Physician Assistant Faculty


Adjunct Faculty


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Darci Brown, MSPAS, PA-C
Interim Program Director
Director of Clinical Education
Phone: 570-674-3061

Darci Brown, MSPAS, PA-C, is responsible for the oversight of the MSPAS program and participates in financial planning, development and continuous review and analysis of program operations. Any issues which cannot be resolved to your satisfaction with a course instructor or your faculty advisor should be brought to the Program Director’s attention.

Professor Brown, is a board-certified physician assistant with 20 years of clinical practice, laboratory testing, and management experience.

Professor Brown has also been a representative for the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants for the past six years and continues to practice clinically with experience in family medicine, orthopedics and plastic surgery.

National Committees
Darci Brown was appointed to the PAEA finance committee (2013-2017)

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Stanley J. Dudrick, MD, FACS
Medical Director

The Medical Director, Stanley J. Dudrick, MD, FACS, is responsible for ensuring that classroom instruction and clinical experiences provide an appropriate level of instruction for students in the MSPAS program.

Dr. Dudrick, who holds the Robert S. Anderson, MD, Endowed Chair at Misericordia, is recognized throughout the world for his pioneering research in basic investigative development and subsequent successful clinical application of total parenteral nutrition (TPN), a central venous feeding technique that has been acknowledged as one of the four most significant accomplishments in the history of modern surgery, together with the discovery and development of asepsis and antisepsis, antibiotic therapy, and anesthesia. Dr. Dudrick brings to the proposed program a 40-year history in medical education and research, including leading appointments in the Yale School of Medicine, the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and the Pennsylvania Hospital. He retains an appointment as Professor of Surgery in the Yale University School of Medicine, and he is Director Emeritus of the Program in Surgery and Graduate Medical Education, and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Surgery, at Saint Mary’s Hospital, in Waterbury, CT. Dr. Dudrick’s list of published works numbers over 700, and his record of including students in research and publication is well-known.

Dr. Dudrick completed his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; his internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; his residencies at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Certified by the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Dudrick served this distinguished organization continuously for 26 years as an Examiner, Director of the Board, and a Senior Board Member. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and serves as a member of their 21st Century Board. He has served on 15 editorial boards, including the Annals of Surgery. He is a member of more than 100 academic, honorary, professional, and scientific societies, and he has been awarded more than 100 other honors, including the American College of Surgeons Jacobson Innovation Award; and the American Surgical Association Medallion for Scientific Achievement for Distinguished Service to Surgery. Yale University has invested him with the Honorary Degree of Master of Arts, and Misericordia University has invested him with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for his extraordinary contributions to surgery and nutrition.

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Abigail Davis, MPAS, PA-C
Director of Didactic Education

The Director of Didactic Education is Professor Abigail Davis MPAS, PA-C. Professor Davis graduated from Marywood University in 2005 with a Bachelor Degree of Health Science and a Master's degree in Physician Assistant studies. Immediately after graduation she began working in emergency medicine at a Level 2 trauma center emergency room. She has been practicing emergency medicine for the past seven years. During those years, she has been a clinical preceptor to Physician Assistant students from multiple programs in the area. Professor Davis has been a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants for the past 3 years as well as the American Academy of Physician Assistants for the past eight years and volunteers at her son’s elementary school. She continues to practice emergency medicine part-time and lives in Dunmore with her husband and three children.

National Committees

Abigail Davis was appointed to the PAEA End of Rotation Exam Test Question Writing Committee for a Two Year Term (2013-2015)

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Diane McAvoy, MS, PA-C
Clinical Coordinator

Diane McAvoy, MS, PA-C serves as the Assistant Director of Didactic Education. Professor McAvoy received a Bachelor Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from King’s College in 1994 and a Master Degree in Advanced Physician Assistant Studies from A.T. Still University in 2010. For the past 20 years, she has remained board certified and practiced in rehabilitation medicine as well as outpatient medicine. For the past three years, she has served as the lead Physician Assistant in a Volunteers in Medicine clinic, serving the uninsured population of Columbia and Montour Counties. In addition to her clinical experience, Professor McAvoy has held a position as Adjunct Faculty in the Physician Assistant program at the Pennsylvania College of Technology and been a clinical preceptor for students enrolled in various medical disciplines.

