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Meet the Faculty & Staff of the Tampa PA Program

The Faculty of the Tampa PA Program 


Jennifer Harrington


Jennifer Harrington, DMS, PA-C, DFAAPA

Assistant Dean, Program Director & Associate Professor

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 423.869.7106


  •   About

    For more than 12 years, Jennifer Harrington has been committed to academic and professional excellence at Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Sciences (SMS) Physician Assistant (PA) Programs. Dr. Harrington has over 23 years of clinical experience and 14 years of educational experience and has excelled in leadership and professional advocacy. She has used her clinical skills to care for underserved patients in homeless areas, rural Appalachia, inner city regions, and developing countries and has educated over 1,000 currently practicing Physician Assistants (PA).

    In PA education, Harrington held roles such as Didactic Director, Interprofessional Education Coordinator, International Medical Outreach Program Developer, Student Government Advisor, and Academic Coordinator. She has extensive experience in curriculum development and is most excited about the curriculum she designed to increase PA student propensity for serving the underserved.

    Dr. Harrington has spoken at state, national, and international conferences, been published in medical books and journals, and been a guest speaker on medical podcasts. Harrington served as an AAPA House of Delegates Representative and served in the PA Foundation's Nutritional Outreach Fellowship. She was selected as an AAPA Distinguished Fellow, an honor awarded to less than 2% of PAs. She also spearheaded an international medical outreach program where over 10,000 patients have been treated, and over 150 PA students and medical providers have participated.

Jeffrey Owens


Jeffrey Owens, DMSc, PA-C

Principal Faculty/Associate Program Director & Assistant Professor

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 813.331.4616



  •   About

    Jeffrey Owens joined Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Science (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant program in 2022 as the Associate Program Director and Assistant Professor. Dr. Owens has been a practicing Physician Assistant (PA) since 2014, working in Emergency Medicine, Trauma Surgery, Spine Surgery, and Urgent Care. Dr. Owens has held clinical leadership roles as a lead Advanced Practice Provider, where he focused on PA student rotations and experiences, developing onboarding programs, and facilitating interdepartmental relationships.

    Dr. Owens has been participating in the education of PA students since 2017. He served as a Clinical Coordinator and Instructor at Thomas Jefferson University, where he helped lead the clinical year cohort through the pandemic. He has experience recruiting and developing clinical sites, building clinical partner relationships, and developing clinical curricula. Owens is passionate about mentoring and leading students through their educational journey, focusing on helping them transition from student to clinician. 

Dorothy Allen

Dorothy Allen, MPAS, PA-C

Principal Faculty/Assistant Professor

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 813.331.4620 

  •   About

    Dorothy Allen joined Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Science (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) program in April 2022 as the Clinical Director and Assistant Professor. Allen has 12 years of experience in clinical practice. She has practiced in orthopedics, urgent Care, and aesthetics.

    Allen was delighted to join the Tampa PA program as founding Clinical Director. Since delving into PA education two years ago, she has served as didactic faculty, student government chair, diversity and inclusion chair, research committee member, and curriculum committee member. Allen has spoken at Continual Medical Education (CME) conferences and led several Orthopedic CME workshops. Her volunteer experiences include being a volunteer clinician at Free Clinic of America, a volunteer at Joshua House for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and a volunteer provider at the Under the Bridge program for homeless community members in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    Allen has held numerous positions with the Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA), including the Government Action Committee Chair, Chair of Student Affairs, Regional Director, Awards Committee Member, and Board member and  Vice President. She was involved in her state society for many years and received the TAPA PA of the Year Award in 2021 before moving to Florida to start her tenure with LMU SMS Tampa PA program. Allen is currently a Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA) member and serves on the FAPA Legislative Committee.

Rachel Cole


Rachel Cole, PharmD

Principal Faculty/Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 423.869.6085


  •   About

    Rachel Cole joined the Lincoln Memorial University School of Medical Sciences Harrogate Physician Assistant program in 2020 as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology. She transitioned to the LMU-Tampa PA program in 2022.

