Physician Assistant Faculty and Staff - Keiser University
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PA Department Faculty and Staff

Name Title Credentials
Dr. Christine Kessler Program Director EdD, MMS, PA-C
Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald Medical Director MD
Renee Levy-LeBeau Assistant Director/Academic Director MMS, PA-C
Annette Sophin Clinical Director MSMM, PA-C
Kara Ann Valentine Clinical Coordinator MMS, PA-C
Avril Nimblett-Clarke Principal Faculty MS, PA-C
Bernadette Evitt Principal Faculty MCMS, PA-C
Christina Hejja Principal Faculty MPH, PA-C
Norma Pastor, MD Principal Faculty MD
Dr. Sara Schesser Bartra Adjunct Faculty PhD
Dr. Maria Brooks Adjunct Faculty PsyD
Dr. Richard Finkel Adjunct Faculty PharmD
Dr. Thomas Panavelil Adjunct Faculty PhD
Nieves Garcia Administrative Assistant to the Program Director BA
Tiffany De Maria Data Manager N/A
Nikki Sawyer Admissions Manager MAHR

Dr Christine Kessler

Dr. Christine Kessler D.Ed., M.M.S, PA-C is the Program Director of the Physician Assistant program.  She has a Doctorate in Adult Education from The Pennsylvania State University, a Masters in Medical Science (a Physician Assistant masters degree), a Bachelor in Physician Assistant from St. Francis University.  She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and licensed by the State of Florida. Her duties include a variety of tasks, including the assurance of program assessment for the purposes of program improvement.  She is experienced in teaching a variety of topics pertinent to physician assistant education using case-based and student-centered learning and teaching methods, as well as a traditional lecture format. As a recipient of a master teacher, distinguished teaching award, she has promoted a safe learning environment which promotes student engagement.  Her clinical experience includes working in a variety of primary care and internal medicine settings.

Dr Kevin Fitzgerald, MD 

Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald graduated from the International University of Health Sciences in 2013 with Honors and completed his Family Medicine Residency at Beaumont in Grosse Pointe, MI.  Prior to medical school he graduated from Nova Southeastern University and then practiced as a Physician Assistant for 5 years.  Currently he is a Hospitalist Physician and Associate Director in the Martin Health System.  Dr. Fitzgerald is the Medical Director of the Keiser University Physician Assistant Program and is actively involved in teaching and curriculum enhancement.

Renee Levy-LeBeau, MMS, PA-C

Professor Levy-LeBeau is the Assistant Program Director and Academic Director. Professor Levy-LeBeau joined Keiser University Physician Assistant Program in December 2014 as Principle faculty. In September 2015 she was appointed to Academic Director. In October 2017 she was appointed to Assistant Program Director. Raised in Davie, FL she attended Nova Southeastern University for her undergraduate work as well as Physician Assistant training. She has a Master’s Degree in Medical Science. Currently, she is pursuing her Doctorate of Health Science. She is a National Health Service Corp Scholar. She has practiced primarily in Correctional Medicine for six years with the Michigan Department of Correction. In addition, she has experience working in a Ryan White title III program at which time she held certification as a HIV Specialist with the American Academy of HIV Medicine. She has experience in Infectious Disease, Pediatrics and Pain Management.

Annette Sophin, MSMM, PA-C

Professor Sophin joined the Keiser Physician Assistant Program as Clinical Director in September 2013. She previously served as Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator at Nova Southeastern University PA Program from 1995-2000. She completed a Surgical Fellowship from Montefiore PA Surgical Training Program. Professor Sophin has several years of clinical experience in New York and in Florida. Through her work as a Clinical Specialist, she developed important relationships in the local medical community. She is deeply committed to clinical site development and the education of PA students.

Kara Ann Valentine, MMS, PA-C

Professor Valentine received her Master of Medical Science Degree in Physician Assistant studies from Nova Southeastern University in 2008, and a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Barry University in 2004. She has practiced primarily in Nephrology for five years. She also has experience in Pulmonology, Internal Medicine, and Critical Care. During clinical practice in Nephrology, Professor Valentine precepted medical students and physician assistant students. She joined the Keiser University Physician Assistant Program as Clinical Coordinator in April 2013. Professor Valentine’s responsibilities include student placement in clinical sites and assisting with the clinical year education. She is a member of Florida Academy of Physician Assistants.

Avril Nimblett-Clarke, MS, PA-C  

Professor Nimblett-Clarke is a Certified Physician Assistant with more than 20 years of Pediatric clinical experience.  She holds a degree in Physician Assistant from Howard University and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from A.T. Still University.

As a Physician Assistant she has practiced primarily in the District of Columbia and Maryland in General Pediatric, Pediatric Hematology and Adolescent medicine. Professor Nimblett-Clarke has had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of pediatric patients but personally demonstrates a passion for the Adolescent patients.

Prior to Keiser University, she serves as the Academic Coordinator at Howard University’s Physician Assistant program.  She brings to Keiser vast knowledge in the oversight, development and execution of program curriculum.  Her teaching philosophy is to facilitate knowledge and promote critical thinking in a student centered learning environment.

Bernadette Evitt, MCMS, PA-C

Professor Evitt is a physician assistant, who came to Keiser University in October 2011. She spent most of her previous eight year career in the field of neurosurgery. She has authored articles published in The Pain Clinic and Surgical Physician Assistant. Since she started her academic career at Keiser University Physician Assistant Program, she has managed eleven different courses that are offered. She serves on the ethics committee, the advisory board, the admissions committee, and with the Keiser University Physician Assistant Student Association. Professor Evitt offers a voluntary PANCE review once a week for several months during each year, and she offers a one-on-one suture workshop for students preparing to enter into their surgical rotation during their second year.

