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Sharon Luke Named Program Director of Physician Assistant Studies

February 20, 2008

lukesharonAs a result of a national search, Mount Union College has named Sharon Luke program director of physician assistant studies, Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of the College, has announced. 

In this role, Luke will be leading the College’s new Physician Assistant Program, the first master’s level program offered at Mount Union in nearly a century.

“This is an exciting time for us at Mount Union College,” said Giese.  “Not only are we planning for this innovative program that allows us to meet a growing demand across the nation, but we have the opportunity to do so while preparing students to be good communicators and caring humanitarians.  I believe Sharon Luke will instill in our students the importance of being both skilled medical practitioners and caring advocates for the patient, allowing us to fulfill our mission of preparing students for meaningful work, fulfilling lives, and responsible citizenship.”

Luke, a resident of Girard, comes to Mount Union from Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) where she has served as director of its Physician Assistant Program, a collaborative effort with Cleveland State University’s Master of Science in Health Sciences Program.  Prior to joining the faculty at Tri-C, Luke built an impressive resumé, combining years of teaching experience with hands-on knowledge gained as a practitioner.  She has served as a faculty member at Tri-C and as a clinical preceptor, both for the Physician Assistant Program, and taught Board Review Courses through the institution’s Continuing Education Program.  In addition, she taught microbiology courses at the University of Akron.

Prior to entering the classroom, Luke gained practical experience in a number of medical settings.  She began her career as a phlebotomist at Plasma Alliance in Akron and then joined the staff of the Cleveland Clinic, first as a neurosurgery research technologist and then as a DNA research technologist and cytogenetics technologist.  After completing the Physician Assistant Program at Tri-C, Luke served as a physician assistant for Dr. Adolph Harper, Jr. in Akron and then returned to the Cleveland Clinic to serve as a physician assistant in the Department of Palliative Medicine.

“We are extremely fortunate that Sharon Luke has agreed to come on board and lead our proposed Physician Assistant Program at Mount Union,” said Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College.  “She definitely brings invaluable experience in program direction to the table.  More importantly, though, our students will benefit immensely from her experience as both an educator and a practitioner.”

Luke earned a bachelor of science degree in the natural sciences (biology) from the University of Akron in 1986.  After completing some graduate-level coursework in microbiology and molecular biology at the University of Akron, she earned an associate of applied science degree from the CAAHEP-accredited Physician Assistant Program at Tri-C in 1996 and a master of science degree in health sciences from Cleveland State University in 2006.

A member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and Ohio Association of Physician Assistants, Luke is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCA) and licensed by the State of Ohio Medical Board as a physician assistant.  

Luke was appointed to the Faculty Development Institute and the Research and Data Committee of the Physician Assistant Education Association and also serves as a site administrator for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARC-PA).

As the program director at Mount Union, Luke will be charged with the development and implementation of the curriculum for the new program.  Initial efforts will include working through ARC-PA accreditation, admitting the first class of students and providing leadership for all aspects of program development. Luke also will be responsible for some classroom and laboratory instruction, student advising, program evaluation, small group facilitation, scholarly activity and committee involvement.

“I can’t think of an opportunity more exciting than my new role at Mount Union, which allows me to be involved in the development of a new program from the ground up,” said Luke.  “I have spent the majority of my professional career in the medical field, and the demand and potential I have seen for physician assistants is incredible.  Mount Union seized a phenomenal opportunity to be the first to bring this program not only to the Stark County area, but to a liberal-arts based college in northeast Ohio.  I am extremely grateful to be part of it.”

Plans for the Physician Assistant Program include the enrollment of 25-30 students each year who will earn master of science degrees upon completion of two years of coursework and clinicals.  Luke will begin her responsibilities at Mount Union this spring and the program is scheduled to welcome its first students in May of 2009.

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