science

HPU Welcomes New Faculty in the Sciences – High Point University


HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 26, 2020 – As High Point University’s undergraduate and graduate programs in the sciences continue to grow, the university welcomed 16 new faculty members in health and science related programs this year.

These 16 faculty members are part of 25 total new faculty members to join HPU this fall. HPU also welcomed five faculty members in the David R. Hayworth College of Arts and Sciences, three in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication and one new faculty in the Earl N. Phillips School of Business.

Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy

Dr. Gina Peacock, Associate Dean of Student and Professional Affairs and Professor of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences 

Dr. Gina Peacock joins HPU as the associate dean of student and professional affairs and professor of basic pharmaceutical sciences. In her role, she teaches courses and focuses on student affairs and admissions in HPU’s Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy.

Peacock holds a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy and a Doctor of Philosophy in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy. She has practiced pharmacy in a variety of settings that include hospital, community, home infusion and the pharmaceutical industry. Peacock has conducted research in the area of drug stability, and she has served as a professor of biopharmaceutical sciences and assistant dean for student affairs at a previous institution.

In addition, Peacock has served as acting chair of the USP Packaging and Storage Expert Committee from 2007 to 2010 and as a member of the USP Compounding Expert Committee from 2010 to 2015.

“I often use stories from my variety of pharmacy practice experiences to help the students make connections between what they are learning, and the application of that knowledge in the real world,” says Peacock.

Dr. Jeremiah Jessee, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences

Dr. Jeremiah Jessee teaches hematology and oncology in HPU’s Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy. He also co-coordinates an advanced pharmacotherapy practice elective to help student pharmacists interpret new clinical data.

His main area of research is hematology, specifically focusing on pharmacist interventions, treatment outcomes, drug interactions and environmental risk factors. Jessee works with faculty in HPU’s Standardized Client Program to help assess what simulated patient encounters prepare student pharmacists for both clinical rotations and future pharmacy practice.

He completed his first post-graduate residency year in acute care pharmacy practice at Sentara Healthcare RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He completed his second post-graduate residency year in hematology and oncology pharmacy practice at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Jessee holds a doctorate of pharmacy from East Tennessee State University’s Gatton College of Pharmacy, and a formal pharmacy residency teaching and learning certification from the Shenandoah University Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy.

“Being in such a niche area, I hope to empower students to feel comfortable providing supportive care to cancer patients,” says Jessee. “My overall goal is to introduce pharmacy students to a difficult topic and give them the tools they need to continue their learning and succeed in the future regardless of where they practice.”

Dr. Diamond Melendez, Director of Standardized Client Experiences and assistant professor 

Dr. Diamond Melendez serves as director of the Standardized Client Experiences program in the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy. This program allows pharmacy students to practice patient history talking skills, communication skills, counseling skills and other exercises with simulated patients and standardized clients. She also teaches courses in ambulatory care skills and OTC drugs and will be involved in various committees.

She is a clinical pharmacist who specializes in community pharmacy, outpatient care, chronic disease state management and medication therapy management.

Melendez has previously worked as a clinical instructor in pharmacy education. She received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Winthrop University and a doctorate of pharmacy from University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. She is a graduate of the Community-Based Residency Program at South College School of Pharmacy, where she also received her teaching certification. She holds an immunization certification from American Pharmacists Association.

“My goal is to provide students with experiences that will allow them hands-on practice in a supportive yet challenging learning environment,” says Melendez. “I want student pharmacists to be excited about their chosen career paths and become leaders in their communities, patient advocates and essential members on health care teams.”

Dr. Samuel Adeosun, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences  

Dr. Samuel Adeosun teaches subjects that include pharmacotherapy of pain and substance use disorders in HPU’s Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy. Along with teaching, he will be conducting clinical and translational research. He is serving as the Undergraduate Research and Creative Works (UCRW) liaison for HPU’s Department of Clinical Sciences alongside other committees within the university and the School of Pharmacy.

His research focus will be on opioid stewardship, as well as neurology-related topics, including stroke and neurodegenerative diseases.

He has conducted basic research in neurodegenerative diseases as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and at the Huffington Institute on Aging at the Baylor College of Medicine. He has also conducted clinical research focused on opioid prescribing practices to patients after surgery. His pharmacy practice experiences include hospital and retail settings, and he has taught undergraduate and graduate students throughout his entire career.

