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New Leadership and Promotions in DeSales PA Program

by Lina Barbieri, Associate VP of Annual Giving Oct 5, 2021
Gambet Center Aerial View

Four DeSales Physician Assistant Program graduates have been promoted to new positions in the PA Program.

They are: Class of 2004, Melissa Brown, MSPAS, PA-C, named Director of Didactic Education; Class of 2005,  Bobbie Morici, MSPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, named Assistant Program Director; Class of 2006, Wendi Hontz,  MPH, MSPAS, PA-C , named Director of Clinical Education; and Class of 2011, Alan Heckman, MSPAS, PA-C, named Chair of the Medical Studies major, the undergraduate program 

In addition, Kathy Ehrhardt, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA, a 24-year veteran of the program, was recently promoted to Program Director.

“I am very proud to serve as the Program Director for the DeSales PA program. I am excited that we have been able to promote four faculty in our program to leadership roles, all being DeSales Physician Assistant Program graduates. This will allow us to continue to provide quality education to our students. Our students do exceptionally well in passing their boards with a greater than 99% first-time pass rate since the start of the program in 1997. Graduates continue to provide quality care to their patients across the country.”

Kathy Ehrhardt is a physician assistant who has worked in women’s health for more than 30 years. She has worked in both obstetrics and gynecology as well as gynecologic oncology. Currently, Kathy does volunteer clinical work for the DeSales Free Clinic. She graduated from St. Francis University Physician Assistant Program in 1990 and received her Master of Medical Studies from the same university in 1994. She was elected to the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s Quakertown Hospital in 2011 and serves as vice president of the Board and chair of the Quality Committee. Kathy also serves on the DeSales Free Clinic Board of Advisors since 2007. In 2016, Kathy was elected to serve on the nccPA Health Foundation Board of Directors, and currently serves as the secretary of the board. She has received many awards including the DeSales Provost’s Faculty Excellence Award in 2020, Educator of the Year from the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA) in 2016, Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants in 2016. Kathy has also served on the test writing committee of PACKRAT and has been in the House of Delegates of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) representing the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA). Additionally Kathy has enjoyed speaking at the international, national, state, and local levels on women’s health and PA education.

Bobbie Morici has been an NCCPA certified physician assistant since 2005. She completed her bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University in nutrition science and her master’s degree in physician assistant studies from DeSales University. She has practiced in internal medicine at Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network since graduation.   She has managed patients in the inpatient, outpatient, and nursing home settings. Bobbie joined the DeSales PA Program in July 2012 as a clinical coordinator and was named director of clinical education in January 2014. She is a member of the Physician Assistant Education Association, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants.  She has presented professionally on the local and national levels and has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Journal of Physician Assistant Education.

Melissa Brown is a board certified physician assistant. Melissa has worked in family practice/internal medicine since 2004, where she continues to practice clinically. She joined DeSales University as a clinical coordinator in 2013, transitioning to Assistant Professor in the didactic year in 2017. Melissa serves as a clinical preceptor and volunteers at the DeSales Free Clinic at the Allentown Rescue Mission. She also serves on a Physician Assistant Education Association End of Rotation Exam writing committee.  Melissa has presented professionally on the state and national level.  She has contributed to the development of new interprofessional education (IPE) experiences, researched the utilization of IPE in PA education, and published articles on this topic.

Wendi A. Hontz is a board certified physician assistant and joined the DeSales faculty as a clinical coordinator in 2014. Since graduation she has been practicing clinically in the field of otolaryngology, and she continues to see patients one day each week at LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat - Pond Road. Prior to becoming a physician assistant, Wendi worked in the field of public health for a county health department, non-profit organization, and in corporate wellness.

Alan Heckman is a board certified physician assistant and joined the DeSales faculty in 2013. His clinical experience includes emergency medicine, family medicine, cardiothoracic surgery, and critical care. In addition, Alan is a certified paramedic and has worked in the EMS community for over 20 years.  Academically, Alan has published in multiple textbooks, including textbooks of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and has presented at local, state, and national conferences.