Physician Assistant program in St. Croix adds new faculty and staff
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Fla. – Barry University’s Physician Assistant program hired three new members for its new off-site campus in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Claire Lokitis, Seana Hanley and EvaMarie Gibbs-Stevens will join the students, faculty, and staff in St. Croix.
Lokitis is the operations director and assistant professor of medical education, Hanley, is an administrative assistant and Gibbs-Stevens, serves as the senior videoconferencing support specialist.
Lokitis, who serves as the overall operations director of Barry’s new PA program, holds an associate of science degree in Animal Science from SUNY – Farmingdale, New York, a bachelor’s of science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Touro College in New York, and a MS degree in Physician Assistant Education and Leadership from the Arizona School of Health Sciences. The professor explained she enjoys spreading the news about the PA program in St. Croix to island residents, while the PA students perform community service such as blood pressure screenings, during the 41st Agricultural Fair, among other locations.
Recently, the PA program conducted a Pediatric Physical Diagnosis Lab at their school site, attended by local pediatric volunteer patients, ranging in age from two months to nine years, and their parents. Lokitis demonstrated pediatric wxam techniques, which the PA student volunteers examined. The community response to the establishment of the Physician Assistant Program in St. Croix is overwhelmingly positive and the effort by Barry University is providing a major thrust to improve health care in the region, which is severely medically underserved.
Hanley holds the position of administrative assistant at the new off-site campus. She hails from St. Croix and attended Norfolk State University, where she studied and received a BA in fine arts/graphic design in 2008. Hanley plans to return to school, and pursue a master’s in guidance counseling. Before joining Barry at the St. Croix Campus in 2011, she served as a facilitator at Youth on Track, coordinating counseling group sessions with parents and students at public and private schools. Hanley explained Barry PA students have been well received in St. Croix since the local residents realize they are providing valuable volunteer health care services at local events on the island.
Gibbs-Stevens is the senior videoconferencing support specialist, providing technical support in St. Croix, which enables the PA program to educate students on its three campuses (Miami Shores, St. Petersburg and St. Croix) via interactive teaching. Gibbs-Stevens said it is amazing how new technologies have provided alternative teaching methods allowing professors to be located in three separate sites that interact collectively at the same time. She holds her Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix Online and was a post-secondary instructor before joining the PA program.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Barry University’s Physician Assistant Program $1.5 million in grants to address the dramatic primary health care shortages in the U.S. Virgin Islands through PA training. The goal of the five year grant projects led by Dr. Doreen C. Parkhurst, associate dean and director of the Barry PA program, is to improve access to primary health care of the medically underserved islands and to provide medical education to islanders to enable them to pursue careers as physician assistants upon graduation.
Barry University is a private, Catholic institution with a history of academic excellence in the Adrian Dominican tradition. Founded in 1940 in Miami, Florida, the University enrolls nearly 9,000 students and offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its nine academic schools and colleges, including Adult & Continuing Education, Business, Education, Human Performance & Leisure Science, Law, Podiatric Medicine, Social Work, Arts & Sciences, and Health Sciences.