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Physician Assistant Program

Faculty & Staff

"We believe that a Christian learning environment that integrates the principles of leading and serving will prepare PAs to give incredible care to their patients and be advocates for the PA profession." – PA Faculty & Staff



Gabrielle Poole, PA-C

Program Director
Phone: 843.863.7427

Gabrielle Poole PA-C graduated from Wofford College in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree and earned her Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  She began her career as a PA in an Urgent Care in Anderson, South Carolina after graduation from the program in 2009.  When her husband, who is also a PA, had an opportunity to move to Charleston to advance his career, she took a position with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at MUSC where she most recently served as the outpatient clinical PA for the Total Joint Replacement Program for four years. She comes to Charleston Southern University as the Founding Program Director for the Physician Assistant Program and is honored to be a part of a program dedicated to academic excellence for PA students in a Christian environment.

Director Poole served on the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (SCAPA) for 7 years, including a two-year term as President and most recently serving as the Past President.  She was recently honored as the 2015 South Carolina PA of the Year for her work with SCAPA. She and her husband have had honor and the privilege to serve on and lead medical mission trips to South Africa and Togo, West Africa since their time as PA students, and she currently holds a position with Seacoast Church as the Director of Global Missions Training.


Jamie Downs, MD

Medical Director
Phone: 843.863.7427

Jamie Downs, MD is the Medical Director of the Physician Assistant Program.  In addition to serving as the Medical Director for the program, he continues to practice clinically as a Forensic Pathology Consultant, as he has for over a quarter century. Dr. Downs was Director of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences and oversaw the state of Alabama’s forensic laboratory system while also serving as the state’s first Chief Medical Examiner. Dr. Downs graduated from the University of Georgia and received his Doctor of Medicine degree, Medical Residency training in Anatomic & Clinical Pathology, & Fellowship in Forensic Pathology from the Medical University of South Carolina.  Dr. Downs was the pathologist on the first capital murder DNA trial in the history of South Carolina. His professional activities have included service on numerous professional boards and committees. For over a decade, Dr. Downs taught Forensic Autopsy Pathology for the Mercer University School of Medicine and South University (Savannah), the latter for whom he also taught the Autopsy & Clinical Pathology course for their PA Program.

Dr. Downs has lectured hundreds of times and has presented at numerous national and international meetings in the fields of Anatomic and Forensic Pathology, including at the National Forensic Academy and at the FBI’s National Academy. His audiences have included law enforcement, social services, attorneys (prosecution and defense), judges, university undergraduate and pre-professional students, medical personnel, and graduate medical audiences. Areas of special interest include ethics, asphyxiation, child and elder abuse, and police use of force. He has testified in numerous state and federal courts, the US Military Justice System, before committees of both the US Senate and House of Representatives, and before the National Commission on Forensic Sciences.


Scott Wade, PA-C

Director of Didactic Education
Phone: 843.863.7427

Scott Wade PA-C joins Charleston Southern University after retiring from a 25-year military career. He earned his Bachelor of Physician Assistant Studies in 2003 from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program through the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Medicine, and he earned his Master of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Medicine in 2005. Scott’s medical career has included time in in Guam, Virginia, Texas, New Mexico, Iraq and Afghanistan before moving to South Carolina in 2008. 

Professor Wade's background in medicine includes Family Medicine, Aerospace and Occupational Medicine, Urgent Care, Emergency Medicine, and Pain Management. His experience includes serving as a medical advisor to the Iraqi Air Force Surgeon General on the development of military medical operations, advising and mentoring the Afghanistan Army Medical Service, and organizing an Afghan civilian and military medical assistance program to provide care for underserved citizens.  He is an active medical missionary in the Dominican Republic. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and a member of the South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants.