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Jennifer Arnold, MHS, PA-C
Assistant Didactic Professor

Jennifer Arnold, MHS, PA-C is a board certified physician assistant with over 16 years of experience. Professor Arnold serves as Assistant Professor for the didactic year of the program and teaches in Clinical Medicine, Patient Assessment, Special Populations, Medical Procedures/ Surgery, and Emergency Medicine. Professor Arnold graduated from Arcadia University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science and from Hahnemann University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. She graduated and then went on to earn her Master of Health Science degree from Drexel University in 2003. She has been practicing clinically as a Cardiothoracic surgery PA for the past 12 years in hospital systems that include University of Pennsylvania, Main-line Healthcare, and Einstein Medical Center. Throughout her time working clinically, she has precepted PA students from various programs throughout the Philadelphia area. She is a clinical trainer for endoscopic vessel harvesting and also proficient in the mini surgical maze procedure for atrial fibrillation. She is also a study coordinator at Einstein Medical Center for the right sided ventricular assist device trial. Jen has co-authored journal articles as well as written two chapters in a physician assistant board review book. She serves on the test writing committee at the NCCPA for the CAQ exam for pa's in CT surgery. Jen and her husband reside in their home that they built together on Lewis Lake in Union Dale, PA.

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Anthony Serino, Ph.D.
Chairperson of Biology
Associate Professor of Biology
Phone: 570-674-6259

Dr. Anthony A. Serino Ph.D. is the Chairperson of the Biology Department and is an Associate Professor at Misericordia. Dr. Serino received his BS in Biology and his MS in Biochemistry from the University of Scranton in 1984 and 1987, respectively. In 1991, he earned his Ph.D. in Physiology from The Pennsylvania State University.

During his graduate tenure, Dr. Serino was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Aging. His dissertation research focused on nucleoprotein metabolism of aging mice. The bulk of this research was published and entitled “Age, Strain and Semi chronic Hydergine Treatment Effects on Motor Activity and Neuronal Nucleic Acid-Protein Metabolism in Male Mice”. (Life Sciences: 67(2000)) His research interests include physiological changes found in aging populations, pedagogy of both teaching and outreach techniques, muscle development of the hatching chick, fish adaptations to low pH environments, population changes in small mammals associated with gas drilling operations and correlation studies between the presence of pathology and normal aging biomarkers in human cadavers.

Dr. Serino’s teaching responsibilities include anatomy and physiology, general physiology, comparative anatomy, histology, gross anatomy and general biology. In addition, he has been elected ten times to the Who’s Who of American College Professors. And, he has received the Judge Max and Tillie Rosenn Endowed Excellence in Teaching Award at Misericordia University in 2005.

Dr. Serino is the Director of the Clinical Laboratory Science (Medical Technology) Program at MU, and maintains affiliation agreements with several Clinical Laboratory Science centers throughout Pennsylvania and serves as the Pre-medicine Director for the University. In addition, Dr. Serino received a Strategic Initiative Grant in 2002 to found and direct the Science Education Enhancement Program (SEEP).

This active outreach program provides elementary and secondary teachers with demonstrations and hands-on activities at their schools or as field trips to MU laboratories to encourage and promote active learning of basic science. The SEEP program interacts with more than 1000 young students a year at more than 10 school districts in NE Pennsylvania.

Dr. Serino maintains a residence in Shavertown, PA with his wife and four children.