Adeosun’s pharmacy degree is from Nigeria and currently licensed in the United States. He earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“Our curriculum is designed to prepare students for real-world scenarios,” says Adeosun. “For example, the perpetual epidemic of opioid use has also worsened in the face of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, my main strategy will be to get students to see the real-life impacts and applications of what I am teaching and researching.”

Dr. Bianca Lascano, Assistant Professor and Co-Curricular Director of Clinical Sciences 

Dr. Bianca Lascano teaches introduction to pharmacy practice, as well as the ambulatory care course. She also serves as the director of the co-curricular program. Students in HPU’s Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy are dedicated to serving the community and are responsible for obtaining a set number of hours within co-curricular events. As the director, Lascano oversees these events and ensures students are involved with giving back to the community and strengthening these skill sets. 

Lascano’s research focus area is community pharmacy practice and pharmacist disease state management in the underserved population. She recently completed a community-based pharmacy residency through Samford University McWhorter School of Pharmacy at Christ Health Center and an ambulatory care pharmacy residency through the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. During her residency training, she was able to manage chronic disease states and work with the underserved population. She also served as a preceptor to oversee fourth-year pharmacy students as they completed clinical rotations prior to graduation.

She received her doctorate of pharmacy degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I hope to provide students with real-world applications of the learning objectives to make the content relevant,” says Lascano. “Allowing students to work through a patient case provides an opportunity for them to think through the material as opposed to simply teaching the material from a PowerPoint slide. I also hope to get students excited about community service events. I am very passionate about giving back, and my hope is to emphasize the impact of being present in the community and how these opportunities will allow students to strengthen the knowledge they gain in the classroom.”

Dr. Alex Ebied, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences

Dr. Alex Ebied teaches courses that include Pharmacotherapy IV, Interprofessional Education I and II, and an Advanced Pharmacotherapy elective. He is also the director of Interprofessional Education, through which he introduces pharmacy students to other health care disciplines in order to take a team-based approach to patient care.

Ebied is a Board Certified Critical Care Pharmacist and earned his doctorate of pharmacy from Long Island University. His areas of expertise include pain management, infectious diseases and dosing in special populations. Prior to HPU, he worked as an internal medicine pharmacist at the University of Florida and as a critical care pharmacist at the UF Health Shands Hospital.

“I motivate students by teaching them real-world tips on how to succeed in clinical pharmacy,” says Ebied. “By making this distinction, the students can be more confident in practice as they have been educated on how to approach an issue.”

Wanek School of Natural Sciences

Dr. Joshua Allen, Assistant Professor of Environmental Chemistry

Dr. Joshua Allen joins the Wanek School of Natural Sciences as an assistant professor of environmental chemistry. Allen is teaching general chemistry and quantitative and instrumental analysis lecture and lab courses. He will also be conducting research with undergraduate students.

Allen’s research interests include utilizing mass spectrometry to analyze environmental contaminants, primarily disinfection by-products (DBPs) in aqueous environments such as drinking water, swimming pools and source waters used to provide drinking water. He is interested in better understanding the adverse health effects caused by these contaminants through interdisciplinary, collaborative research.

He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Georgia Southern University and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of South Carolina.

“My goal is to put students in the best place possible to succeed in whatever their next step is beyond HPU,” says Allen. “I hope to get students excited with research opportunities that seek to understand and answer real-world environmental and health-related problems. I believe they will gain a sense of purpose in helping to solve these issues while also learning very important chemistry techniques.”

Congdon School of Health Sciences

Nolan Crain, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies

As an assistant professor of physician assistant studies in HPU’s Congdon School of Health Sciences, Nolan Crain serves as a facilitator in clinical decision making and a course director for clinical methods and procedures. His expertise has been in primary care, urgent care medicine and military medicine. He served three years in the United States Navy as a medical officer attached to an infantry Marine Battalion.

Crain received his master’s in physician assistant studies from Seton Hill University and is currently certified as a physician assistant.

“My mission as a physician assistant educator is to educate and mentor students to become compassionate health care providers, while instilling a lifelong intellectual curiosity and passion for medicine,” says Crain.

Dr. Paul Kline, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy

Dr. Paul Kline joins the Congdon School of Health Sciences as an assistant professor of physical therapy and teaches movement science I and II in HPU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. These courses train students to be experts in functional anatomy and analyzing human movement.

