As the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences gears up for its second year and the addition of new programs and students, new faculty continue to enrich the academic experience.
Among the new hires is Lisa Burns, assistant professor in the occupational therapy (OT) program. Burns earned her PhD in human development from Marywood University in Scranton, PA, where she was awarded the William G. McGowan Medal for Excellence in Doctoral Studies. She has been a practicing occupational therapist for more than 20 years, 12 of those as the OT academic fieldwork coordinator at the University of Scranton. Burns is active in numerous professional organizations and presented both nationally and regionally on teaching and learning theory and practice in occupational therapy.
Also new to MDCHS this year is Dr. Benjamin G. Farley, who joins the Master of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) program. Farley received his MD from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed his postgraduate training at the Wyoming Valley Family Practice Residency in Kingston, PA, where he was awarded two scholarships and a resident teacher award by the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. After moving to the Shenandoah Valley, Farley practiced medicine at Augusta Health Family Practice and then Augusta Health. During his tenure at Augusta Health, he was vice chair and chair of the medical department. Farley currently practices at Staunton Medical Associates and will be working with Murphy Deming PA students when classes begin in January teaching the clinical reasoning course and serving as preceptor.
MDCHS this year also welcomed Don Solimini, assistant professor and director of academic education for the PA program. A Connecticut native who graduated from St. Louis University’s PA Program in Missouri, Solimini was initially employed within the Veterans Administration Healthcare System. He transitioned into pediatrics and neonatology and spent 25 years as a senior pediatric physician assistant at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. His master in health administration is from Quinnipiac University, where he was a lecturer in pediatrics for 10 years. Solimini speaks locally and nationally for various PA organizations and has also been extensively involved with the Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants and is a Distinguished Fellow with the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Solimini was recently asked to serve as the sole PA on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Council on Immunization Practice Workgroup. He is passionate about global health missions to underserved countries and has made trips to Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.