Leadership Essentials Lab Experts

Learn more about the experienced PA educators facilitating the Leadership Essentials Lab.

Dr. Asprey currently serves as Associate Dean for Medical Education and Professional Programs at the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. In addition, he is Professor and Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and Services and was appointed as the Denis R. Oliver Endowed Chair. He holds secondary appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitative Sciences. His academic background includes Bachelor’s degrees from Bethel University and from the University of Iowa Physician Assistant Program, a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design and Technology and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Iowa.  

He has served on the national board of the Physician Assistant Education Association including a term as President and was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry (ACTPCMD) where he served as the Vice Chair. He served as a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Governance and Financing of Graduate Medical Education. He served 9 years as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Physician Assistant Education. He is the recipient of several awards including the Ben Pardini Interdisciplinary Teaching Award, the Physician Assistant Education Association’s Master Faculty Award, Bethel University Alumnus of the Year Award, and the President and Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest award for teaching at the University of Iowa. 

Dr. Stephanie Bowlin has 35 years of experience in PA education and leadership and has served the profession in various capacities. Formerly the PA Program Director at Western University of Health Sciences, a tenured associate professor, and the former chair of ARC-PA, she also contributed as a site visitor, consultant for PAEA, and reviewer for the PAEA Journal. In 1998, she earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of La Verne. Dr. Bowlin’s distinguished career includes being the first woman of color to hold the title of Physician Assistant with a doctorate in California.

For two decades, she served as the Dean of the College of Health Sciences, overseeing programs with impressive retention rates and board scores. Transitioning to central administration, she now serves as the Senior Vice President of Special Projects, reporting to the President and Provost of Western University of Health Sciences. Additionally, she presently serves as assistant team chair for WSCUC and a consultant with Massey and Associates, LLC, and has served in various leadership roles in CAPA, AAPA, and PAEA. Recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Dr. Bowlin aims to leave a lasting legacy of leadership and excellence in PA education. 

Jonathan Bowser is serving in his thirteenth year as Associate Dean and Program Director of the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Program at the University of Colorado. He received bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Clark University in 1987 and a master’s in Cell and Molecular Biology from Colorado State University in 1997.  He graduated from the University of Colorado Physician Assistant Program in 2001.   

Mr. Bowser’s scholarly interests are in the areas of curriculum design, testing and assessment and he has been involved with national efforts to promote oral health in primary care. He served for six years on the PAEA Board of Directors and was PAEA President in 2019. Mr. Bowser has served on a number of national committees and facilitated national workshops. He has delivered presentations on topics ranging from curriculum design to simulation and global projects.  In addition, he has been the recipient of several grants and national awards.   

Dr. Kim Cavanagh is the dean of the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences at Gannon University. She previously served as department chair of the Gannon University Physician Assistant Department and the Associate Dean of the School of Medical Sciences and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. She has been in higher education for over 20 years, including various leadership roles at both Gannon and the Duke University Physician Assistant program. 

Dr. Cavanagh received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Siena College, her PA certificate from Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, a master’s from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a Doctor of Health Science degree from Nova Southeastern University.  

Dr. Cavanagh is a distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and serves on the board of directors for the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Area Health Education Center. She served the PA Education Association (PAEA) for 20 years including her most recent service as the assessment editor-in-chief for the PA Education Association from 2017-2024.  

William (“Bill”) Kohlhepp, DHSc, PA-C has been a physician assistant for more than 45 years, having graduated in 1979 from UMDNJ/Rutgers PA Program in New Jersey.  

Dr. Kohlhepp recently retired from Quinnipiac having been awarded the title of Professor Emeritus of PA Studies. He has been involved for almost 25 years in higher education leadership, beginning in the physician assistant program in 1996 as academic coordinator progressing through to become Associate Director of the graduate PA program in 2002 and then the Director of Undergraduate PA Education in 2007. He then joined the Deans Office of the School of Health Sciences in 2010 where he served as Associate Dean for three years. Beginning in 2014, he served for a short time as Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs before becoming Dean of the Quinnipiac University School of Health Sciences in 2015, a position he held for five years.  

Dr. Kohlhepp has been active in the leadership of national professional organizations of the PA profession since serving as National Student Secretary in 1978. He currently serves as PAHx Secretary/Treasurer. He has also served as President of the PA Education Association (PAEA). He is a Past President of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), Past Speaker of the AAPA House of Delegates, and Past Chair of the AAPA Board. He has also served as Chair of the NCCPA Board. He was also twice President of the Connecticut Academy of PAs (ConnAPA).  

Prior to entering academia, Dr. Kohlhepp was a clinically practicing PA and practice administrator. He initially worked in emergency medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was then employed by a pre-paid group practice, working clinically for six years before being promoted to Health Center Manager. After that, he established and then ran a thriving hospital-based occupational medicine practice serving over 300 area companies.  

He holds a Doctorate in Health Sciences from Nova Southeastern University (2007) and a Masters in Health Administration from Quinnipiac University (1997). He also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Connecticut (1974).  

He has published numerous articles on clinical and professional topics in the leading journals and texts of the PA profession. He has testified before Congress twice. In 2005, he testified before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Workforce Protections on behalf of the AAPA regarding “Improving Access to Workers’ Compensation for Injured Federal Workers Act”.  

Dr. Kohlhepp received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PAEA in 2020.  

PA History Society Bio: https://pahx.org/assistants/kohlhepp-william-c/  

Stephane  VanderMeulen, MA, MPAS, PA-C is Chair of the Department of Health Professions at the Creighton University School of Medicine and Program Director of the Creighton PA program in Omaha, Nebraska. She led the successful development, implementation and accreditation of Creighton’s two separately-accredited PA programs in Omaha and Phoenix. Ms. VanderMeulen is a Past President of the PAEA Board of Directors and has served as a volunteer leader in many capacities at the state and national levels. Stephane is passionate about developing aspiring leaders and was the 2022 recipient of PAEA’s Leadership Development Award.   

Dr. Villarreal is currently the Associate Dean and Founding Program Director at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Physician Assistant Program where he is currently being considered for a faculty appointment. Immediately before his work at UCSD, he was the Department Chair and Program Director of the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, where he held a Full Clinical Professor appointment. He joined NAU in 2017 after a twenty-year academic career in south Texas. He has been a board-certified, licensed, and practicing PA, and a professional PA educator for over 25 years.

He completed a Doctorate of Medical Science (2020) at the University of Lynchburg in Lynchburg, Virginia. He earned EdD-ABD status in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas-Pan American (2010). He holds a masters degree equivalent Certificate of Completion in Physician Associate Studies from the Yale University School of Medicine (1997) and a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from University of Texas-Pan American (2010), respectively.

He’s well-known for his accomplishments in educational technology, and was instrumental in garnering the coveted Apple Distinguished Program Award for the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Texas-Pan American (2013) and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (2015). Individually, he was awarded the Apple Distinguished Educator designation in 2015. He was awarded for his teaching accomplishments with the university-wide award for Teaching Excellence at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (2016). His career as a board-certified, licensed, practicing PA earned the distinguished fellow designation of the American Academy of Physician Assistants in 2015.

He has extensive leadership experience serving on numerous boards and committees, including the Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants serving as director at large, secretary, vice president, and president for two terms over 14 years. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors for the Texas Physician Assistant Foundation, the Valley AIDS Council in South Texas, and the Awards Committee Chair for the PA Education Association. He recently served as the Executive Secretary for the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants after completing a two-year term as a director at large.  

His scholarly interests include educational technology, curriculum design, learning theory, and educational opportunities for marginalized and disadvantaged populations.