Kline has more than seven years of clinical experience as a physical therapist and has worked in acute care and outpatient settings. He received his doctorate in physical therapy from East Carolina University and Ph.D. from University of Kentucky. His research focuses on the evaluation of atypical movement patterns in patients with chronic musculoskeletal conditions and the identification of factors that contribute to these movement patterns. To date, Kline’s research has focused on patients with knee osteoarthritis, total knee replacement and people with lower limb amputation.

The goal of his initial projects at HPU is to identify factors that contribute to poor movement quality and low physical activity in these populations and develop scalable interventions to help individuals improve their mobility and maximize their quality of life.

Most recently, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. In this role, he oversaw outpatient rehabilitation care for more than 70 research participants enrolled in multiple federally funded clinical trials. The goal of these trials was to evaluate the use of telehealth and wearable sensor technology to improve movement quality and physical activity for people with various chronic musculoskeletal issues, such as total knee arthroplasty or lower limb amputation.

He was recently selected to receive the “Emerging Leader Award” from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This award is given to 34 individuals across the nation who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the physical therapy profession and the APTA early in their careers.

I hope to show my students they can facilitate tremendous improvement in their patients’ quality of life by developing expertise in movement analysis and a deep understanding of the underlying causes of atypical movement,” says Kline. “In many patients, isolated areas of dysfunction can lead to compensations from multiple body regions. By using the skills they develop at HPU, I hope our students will be able to efficiently identify the primary issue and restore optimal function in their patients.”

Dr. Michele Jedlica, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies

Dr. Michele Jedlica joins HPU’s Congdon School of Health Sciences as an assistant professor of physician assistant studies. In her role, she teaches clinical decision making. She has been a board certified pediatrician since 2000 and has 20 years of private medical practice in the city of High Point.

She received her B.A. in Pharmacy from University of Pittsburgh and her medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and she completed her residency at Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest University. Jedlica began her professional career as a registered pharmacist in community and hospital practice. As a hospital pharmacist, she provided clinical services in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Her interests include pediatric development and nutrition, behavioral disorders and pharmacotherapeutics. Her commitment to medical education stems from a desire to provide care based on science and compassion.

“What drew me to medicine was the ability to apply science in order to help people and improve their lives,” says Jedlica. “I hope our students find that same passion in my teachings.”

Dr. Christopher Johnston, Assistant Professor of Athletic Training

Dr. Christopher Johnston teaches musculoskeletal evaluation, interventions II and III, and managing medical emergencies courses. His research focuses on biomechanical and neuromuscular adaptations following joint injuries and early interventions following injury to reduce secondary injury risk and improve long-term health. The goal of Johnston’s research is to better understand how our bodies adapt and change following injuries and what clinicians can do to ensure better joint and overall health throughout the lifespan.

“I hope to encourage an action-oriented environment while emphasizing best evidence-based practices in considering the overall well-being of patients during evaluation, rehabilitation and management of patients,” says Johnston.

He earned his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill, his master’s degree from University of Toledo, and his Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill. He completed his athletic training residency at Texas Health Sports Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas, and was an athletic trainer at West Virginia University, working with the baseball and volleyball teams.  

He is a certified athletic trainer, licensed athletic trainer in North Carolina and a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Dr. Devon Werner, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy and Director of Clinical Education

Dr. Devon Werner is certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties as a Clinical Specialist in neurological physical therapy. As director of Clinical Education in HPU’s Department of Physical Therapy, her primary responsibilities are to serve as the liaison between the program and clinical education affiliates and cultivate sustained and mutually beneficial clinical partnerships while advocating for the student in both settings.

She completed her Bachelor of Arts in history at Rutgers University and subsequently went on to receive her doctorate of physical therapy from the joint program with Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Werner’s primary research interests encompass the realm of critical care medicine and rehabilitation. She began her clinical work in the acute and critical care setting at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro. There, she served as a member of the Traumatic Brain Injury team and has presented Schwartz Rounds topics related to patient experiences, end of life care and social impact of health care disparities.

Additionally, she is a credentialed clinical instructor and has received many accolades for her work in clinical education, including Outstanding Clinical Instructor of the Year in 2018, Carolina Clinical Education Consortium’s Clinical Instructor of the Year 2019 for Methodist University, and University of North Carolina’s Mabel Parker Outstanding Clinical Instructor Award for recognition of the outstanding contribution to the advancement of clinical education in physical therapy.

