Faculty & Staff

Physician Assistant Studies program faculty and staff. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Chair and Founding Program Director, Professor

Julie B. Keena, DHSc, PA-C

Dr. Julie Keena

jkeena@brenau.edu
tel: +1-678-971-1848

  • Graduated from Agnes Scott College in 1985
  • Earned PA certificate and MMSc in critical care medicine from Emory University in 1987
  • Completed post-graduate residency in neurosurgery at University of Miami/JMH in 1989
  • Earned DHSc from AT Still University in 2013
  • Clinical PA in neurosurgery and neurology at UM/JMH 1988-1997
  • Joined academia at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in February 1997
    • Held many positions over 18 year period; led successful NSU PA program start up for NSU PA Program Fort Myers in 2004
    • Over 13 years of experience as department chair and/or program director
  • Assistant director at the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) from 2015-2019
    • ARC-PA site visitor since 2002
  • Teaching philosophy based on Chinese Proverb: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I may understand.”

Assistant Program Director/Associate Professor

Kyrus Patch, DHSc, PA-C

Dr. Kyrus Patch

kpatch@brenau.edu
tel: +1-770-297-5860

  • Graduated from Alderson-Broaddus College with BS in medical science (PA degree), 1977
  • Earned MSc degree from Alderson-Broaddus College in 2007
  • Earned DHSc from AT Still University in 2015
  • Extensive clinical PA career:
    • Rural Ohio outpatient facility and even made house calls
    • Snowshoe Ski Resort in WV as senior medical officer
    • Cardiology Department in WV during “off-season”
    • Walt Disney World house call medical officer
    • Urgent care/family practice setting in Naples and Ft. Myers Beach
  • Began academic career in 2007, holding many positions over 12 year period; last 4 years were as program director at Nova Southeastern University
  • Dr. Patch aspires to teach a new generation of Physician Assistants to be knowledgeable, compassionate, professional and accomplished individuals she likes to call “Renaissance PAs.”

Medical Director/Associate Professor

J. Allen Butts, Jr, MD, FACS

abutts@brenau.edu
tel: +1-678-971-1830

  • Graduated from Emory University with BA in chemistry/philosophy, 1984
  • Earned MD from Emory University in 1988
  • Completed surgical residency at University of Tennessee School of Medicine, Memphis TN 1988-1993
  • Board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery
  • Served as a preceptor for PA students in general surgery from 1994-2016
  • Past-president of Longstreet Clinic, Gainesville, GA
  • Past chief of surgery at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, GA
  • Currently participates in GME training of surgical residents at Northeast Georgia Health System in the simulation lab
  • Extensive career as board certified general surgeon in Gainesville, GA from 1993-2016
  • Served as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Reserves
  • Teaching philosophy based on Albert Einstein quote:If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Director of Didactic Education/Assistant Professor

Neena Xavier, MD

Dr. Neena Xavier

nxavier@brenau.edu
tel: +1-770-297-5943

  • Graduated from Vanderbilt Medical School in 2009
  • Double board certified in internal medicine and endocrinology, lipids and metabolism
  • After three years in private practice, joined the PA program at University of Alabama at Birmingham where she served as the clinical medicine and clinical simulation course director
  • Teaching philosophy centers on experiential learning
    • Developed active learning opportunities including service learning, case-based learning and interprofessional simulation
  • Implemented service learning opportunity providing free wellness screening for the male homeless population in Birmingham
    • Awarded national 2018 American Association of Clinical Endocrinology Outstanding Service Award for the Promotion of Endocrine Health in an Underserved Population for this work
  • Chosen as a 2019 Harvard Macy Medical Educator Fellow to study outcomes in service learning in PA education
  • Received a nationally competitive research grant from the Engaged Scholarship Consortium