    Dr. Cole earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from South College School of Pharmacy in 2018. Pursuing her passion for education, Cole secured a PGY-1 Pharmacy Residency in June 2018, during which she completed a post-graduate curriculum of diverse clinical practice while teaching doctoral students. Since beginning her time as principal faculty at LMU, Dr.Cole has contributed to the work of the University's Interprofessional Education Committee in designing and implementing IPE across seven professional programs. This work led to the opportunity to present research at the 2022 PAEA Education Forum. She also published "A Pharmacist's Value in Primary Care" in TAPA's PA Pulse to highlight the role of her profession within the healthcare team. Dr. Cole sat on the Harrogate PA Program Admissions, Curriculum, and Evaluations and Outcomes Committees. She is excited to be selected as Chair of the LMU-Tampa PA Program's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She also serves as Chair of the School of Medical Sciences Policy Committee and on the Library and Learning Resources Committee for Lincoln Memorial University. 

    She is a proud member of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA), and the Tennessee Pharmacists Association (TPA). 

    Dr. Cole is passionate about travel and always has her next adventure in the works.  She relaxes and spends time with her friends and family when she's not traveling.

Agnes Compagnone

Agnes Compagnone, DMSc, PA-C

Principal Faculty/Assistant Professor

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 813.331.4656 

  •   About

    Agnes Compagnone joined the Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Sciences (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) Program in 2022 as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Compagnone has over 25 years of experience in healthcare. Her clinical experiences include urgent Care, family practice, preventive Care, and pediatrics medicine. In addition to her clinical experiences, Compagnone has held various positions in education, including a professor, clinical educator director, consultant, alumni liaison, and scholarly project advisor to a doctorate studies instructor.

    Dr. Compagnone has a diverse leadership and volunteer background. She served as President of the national PA Foundation and An Ounce of Prevention, Inc.,  chairing Women in Philanthropy and Gateways (a nationally recognized student leadership program), and as Deputy Mayor in her hometown of Beacon, New York. She has earned several prestigious awards for her contributions to the PA profession, including receiving the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) & Pfizer Innovations in Healthcare Award, and was inducted into the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) national honor society, Alpha Pi, for scholarship, service & leadership. 

    Compagnone received her initial PA training from Essex Community College. She continued her PA education, earning a Master of Science degree from Stony Brook University and obtaining her Doctor of Medical Science from Lynchburg University, concentrating on PA education and advanced executive leadership studies. Dr. Compagnone is passionate about teaching students and peers professional development and non-cognitive skills. She is also a huge sports fanatic, enjoys nature walks, and loves conversing with friends and colleagues over a good glass of wine or a hot cup of coffee.

Juan Grado

Juan R. Grado, DMS, PA-C

Principal Faculty/Assistant Professor

Email: [email protected]  

  •   About

    Juan Grado joined Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Sciences (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) program in 2022 after a 26-year career in the United States (US) Army. Grado earned the distinctive "Green Beret" of a Special Operations Medical Sergeant and worked in this capacity for the first 16 years of his military career until he was eventually commissioned as an Army Officer and became a Physician Assistant. During his military career, Grado served in numerous combat deployments in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Africa, all with the United States Special Operations Command (USSOC).

    Dr. Grado's military medical practice centered on emergency and trauma care for Joint Special Operations soldiers stateside and overseas. He served as a Damage Control Resuscitation and Damage Control Surgery medical provider, team leader, and troop commander for the Joint Medical Augmentation Unit (JMAU). He also served as a medical instructor at the Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center produces the world's finest Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Army Green Beret medics.

