Meet the Team
Gerald Kayingo, PhD, MMSc, PA-C
Executive Director, Assistant Dean and Professor
Gerald Kayingo is the executive director of the Physician Assistant Leadership and Learning Academy (PALLA) and an assistant dean and professor at the graduate school at the University of Maryland. Professor Kayingo previously worked at the University of California Davis where he served in various capacities including director of the Master of Health Services-PA program. Prior to his UC Davis appointment in 2014, he was a faculty member at the Yale School of Medicine Physician Associate Program and practiced at the Yale New Haven Hospital Primary Care Center in Connecticut. Kayingo has extensive experience in scholarship, education, leadership, clinical practice and global health. His research interests relate to health professions education, health systems science, and the intersection of infectious diseases and substance use disorders. (addiction). His clinical interests are in primary care settings as well as advancing rural and global health.
He is a graduate of the Harvard Management Development Program (MDP) following a Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant Degree at Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut and a Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology from Orange Free State University in South Africa. He completed his postdoctoral education in Infectious Diseases at Yale University School of Medicine, where he studied microbial pathogenesis, membrane transport and signal transduction. He is in the process of completing his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, specializing in strategic leadership and management.
Nationally, Kayingo has served as a director at large on the PAEA Board of Directors, member of the editorial board for the Journal of Physician Assistant Education and associate editor of BMC Health Services Research. He was a pioneering member of the Commission on the Health of the Public and served on the national health disparities working group for the American Academy of Physician Assistants. He was recently inducted into the prestigious Uganda National Academy of Sciences. Kayingo has co-authored three books on health professions education and published extensively on health systems science and infectious diseases in peer reviewed journals. He is a recipient of several awards, including a university book prize, the 2016 PA Student Academy mentor award, the 2015 AAPA Research Publishing Award and the 2014 Jack Cole Society Award at Yale.
James F. Cawley, MPH, PA-C, DHL (hon)
Visiting Professor and Scholar-in-Residence
James Cawley is Visiting Professor and Scholar-in-Residence in the Physician Assistant Leadership and Learning Academy (PALLA) in the Graduate School at the University of Maryland Baltimore. He is also Professor of PA Practice in the College of Medicine at the Florida State University. Cawley worked for nearly 40 years at The George Washington University and is Professor Emeritus and past Chair of the Department of Prevention and Community Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at GW. He began his career as a primary care PA at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, earned his MPH in infectious disease epidemiology from the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and pursued doctoral study in health policy at The George Washington University. In 2013, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Cawley has also held faculty appointments on the PA faculty at Johns Hopkins, Stony Brook University, and Yale University School of Medicine. Cawley has co-authored five books on PAs and published extensively on the PA profession and health workforce policy. He is a past President of the Physician Assistant Education Association and has served as Senior Research Fellow at the American Academy of Physician Assistants In 2011 received the prestigious Eugene A. Stead Award of Achievement from the AAPA.
Shani Fleming, MS, MPH, PA-C
Shani Fleming has devoted her career to promoting cultural competence and addressing social justice within the healthcare community. Professor Fleming holds seventeen years of clinical experience as a Physician Assistant include working in family medicine, adolescent medicine, infectious disease, and urgent care. She teaches at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Graduate School PA program, serves as faculty in an intercultural leadership certificate program, and sits on the executive leadership team of the Physician Assistant Leadership and Learning Academy. Prof. Fleming has a tremendous amount of experience in academia, developing curriculum maps, course and instructional objectives, learning outcomes, and assessments aligned with PA program milestones, competencies, and graduate outcomes. She has Quality Matters certification for online learning management systems and experience teaching many online and web-enhanced courses. She is considered a diversity and inclusion leader within National and State organizations, reaching thousands of underrepresented racial and ethnic high school and college students advocating for inclusion, diversity, and equity in PA education. She advocates for faculty of color within PA programs and encourages inclusive and just environments for faculty, staff, and students. Prof. Fleming is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Karen L. Gordes, PhD, PT, DScPT
Chief Learning Director
Dr. Gordes is the Chief Learning Director for PALLA and a Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School at University of Maryland Baltimore. In her role, she collaborates with strategic partners to develop programs and initiatives for faculty development in the area of academic leadership across health profession education programs. Before coming to the Graduate School, Dr. Gordes served in a variety of administrative and faculty capacities at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. A licensed physical therapist for more than two decades, Karen also serves as Vice Chair of the Governor-appointed Maryland State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners. She is a 2018 recipient of the President's Interprofessional Education Scholar Award and the 2013 recipient of the Faculty of the Year Award, both at University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Gordes’s research interests include interdisciplinary education and the evaluation of strategies for promoting student academic success and retention in higher education. Dr. Gordes received her B.S., M.S. and Doctorate of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and her Ph.D. in Public Policy with a specialization in Evaluation and Analytical Methods, at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Erin Hagar, MA, MFA
Senior Academic Support Coordinator
Erin Hagar is an instructional designer who has worked in higher education for over twenty years. After teaching Spanish at American University, she held instructional design positions at the World Bank, Montgomery College, and Johns Hopkins University before finding her home at UMB. Her passions include helping faculty discover active learning strategies that work for them, designing authentic assessments that mirror the real-world application of knowledge, and the impact of the social and emotional environment on learning. On the PALLA team, Erin help design the curriculum for the PALLA fellows and provide input on faculty development activities for PA educators across the state.