Director of Clinical Education/Associate Professor

Heather Brown, DMSc, PA-C

Heather Brown

hbrown5@brenau.edu
tel: +1-770-297-5942

  • Graduated from Western Maryland College in 1995 with a BS in Clinical Psychology
  • Earned PA certificate and MS in Health Sciences from The George Washington University in 2000
  • Earned DMSc from University of Lynchburg in 2019
  • Clinically practicing PA in Emergency Medicine/Urgent Care for over 20 years
    • Practiced in the Washington, DC area in Emergency Medicine until 2011
    • Continues to practice currently in Emergency Medicine/Urgent Care in the Atlanta area
  • Assistant Professor/Adjunct Assistant Professor with Mercer University Department of Physician Assistant Studies from 2011-2020
  • Published articles in many peer-reviewed journals on clinical, legal and advocacy topics
  • Delivered national and international presentations and professional development workshops
  • Teaching philosophy based on inspiring students to embody the principle of lifelong learning and is best summed up in a quote from the Irish poet W.B. Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.”

Principal Faculty/Associate Professor, Chair, Committee on Admissions

Jerry Erickson, Jr., DMSc, PA-C

Jerry Erickson

jerickson2@brenau.edu
tel: +1-770-297-5941

  • US Army medic 1990-1998, active duty and National Guard
  • Graduated from University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1997 with a B.S. in Biology
  • Earned PA Certificate & MMSc from Emory University in 2003
  • Earned DMSc degree from University of Lynchburg in 2019
  • Clinically practicing PA in Family Medicine/ Urgent Care
    • FQHC/CHC in North Georgia with National Health Service Corps
  • Began PA academic career full time in 2012 serving at three institutions in different roles
  • Longstanding service to professional PA organization at state and national levels including:
    • GAPA, AAPA, PA Foundation, FCPA, ADPA
  • Teaching philosophy based on beneficence and paying it forward with making a difference best summed up in a quote from the late Jackie Robinsons: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Principal Faculty/Assistant Professor

Colleen McCoy, MPAS, MHPB, PA-C

Colleen McCoy

cmccoy1@brenau.edu
tel: +1-770-297-5949

  • Graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Psychology, 2002
  • Completed a Master of Arts in Health Promotion and Behavior from The University of Georgia, 2006
  • Received a Master of PA Studies from Georgia Regents University, 2014
  • Clinically practicing PA with over 3 years of experience in Family Medicine and almost four years of experience in Urology

Instructional Faculty/Associate Professor of Anatomy and Genetics

Gregory P. Marshall II, PhD

Greg Marshall

gmarshall@brenau.edu
tel: +1-770-297-5458

  • B.S. in Biology – St Andrews Presbyterian College, 1998
  • Ph.D. in Genetics – University of Florida College of Medicine, 2005
  • Postdoctoral Research – University of Florida, Departments of Anatomy and Physiology and Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, 2005 – 2012
  • Research Assistant Scientist – University of Florida, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, 2012
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Physiology – Santa Fe College, Sciences for Health Programs, 2013
  • Senior Scientist and NIH-funded Principal Investigator – OneVax, LLC, 2013 – 2020
  • Joined Brenau University in 2020 as Associate Professor of Anatomy and Genetics
  • “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” – Edward Everett

Office Manager

Hollie Eldridge

Hollie Elderidge

heldridge@brenau.edu
tel: +1-770-297-5844

  • Joined Brenau University’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies in September 2019
  • Currently pursuing a business degree with Brenau University
  • Contributes over 12 years of administrative experience in office management; led her previous company to success
  • Self-starter, ready to take the lead on projects and see them through to completion
  • Always relishes the challenge of learning new software or applications and as technology changes, she is one of the first to adopt and embrace new skills
  • Committed to making sure our students’ experience in our program is the best it can be

Clinical Support Coordinator

Pete Keys

Pete Keys

pkeys1@brenau.edu
tel: +1-770-297-5461

  • 2008 business graduate of Brenau
  • Returned to serve as staff in Brenau’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies in October 2019
  • Retired from the military after 21 years
  • Brings over 18 years of health care experience with Northeast Georgia Health System and Southeast Health
  • Active volunteer in Georgia Society of Healthcare Materials Management and the Association for Healthcare Resource Materials Management
  • Active community volunteer serving at North Georgia Works
  • Certified Materials Resource Professional
  • 2021 January received Fellowship in AHRMM
  • Served as purchasing manager for Southeast Health