Faculty Testimonials

Physician Assistant Faculty Testimonials

Christina Beard, MPAS, PA-C, '03

Program Director

Christina Beard, Program DirectorI am a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina and a graduate of Methodist University PA Program. Teaching has always been an interest of mine, and my "bucket list" included teaching at my alma mater at some point in my career. After working at Fayetteville Gastroenterology for several years after graduation, I was offered the position of adjunct professor for the Gastroenterology course. This convinced me that academia was a place where I belonged. I was soon hired as the clinical coordinator and served in that role for a year and a half. Establishing international clinical rotations became a passion of mine during my time as clinical coordinator and is an area where I continue to work as a member of the Physician Assistant Education Association Clinical Education Committee subcommittee on international clinical rotations.

Once the need for a Program Director was determined, I interviewed for the position and am honored to serve this Program in such a capacity. I continue to teach the Gastroenterology course, with spot lectures in Laboratory Medicine, Physician Assistant Orientation, and Critical Thinking.

My teaching philosophy is one that anchors in practical medical education, helping our students stay engaged through interactive lectures. I grew up in an unconventional atmosphere as a homeschooler. This molded me into a person who appreciates the learning process. I believe that learning should be enjoyable, individualized and interactive. I bring my experience as a PA into every lecture, giving points on how to survive and thrive as a midlevel provider, providing tips on appropriate physician/staff and patient interactions, and keeping the welfare of the patient as the utmost concern.

I continue my clinical work as a PA in the Expresscare of Cape Fear Valley Health System one day a week.

The strength of our Program lies in the faculty and staff who care about our students on a personal level. You will never be a number in the Methodist University PA Program. We are dedicated to preparing PAs who are excellent diagnosticians, clinicians, employees, and leaders both in their areas of employment and in their community.

Dr. Deborah Morris, PA-C, MD

Academic Coordinator

Deborah Morris, Academic CoordinatorI bring an unusual perspective to PA education because of my background as both a PA and an MD. I have been a PA, taught PA's, supervised and worked closely with PAs and feel strongly that the PA profession is the present and future of primary medical care in the U.S.

I graduated from the Yale University PA program in 1982 and worked in a community health center while functioning as an instructor and Clinical Coordinator at the Yale program until 1984. I moved my family to North Carolina to be closer to my parents and worked as a PA in Urgent Care in Wilmington until starting medical school in 1988. I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 1992 and completed internship and part of an internal medicine residency at UNC hospitals. Family issues forced me out of residency and I returned to Urgent Care work in Cary, subsequently assuming the Medical Directorship of Doctor's Urgent Care Centres, a chain of 12 Urgent Cares in Eastern NC.

In 2002 I founded MedEx Urgent Care in Fayetteville with a group of friends and co-workers to create a place where we could work together, support each other, and have fun while providing excellent care to our patients. I became aware of the Methodist PA program when didactic phase students rotated through the clinic to observe my partner, Mort Meltzer. I asked to help in teaching physical exam in 2007 and slowly expanded my teaching time until coming on to faculty full-time in January 2011.

My current clinical focus is on supervising several PA and NP owned primary care practices and working as a plasma collection center Medical Director.

I bring stories and examples from the clinic and from my almost 30 years in medicine into the classroom and try to teach clinically relevant medicine in a way that is both engaging and rigorous. I feel very fortunate to be teaching such a central and hands-on part of medical practice to the next generation of medical care providers. I also work to support the rest of the didactic faculty in developing their teaching and assessment skills.

I have been incredibly impressed with the Methodist PA students. They bring enormous intelligence and energy to their studies and seem to be grounded in compassion and a commitment to improving the lives of their patients. It is exciting to work here during a time of growth and increasing recognition of our program from people and programs across the country.

Dr. William R. Greenwood, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine

William Greenwood, Associate Professor of Clinical MedicineI have been associated with the Methodist University PA Program since its beginning in 1996. I have had the pleasure of watching the Program grow from 4 students to 40 students.

Teaching has always been a favorite of mine. My first thought of becoming an instructor was in the 1980’s when I was selected to teach Paramedic students in the Seattle-Tacoma area. I enjoyed this so much that I began teaching whenever and wherever I could. I began accumulating as many photographs and case reports as I could so I would be a more efficient and entertaining speaker.

The highlight of my teaching occurred when I was selected to teach Emergency Medicine at Methodist University. I have now been elevated to a part-time faculty, teaching 2 days a week instead of the 2 hours a week I had initially been contracted for.

Teaching has become my "oasis" in the often difficult and challenging world of medicine. Spending time weekly with new students of medicine helps me to cope with the everyday challenges I face as a practicing physician. Without these students to keep me focused, I fear I would have fared much worse in my practice of medicine.

I see my role in medical education of PA students as being able to provide a combination of real world experience and traditional teaching methods. This seems to help students understand quickly how important basic medical education can be employed in everyday patient care. Finding the connection between didactic and clinical concepts during the first years of education will make the student better prepared for their careers in medicine.