Meredith Strehle, FACHE

Director of Clinical Education
Phone: 843.863.7427

Meredith Strehle graduated from College of Charleston with a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Minor in health. She is a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Masters in Health Administration program, and upon graduation, she completed an administrative fellowship at The Medical University of South Carolina Hospital. Meredith has been in healthcare since 1998.  Her experience is in hospital and outpatient program development, project management, and strategy. She also has experience in academia—teaching project management and strategy in the Masters of Health Administration program.

Professor Strehle serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the South Carolina Chapter of American College of Healthcare Executives, where she is also a fellow. She was awarded an ACHE Service award in 2015 in recognition of her dedication to students' professional growth and commitment to the healthcare management profession through the performance of activities that further professional excellence.  Also in 2015, she was selected as one of Charleston’s "Top Forty Under 40,” and last year she received SC ACHE Regent Award as the 2016 Early Career Healthcare Executive.

She has a passion for mentoring the next generation and providing real-world examples from her career to bring the message to life in the classroom.


Sara Wiskow Dungan, PA-C, AT Ret.

Phone: 843.863.7427

Sara Dungan, PA-C joins Charleston Southern University after a varied clinical career.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in 2000 from the University of North Dakota.  She went on to complete a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Northern Colorado in 2003, while serving as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer.  Part of her duties included teaching physical examination and rehabilitation techniques in their undergraduate AT program.  She then spent 3 years as a Staff Athletic Trainer at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she served as Adjunct Faculty in the AT program at nearby Dominican College. 

In 2008 she graduated from The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences with her Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies.  After graduation she joined the Army serving as a Battalion PA with the 25th Infantry Division.  During her service, she deployed to Iraq twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.  In addition to focused work in field trauma, medical readiness, and medical logistics, she was responsible for oversight and training of her unit medics as well as having the opportunity to teach BLS skills to Iraqi firefighters, facilitating their training and rebuilding efforts.   

Professor Dungan’s background includes Urgent Care, Emergency and Internal Medicine, Urology and Pediatric Critical Care.  She has spent time in the Philippines assisting in cranio-facial repair procedures and medical outreach to underserved communities.  She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and a retired Athletic Trainer.  She is proud to be a part of a program dedicated to achieving academic excellence and serving as an educator and mentor for PA students in a Christian environment.


Josh Kerns, MD

Associate Professor of Biology
Phone: 843.863.7427


Dr. Joshua Kerns received his Doctor of Medicine from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 2003.  He has been in the medical field for 18 years during which time he worked in an Intensive Care Unit, served in the United States Army as a Medical Service Corps officer in Iraq, and worked for a physician recruiting firm.  He is currently an Associate Professor at Charleston Southern University in the Department of Biology and has taught at CSU since 2013. Dr. Kerns will be joining the Physician Assistant Program as an adjunct faculty member this year.  He will be teaching Human Anatomy and the Basic Science courses for our students and is excited to be a part of the program’s founding team.  When Dr. Kerns is not teaching in the classroom or the lab, you will find him spending time with his wife and kids at the playground or beach.



Heather Lane

Admission & Program Coordinator
Phone: 843.863.7451

Heather Lane graduated from Charleston Southern University in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts in Youth Ministry.  When she and her husband moved back to Charleston in 2013, she accepted a job as the Executive Assistant for the School of Business and fell in love with academia as she really enjoyed the opportunity to support professors and mentor students. Heather was the first full-time staff person for the PA Program and has played an integral role in supporting the development of the PA Program through policy development and the accreditation process. She now serves as our Admissions and Program Coordinator for the PA Program at CSU.


Jessica Morris

Executive Assistant to Program Director
Phone: 843.863.7427

Jessica Morris is a 2009 graduate of Ohio Northern University where she received her Bachelors of Arts in Youth Ministry. She and her family just recently relocated back to Charleston from Asheville, NC as her husband accepted a position with Charleston Southern University as well. She is excited to be a part of the Physician Assistant Program and is looking forward to serving as support for both faculty and students. When Jessica is not at work, she loves spending time at the beach with her husband, son, and their two dogs.





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