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Angela Asirvatham, B.V.Sc. Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Phone: (570) 674-8002

Dr. Angela Asirvatham Ph.D. is an Associate Professor for the Biology Department at Misericordia University. Her education includes a B.V.Sc., (Bachelor of Veterinary Sciences, Tamilnadu Veterinary & Animal Sciences University) from Chennai, India and a M.S. in Reproductive Biology from the University of Wyoming as well as a Ph.D. in Physiology from Kent State University. Her postdoctoral work includes Pulmonary Physiology at University of California and signal transduction in T-lymphocytes at Oregon Health Sciences University.

Dr. Asirvatham’s research interest is signal transduction in Schwann cells. Her research interests are primarily focused on A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) that play an important role in anchoring protein kinase A in various organelles of the cell. Protein kinase A is a broad spectrum kinase that binds cyclic AMP, the universal second messenger in the cell. I am currently interested in the role of A-kinase anchoring protein in Schwann cell proliferation. Schwann cells myelinate the peripheral neurons and myelin is important for rapid conduction of nerve impulses. Treatment of neonatal Schwann cells with heregulin (a growth factor secreted by neurons) and forskolin (a pharmacological agent that stimulates the cAMP pathways results in a synergistic proliferative response. I have found that AKAPs are involved in this synergistic response. Investigation of signaling pathways that stimulate Schwann cell proliferation has important applications for demyelinating disorders such as multiple sclerosis and nerve injuries in the peripheral nervous system. Dr. Asirvatham teaches Immunology, General Physiology and Endocrinology and will be teaching Pathophysiology I and II in the PA program.

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Frank DiPino Jr., Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Phone: (570) 674-6457

Dr. Frank DiPino Jr., Ph.D. is a Professor for the Biology Department at Misericordia University. Dr. DiPino received his PhD in Biology from Marquette University. His research area is in DNA interactions. He has worked in clinical human cytogenetics at State University of New York Upstate Medical Center and Valley Children's Hospital, Fresno California. He is a previous Chair of the Biology Department and the Division of Mathematical and Natural Sciences at Misericordia University. He teaches courses in Molecular Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Molecular Genetics and Human Genetics.

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Christopher J. DeFrancesco
Professor of Pharmacology

Dr. Christopher J. DeFrancesco, Pharm. D., received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1994 from The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and doctorate in 2011 from Shenandoah University. He maintains a practice site at Rite Aid Pharmacy in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania with a focus on wellness, including adult immunizations. Dr. De Francesco also serves as adjunct faculty at Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and Nursing. He will be teaching Pharmacology for the PA program. In his free time he likes spending time outdoors and in the company of family and friends.

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Scott L. Massey
Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Massey completed his Physician Assistant training at Kettering College in 1987, and he holds an MS in Counseling Psychology from University of Dayton and a PhD in leadership from Andrew University. Dr. Massey is a 2008 graduate of the Management Development Program at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He brings 20 years of Physician Assistant clinical and educational experience to Misericordia. Prior to assuming his position here as Program Director of the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and Founding Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, he spent five years at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) as Associate Dean and then Dean of the School of Physician Assistant Studies at MCPHS’ campuses in Manchester, NH, and Worcester, MA, and as Assistant Provost of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies.

Dr. Massey is co-author of Classroom to Clinic Study System: Personal Professor for Clinical Rotations and PANCE/PANRE Review, released in December 2010. In addition, on the national level Dr. Massey has 10 peer-reviewed research articles, five published abstracts, six paper presentations, three invited workshops, and over 30 podium presentations (see faculty research website). Dr. Massey was elected to the PAEA Board of Directors to the position of Dir. at large for a two-year term (2013-2015).

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Kathryn Michael
Department Administrative Assistant
Phone: (570) 674-6716

Kathryn Michael received her B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources from Susquehanna University. She worked 4 years as an office manager for Rave Landscaping, Inc.; 2 years as an office manager for Country Market Nursery; 2 years as an assistant office manager of McNaughton Company and 2 years as a registrar of IES, a non-profit teacher placement organization. Kathryn reports to the Chair of the PA Studies Department and provides support to the PA Studies medical director, students, faculty, and adjuncts as the Department Administrative Assistant.