    The military provided Grado the opportunity to earn his Bachelor of Science and Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2013 and his Doctor of Medical Science in Emergency Medicine from Lincoln Memorial University in 2020. Dr. Grado is also a graduate of the Emergency Medicine Fellowship program through Atrium Health and the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Cheri Jrolf, DMSc, PA-C

Principal Faculty/Assistant Professor

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 813.331.4657


  •   About

    Cheri Jrolf is a Principal Faculty member who joined the Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Sciences (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) Program in January 2023. Dr. Jrolf has over 26 years of experience in primary and specialty care medicine and holds certifications in Basic Life Support. When she isn't hard at work performing administrative duties at the school, she enjoys traveling, taking photographs, and often spends her free time with her family.

    Dr. Jrolf's education includes a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas Physician Assistant School in 1996, a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska in 2002, and a Doctor of Medical Science degree from A.T. Still University. She is a proud member of the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA), Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA), and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Nathan Setka

Nathan M. Setka, MPAS, APA-C

Principal Faculty/Director of Didactic Education & Assistant Professor

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 813.331.4621

  •   About

    MAJ (Ret.) Nathan Setka joined Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Science (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) program in 2022 as the Director of Didactic Education and Assistant Professor. Setka has over 15 years of clinical experience. He received his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Wellness at Ball State University before attending the Interservice Physician Assistant Program, through which he obtained his Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

    Dr. Setka has extensive leadership experience, most of which he developed through his 28 years of military service with the U.S. Army. Setka previously held positions of Veteran Service Representative, Admissions Chair, American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) and Georgia Association of Physician Assistants (GAPA) Chair, Student Government Advisor, and Academic Coordinator. Clinically, he worked in Military Medicine, Aeromedical Medicine, Family Practice, ENT, and Urgent Care. After his retirement, he continued volunteering for the underserved population by serving on various medical missions for the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem, Georgia Special Olympics, and the Georgia Volunteer Health Care Program. Setka is an active member of AAPA, GAPA, and the Society of Army Physician Assistants (SAPA).

Nicole Shields

Nicole Shields, MD, FAAFP

Instructional Faculty/Medical Director & Associate Professor

Email: [email protected]  

  •   About

    Nicole Shields joined Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Science (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) program in 2022 as the Medical Director and an Associate Professor. Dr. Shields graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed Duke's Southern Regional AHEC Family Medicine Residency with special training in Clinical Leadership.

    Dr. Shields is passionate about primary care medicine and teaching. She prides herself on delivering quality, evidence-based primary care to her underserved rural Appalachia patients while teaching students. She has been dedicated to the medical education of graduates at Lincoln Memorial University for many years and remains active in education, primary care medicine, and the community. While a Florida native, Dr. Shields has called Tennessee home for over ten years.

Joan F. Ward, MS, PA-C

Principal Faculty/Associate Professor

Email: [email protected]  

  •   About

    Joan Ward joined Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Science (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) program in 2022 as an Associate Professor. Ward received her undergraduate degree from Cabrini College, a certificate program in Physician Assistant Studies at Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, and a Master's in Physician Assistant Studies at Philadelphia University (now Jefferson University). She has been in clinical practice for 22 years in various fields, including orthopedics, emergency medicine, internal medicine, primary Care, and gastroenterology.

    In addition to her passion for practicing medicine, Ward loves teaching. She has been a part of Physician Assistant education for 16 years holding various positions. She facilitated workshops for clinical coordinators, advanced clinical coordinators, and new program director retreats. Professor Ward has been a member of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Emergency Medicine/Surgery End of Rotation Exam Writing Committee for ten years.

    In her free time, Professor Ward has been a firefighter and emergency medical technician at the local fire company since the age of 17, where she worked through the ranks of various positions and continues to volunteer to give back to the community. She has participated in multiple presentations at the national Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Education Forum. Professor Ward is also fluent in sign language.