I have been a practicing Emergency Physician since 1982. I am currently on staff at 5 local hospital based Emergency Departments. This allows me to stay very current with medical education, concepts, etc. My daily experience is brought to the classroom so I can enliven the atmosphere and engage the students with real life situations and how to make the appropriate clinical decisions.

My education began at Eastern New Mexico University where I received a BS and MS in biology. I then proceeded to the University of New Mexico, School of Medicine for my MD degree. I completed a surgical internship and an Emergency Medicine residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. I served 23 years on active duty with the Army. I had the pleasure of working closely with Special Operations Forces (Rangers, Special Forces, SEALs, etc). This experience with the military has been some of the most enjoyable time I have spent during my life. It was an honor to work with such highly trained and motivated professionals. I have learned much from this experience and I strive to pass along this experience to the student.

I believe, as do the other faculty here at Methodist University, that we must provide medical education that is focused on the patient. The health and well-being of the patient is often forgotten in today’s world. The patient is not a "client" or "customer". They must always be considered a patient who requires the utmost skill, compassion, empathy and expertise from their healthcare provider. It should never be about "business" or money that drives an individual to become a healthcare professional. Medicine has often forgotten and forsaken this basic principle. I strive daily to keep the focus where it belongs—THE PATIENT.

Lisa Huggins Oxendine, Dr.P.H., P.A.-C.

Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine

Lisa Huggins OxendineI am a blend of rural, southeastern NC and Lumbee tribal heritage.  This provides me a first-hand understanding of health disparity and drives me investigate effective delivery of health information to groups that experience health-related disparity. 

I earned a BS in Mathematics with a Track in Computer Science in 1985 and in 1990 an MAEd in Mathematics Education from UNC Pembroke.  After work in textile-based Industrial Engineering in Lumberton, NC and in Educational Research at UNC Pembroke, I wanted to impact lives beyond data collection and statistical analyses.  In 1995, I completed the Physician Assistant Program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.  After many years of patient care, I wanted to again broaden my involvement in the lives of people.  In 2014, I received a Doctorate in Public Health in the area of Health Administration from UNC.

At UNC my dissertation focused on effective communication of health information to Lumbee women.  I chose this topic after learning that a Duke retrospective review indicated Lumbee women experienced more significant heart disease and risk factors as compared to other non-Lumbee Duke University cardiac intervention patients.  My research indicates that Lumbee women feel the current state of nutrition information is not effective.  I plan to continue research related to effective health communication. 

My work as a physician assistant includes over a year of service at Robeson Family Practice in Red Springs, NC.  Then followed more than eighteen years with Children’s Health of Carolina (CHC) Corporation which has offices in Robeson, Hoke and Cumberland counties.  During those years, I worked as a physician assistant, corporate administrator and assumed the role of Executive Director of Children’s Health of Carolina Foundation.  The motto that guided my work then and still causes me to wake daily with a desire to do something useful is… “positively influence lives”. 

Working as a physician assistant allowed me to teach patients and families.  Work as an Adjunct Faculty member in the Mathematics Department and in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department at UNC Pembroke clarified my love of teaching.  My goal became to teach others to effectively encourage health and well-being for many lives. 

At Methodist University I am impressed with the high caliber of faculty, students and staff who comprise the Physician Assistant Department.  I fully embrace the academic concern that students be exposed to and learn information that will prepare them to serve as effective and compassionate healthcare providers and leaders.  Further, I wholeheartedly join the Methodist University Physician Assistant Faculty in not only teaching and expecting students to learn but also in preparing and encouraging graduates who apply their knowledge effectively and compassionately.

Ian Ward, M.M.S., P.A.-C.

Director, Program Evaluation and Assessment

Ian WardI bring a unique background and experience to my role as Director of Program Evaluation and as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine.  When I graduated from the Methodist University PA program, I knew that I would love to come back and use my experience in project management, adult education and medicine to help the next generation of Physician Assistants to thrive in their own new careers.

I am originally from Manchester, England and I have lived in North Carolina since 1994. I graduated from Manchester University, England in with a B.Sc. degree in Computing and Information Systems. I gained my Master of Medical Science degree as a graduate of Methodist University’s PA Program. I am currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Health Education Leadership.

Before making a mid-career change to become a Physician Assistant, I worked as a Project Manager and Business Analyst for IBM and as a self-employed consultant.  During this time, I provided expertise in the best use of technology, managed complex projects and I was frequently involved in creating and delivering innovative adult education.  

My clinical experience since graduating as a PA has included two roles, which I have continued on a part-time basis since joining the Methodist faculty. I work in Urgent Care, providing a wide range of medical treatments and procedures. Also, I work in Behavioral Health, providing both outpatient and inpatient psychiatric consultations.

I am passionate about teaching and an advocate for life-long learning. I try to teach medicine with a pragmatic approach, using techniques and tools to help students consume the huge amount of information needed. But also I stress that empathy and a passion for excellence make the difference in patients’ lives.


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