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy. During this time Dr. Salvatore also developed a strong interest in infectious diseases and became a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist. Dr. Salvatore began working for UMKC School of Pharmacy on the Columbia campus as an assistant clinical professor in August of 2014. He currently practices in internal medicine and infectious diseases at University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri.

Merrill Sapp2

Dr. Merrill Sapp, Co-Director of Clinical Medicine and Assistant Professor
Dr. Merrill Sapp is a Physician Assistant and Co-director of Clinical Medicine for the Stephens College Physician Assistant program.  Her 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 then completed a PhD at New Mexico State University.  While representing NMSU she became a collegiate road cycling National Champion.  She then became focused on her medical career and continued her studies at the University of Oklahoma where she received a Master of Health Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 2011.

More Contacts 

Heather Miles, Admissions Counselor
Heather Miles is the Admissions Counselor for the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. She earned her Bachelor of Educational Studies and Master of Education in Counseling at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Missouri for six years, Director of Career Services at Stephens College for eight years, and has been in her current role in Graduate Admissions since Fall 2014.


Office of Graduate and Online Admissions

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