New Faculty Join Growing Programs

April 28, 2014

Sherry Secrest, PA-C, MPAS  

Assistant Professor

Director of Clinical Education, Physician Assistant Program

Sherry Secrest received her BS degree in statistics from Virginia Tech in 1990 and began her career as an educator working as a process control and industrial engineer and corporate trainer. Her experience as a management consultant in the Carillion Health System included both clinical and administrative project development, data analysis, facilitation, and implementation. She obtained her PA bachelor’s degree from Jefferson College of Health Sciences in 2006. She then worked for two years in family and internal medicine. In 2011 she obtained a master’s in PA studies from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing her PhD in public health and epidemiology from Walden University. Since 2008, Secrest has been practicing in the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Medical System in Salem.  She is the women’s health and primary care coordinator and considered a subject matter expert called upon to teach others in the VA system. Her stated core values are “integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that I do.” Murphy Deming administrators are pleased to welcome Secrest, who possesses a passion for medicine and teaching along with an obvious true commitment to identifying and serving those in need.


Drew Strong, RN, MSN, (ABD)

Visiting Associate Professor

Director, RN to BSN

drew_strongDrew Strong received her associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) at Blue Ridge Community College, her RN to BSN at the University of Virginia, and master of science in nursing (nurse educator) at Old Dominion University. She is currently completing her Ed.D at Walden University in Higher Education and Adult Learning. Strong has taught full time since 2005 at Blue Ridge Community College, rising to an associate professor level. In addition to teaching, Strong has continued an active clinical agenda, practicing in a number of healthcare venues. She has presented regionally on a number of nursing topics and has focused her recent scholarship on internationalization and nursing curriculum. She is a reviewer for two publishing companies and a consultant/advisory member for a number of local healthcare/rehabilitation centers. Her understanding of the community college system, commitment to online teaching and a strong desire to create innovative programming for ADN nurses returning for their bachelor’s degrees make her a perfect candidate for the director position.


Bess Maxwell

Assistant Professor, Physical Therapy

Bess Maxwell received a master’s degree in physical education with a specialization in exercise physiology from Ball State University, a second master’s degree in physical therapy from Washington University School of Medicine, and a PhD from the University of Arizona in animal physiology/exercise physiology. She has been a practicing physical therapist for more than 15 years with a specialty in geriatrics and in fitness for individuals with life-long disability. She is an expert in aquatic therapy, presenting nationally on all aspects of this intervention technique and receiving over $2 million in grants to support aquatic therapy initiatives. She has published several research articles as well as training materials. Maxwell will complement the DPT program as the applied scientist. She is scheduled to teach Exercise Physiology, anatomy and physiology labs, and kinesiology courses in addition to supporting students in gaining aquatic therapeutic competencies.