“My teaching philosophy is anchored on the concept of meeting the students where they are, guiding them to the tools they need, and empowering them to believe that they will make a difference,” says Werner.

Dr. Jeffrey Taylor, Associate Professor and Chair of HPU’s Department of Physical Therapy

Dr. Jeffrey Taylor served on HPU’s Department of Physical Therapy leadership team from 2012-2019 as the director of clinical education and the director of curriculum and outcomes. He took on the role of chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center before returning to HPU in 2020.

Taylor has earned degrees from the University of Delaware (bachelor’s degree in biological sciences), Duke University (doctor of physical therapy) and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Ph.D. in kinesiology/applied neuromechanics). He completed the American Physical Therapy Association’s Educational Leadership Institute Fellowship.

As a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy, Taylor has an extensive clinical and research background that has focused on the prevention and rehabilitation of lower extremity athletic injuries. Specifically, he has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and adidas International to study the prevention of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in adolescent female athletes and the effects of shoe design on athlete biomechanics.

Taylor has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers, four book chapters and more than 95 conference abstracts. He is especially passionate about including students in his work and has mentored more than 30 undergraduate and graduate level students, which resulted in students co-authoring more than 70% of his conference abstracts and more than 35% of his peer-reviewed papers. He has presented his work nationally and internationally at conferences such as the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Annual Meeting, Footwear Biomechanics Symposium, World Congress of Biomechanics and ACL Research Retreat.

Dr. Malia Blue, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science

As an assistant professor of exercise science in the Congdon School of Health Sciences, Dr. Malia Blue is teaching exercise physiology and human physiology courses and laboratories. Her areas of expertise include body composition in clinical and athletic populations, high intensity interval training and minority health.

She received her bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science, master’s degree in exercise physiology and Ph.D. in human movement science, all from UNC-Chapel Hill. She previously worked as director of community health for Gaston County Schools, where she managed physical activity and nutrition grants for the district. Blue also worked as a clinical trials coordinator at the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, where she primarily worked with Lupus patients on clinical drug trials.

“I hope to challenge students to think deeply about exercise physiology to see how it can be utilized and incorporated into various health fields and in their daily lives,” says Blue.

Dr. Don Goss, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy

Dr. Don Goss is teaching evidence based practice I and II, professionalism and leadership I, and musculoskeletal II courses. His area of expertise is focused on running injury prevention and treatment for injured runners.

In addition to his time spent as an Army Officer and physical therapist, he taught two years at the Army-Baylor Department of Physical Therapy program and directed the second ever Division I Sports Physical Therapy Fellowship at Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point, New York, for five years. He completed a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology from Denison University, master’s and doctoral degrees in physical therapy from Baylor University, and a Ph.D. in Human Movement Science from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is board certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy since 2002 and a Certified Athletic Trainer since 2003.

“In addition to focusing on the content, we discuss emotional intelligence, speed of trust and leadership stories from my 25-year career as an Army Officer,” says Goss. “In addition to the physical therapy basic knowledge, I hope my students learn the interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence that will prepare them for their future roles as physical therapists working with patients. At this extraordinary Premier Life Skills University, I believe it is important to have daily conversations about interpersonal skills, professionalism and leadership, in addition to the course content.”

Dr. Brittany Macon-Davis, Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies

Dr. Brittany Macon-Davis teaches pharmacology lectures to physician assistant graduate students and is part of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies’ admissions committee in HPU’s Congdon School of Health Sciences.

She has a strong background in solid tumor oncology, which she practiced for four years.  

Macon-Davis attended Duke University for physician assistant school. Immediately after graduating, she participated in a one-year hospitalist medicine fellowship program at Atrium Healthcare. Subsequently, she was offered a job on the Inpatient Solid Tumor Consult Service for Levine Cancer Institute. It was during this career that she developed her love for teaching and preempting learners of all kinds, from Advanced Practice Provider students to residents. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in radiologic science from UNC-Chapel Hill, master’s degree in health science from Duke University and a doctorate of medical science from Lynchburg University.

“I hope to share my love for learning by explaining the ‘why’ behind everything we do,” says Macon-Davis. “I want to teach students how to become excellent clinicians by being able to relate and to explain to their patients their decision making. I hope the use of my clinical experiences inspires them to become the best providers that they can be.”

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