Hyun-Jin Jun, PhD, MSW
Hyun-Jin Jun is an Assistant Professor of the Health Professions Education (HPE) program at the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) Graduate School. She completed her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) at Chung-Ang University in South Korea. She received her second MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work from the UMB where she served as a post-doctoral fellow.
Her research focuses primarily on the intersection of health, behavioral health, and associated addictive/risk behaviors in adolescents and adults, with particular attention towards implications for prevention. Specifically, she has been conducting research on complex relations among addictive/risk behaviors and health and mental health comorbidity. Her interests include enhancing capacity and competence for interdisciplinary health professions educators, scholars, and researchers to develop the skills needed for evidence-based teaching, research, and service expected of the professoriate. She is also interested in development, assessment, and evaluation of innovative educational curricula/programs. Her extensive interdisciplinary research experiences have given her a diverse set of methodological and analytical skills related to both qualitative and quantitative research.
Violet Kulo, MS, EdD
Dr. Kulo is an Associate Professor in the Health Professions Education program in the Graduate School at University of Maryland Baltimore. She collaborates with the Program Director to develop courses and advise learners in the program. Before coming to University of Maryland Baltimore, Violet worked at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for 9 years. She was responsible for overseeing curriculum mapping, medical student assessment and program evaluation in the pre-clinical curriculum. Dr. Kulo’s scholarly interests include preparing competent, effective, and exemplary interprofessional health professions educators, leaders, and researchers. Additionally, she is interested in fidelity of implementation and evaluation of innovative educational programs. She has been involved in numerous interdisciplinary collaborative research projects and co-authored various manuscripts and book chapters. Dr. Kulo received her B.Ed. in Mathematics and Economics from Moi University in Kenya, and her M.S. and Ed.D. in Instructional Design and Technology from Lehigh University.
Dixie Pennington, MSMS, CHSE, CHSOS
Director of Simulation, Senior Lecturer
Ms. Pennington serves as the Simulation Educator for the Physician Assistant Leadership and Learning Academy for the Graduate School at University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is responsible for the facilitation of simulation-based training and evaluation including the design and implementation of training protocols and assessment for physician assistant students. Prior to this, she was an integral part of the Standardized Patient Lab as a Simulation Training Specialist for the UMB School of Nursing. In this role, she was essential in the case planning, scenario design, Standardized Patient training, and evaluation of Standardized Patient portrayal to ensure quality, consistency, and standardization, tailored to meet learning objectives, competencies, and desired outcomes. She strives to ensure simulation is being designed and delivered according to the latest best practices. Ms. Pennington has 18+ years of medical experience in emergency room and operating room settings, and working as a public servant in various capacities, including EMS, fire, and police.
Pennington is a graduate of Drexel University, attaining her Master of Science degree in Medical and Healthcare Simulation. She has more than 7 years working in the medical simulation field in various roles and capacities, performing the duties of Lead Simulation Specialist for the Graduate Medical Education program at Florida Hospital Orlando and Director of Simulation and Interactive Technology for the College of Health Care Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. She is also a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, attaining her Bachelor of Science degree in ElectroMechanical Engineering Technology. Pennington is a member of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) and has attained qualifications as a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE), Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS), and TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer.
Gabrielle N. Ricks
Academic Program Coordinator
Gabrielle Ricks is an experienced Academic Program Coordinator with a demonstrated history working in higher education. She is a self-motivated learner skilled in relationship building, Microsoft Office suite, student management, academic advising, and customer service. Gabrielle earned a Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Union University. She aspires to make a positive impact in her community, while growing her diverse skill set.