Christina Hejja, MPH, PA-C

Professor Hejja is from Fort Lauderdale, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for her undergraduate work as well as Physician Assistant training. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Health. She has four years of experience working in Urology, three years working in Cosmetic Medicine, and three years working in Orthopedic Hand Surgery. Professor Hejja has been an Instructor at the Physician Assistant Program since March 2012. She teaches Physical Diagnosis I and III, Introduction to the PA Profession, and Medical & Legal Ethics. Professor Hejja also teaches the Certification Review Course for the second year students in preparation for the PANCE, and Clinical Medicine which includes areas such as: HEENT, Musculoskeletal, Geriatrics, and Surgery.

Norma Pastor, MD

Dr. Norma Pastor is a full-time Physician Assistant professor at Keiser University. She holds a medical doctorate degree and completed her residency in anesthesiology. She holds her medical degree from de University Autonomous of Santo Domingo and the Anesthesiology degree from the Military Hospital of the Armed Forces. She served in the Dominican Republic Army as an anesthesiologist for 5 years. Dr. Pastor is currently a doctoral candidate in a Doctor of Health Science program.

Dr. Norma Pastor has four years of progressive experience working in academia. Her past roles include Allied Health Program Instructor and Program Director of Health Programs-Latin division. Dr. Pastor is a member of various organizations including the American Board of Surgical Assistant.

Mrs. Percy and Mr. Williams believed in me. They were more than instructors, they tried to get to know you as a person and tried to understand your goals so they could push you towards them. And Mrs. Crawford from student services helped me find a job before I even graduated. She was dedicated to my overall success.

Jessica Kircher

Going to Keiser University was one of the greatest experiences in my life. All of my deans, professors, and staff made me feel that I was a part of something very special, and I am. I would recommend for anyone to get their education at Keiser University.

Belinda Haney

The two instructors that have impacted my life are Mr. Williams and Mrs. Percy. Both of them believed in my ability to become a great graphic designer, regardless of how I felt about my skills. I appreciate their motivation to get me to where I am today.

Justin Pugh

Beyond the curriculum of the courses, the lessons the instructors have taught me have paid dividends in my real work experiences. How to respond to criticisms, project and time management, interview skills, the list goes on and on. At the end of the day, they not only showed me how to design, but they taught me how to be a professional.

Ryan Bushey

If not for my education at Keiser I probably would not be where I am today, in both life and career. It is because of going to Keiser and the instructors I had that I joined a club started by Mr. Williams, The Lakeland Shooters Photography Group, which allowed me to venture into an amazing and very creative field that I use to enhance all aspects of my life.

Anthony Sassano

The Design program at Keiser University was filled with real world learning and hands on instruction… Based on the portfolio I created while a student at Keiser University, I landed a job in Graphic Design for a major online retailer immediately after graduation.

Ty Fitzgerald

The year and a half I spent in the program better prepared me for attaining a job in the field…As a hands-on learner, the project-centered teaching was perfect for me.

Jackson Tejada

Keiser University has given me the opportunity to embrace a career change… It has opened the door for a timely graduation and quick return to the work force…

Dale Caverly

Without the education I received at Keiser University, I would not be where I am today!

Meisha Ebanks, R.N.

I not only received an excellent education but also encouragement and training that built my self-confidence every day.

Nidia Barrios

I realize the amount of knowledge I gained and feel that the educational experiences have developed me in to a person who can move higher up the career ladder.

Carlos Ramirez Flores

Keiser University’s MBA program has renewed my mind, changed the way I think, and given me a new sense of purpose.  The professors transformed my attitude and behavior, gave me the self-confidence I was lacking, and restored my energy.

Connie Sue Centrella

It has been great attending and graduating from Keiser University.  Because of the small class sizes, I was able to build good relationships with classmates and professors.  The PA professors care very much about the progress and success of the students and have been great advisors every step of the way through the program.

Annelise Merriner, PA-C

Attending Keiser University and getting my degree was the best decision I have ever made.  The small class sizes and personalized attention helped me get my degree quickly.  The hands-on experience and the education landed me a job at a neighboring law firm.

Dedrick Saxon

I chose Keiser because it had everything—small classes, caring professors, hands-on learning, and counselors that are really there for you.  I feel like I’m part of a family here, not just a number.

Natalie Dou

After being denied for several promotions at my current employer, I decided that I needed to further my education.  Since graduating from Keiser with my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, I have been promoted and I am able to obtain positions that weren’t available to me before.

Laurie Williams

Keiser helped change my life by getting my education at the right school! I had been going to another school before, I dropped out because I felt that I was not getting enough information. When I found out about Keiser, I was pleased because the instructors were great.

Nadege Dor

My decision to attend Keiser University has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I chose to enroll in the Information Technology program… The one-class-a-month pace helped incredibly with my self-discipline.

Marla Hadley

The BA for Business Administration at Keiser has to be one of the best in the nation. Keiser takes the basics that are taught at the Associates level and uses them to strengthen your skills and knowledge.

Vivian R. Howard, BA in Business Administration Graduate

I found that Keiser University’s Nuclear Medicine program of advanced studies and small class size was a perfect fit. I never came across a faculty member who wasn’t truly interested.

Gustavo Gonzalez, Nuclear Medicine Technology Graduate