The Staff of the Tampa PA Program


Romelia Ker

Romelia Ker

Clinical Coordinator

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 813.331.4619


  •   About

    Romelia "Mel" Ker was born and raised in Malaysia, on the friendly island of Borneo. After graduating college in Kuala Lumpur, she moved to Canada. Ker lived in Montreal for a few years before taking a position at one of the oldest and largest international schools founded by the American Embassy in China. She lived in Beijing for 15 years and regularly traveled to the U.S. for work when she met her husband, Michael, in San Francisco, California. From California, Mel and Michael made their way to Denver, Colorado, in 2017 before landing in Florida's Treasure Coast during the middle of the pandemic in 2020 to be near the beach again.

    Ker joined the Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Sciences (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) program as the clinical coordinator in June 2022. Her 30 years of work experience and professions are in banking and finance, construction, education, and healthcare. Ker passion is in education and healthcare. She is excited to join the Tamps PA program as her role will allow her to be involved in education and healthcare.

    Ker speaks five languages and seven dialects. She has held several positions throughout her career where she was in charge of communications, events, alumni associations, orientation and transition for expat families, and volunteering at free clinics. While working in Beijing, she had the privilege of organizing and hosting events for well-known guests such as President Jimmy Carter, Head of NASA Charles Bolden, NFL legend Jerry Rice, NBA players Horace Grant and Yao Ming, ethologist and conservationist Jane Goodall, and Formula One champion Mika Hakkinen. 

    Ker enjoys movies, music, food, comedy clubs, interior decorating, and online shopping. Her favorite quote is "Leap, and the net will appear" by John Burroughs. She and Michael have two children and reside in Tampa with their two rescue dogs.

Susan Owens

Susan Owens

Admissions Coordinator

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 423.869.6669

  •   About

    Susan Owens has been a Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) employee for over 17 years, with 14 of those years working in Physician Assistant (PA) admissions. She attended LMU as a student in the early 1990s and then again in the early 2000s. Before gaining employment with LMU, Owens worked as a Human Resources Recruiter at DeRoyal Industries, a medical manufacturing company, in New Tazewell, Tennessee.

    Owens' professional philosophy is to work in a student-centered environment conducive to producing future healthcare professionals that will positively impact patient care. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and participating in outdoor activities. She is excited to be a member of the Tampa PA program.

Evan Sergent

Evan Sargent, MBA

Administrative Coordinator

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 813.331.4626


  •   About

    Evan Sargent joined the Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Sciences (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) program as an Administrative Coordinator. He gained various work and educational experiences since joining the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in 2011. With the Marine Corps, Sargent served as part of the Presidential Support Program in Washington D.C. before transferring to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he served for more than two years as an Infantry Squad Leader. After honorably separating from the Marine Corps in 2016.

    Sargent earned a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Central Florida before gaining work experience as the Athletic Supervisor for the City of Leesburg, Florida. He then attained his Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. In his off time, Evan enjoys spending time with his wife and their three animals (two dogs & one cat), planning vacations with friends and family, and enjoying his favorite music, sports, and tv shows/movies.

Mel Wright

Melgin Wright, BSN

Clinical Recruiter

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 813.331.4664

  •   About

    Melgin Wright, a Sydney, Australia native, joined Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) School of Medical Sciences (SMS) Tampa Physician Assistant (PA) program as a Clinical Recruiter in 2022. While residing in Sydney, Australia, Wright earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN) degree and worked in hospital settings as a Surgical and Trauma RN. She also has experience working in urgent care settings and outpatient surgery clinics. 

    Wright has a breadth of experience working with medical professionals and healthcare systems. She has worked alongside companies such as Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, MD Anderson, etc. Her most recent work experience was as Executive Search Consultant for Life Sciences, Biotech, and Pharmaceutical companies with Marcus & Associates. Wright's experience also includes working as a hospital liaison generating and managing leads in her designed referring hospitals. 

    Wright resides in Indian Shores beach with her husband, David, a Naval Officer stationed at MacDill AFB. Mel enjoys Fine Art and Walt Disney World and is a proud advocate for Breast Cancer Survivors and Military Veterans. She has three sons and two French bulldogs.