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DHPE Advances Dr. Karen Manitsas’ Career as Assistant Professor and PA

Karen Manitsas, DHPE (’19), MS was among Logan’s first graduating class in the Doctorate of Health Professions Education (DHPE) degree program.

Currently a physician assistant (PA) at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, California, Dr. Manitsas also serves as an assistant professor at her alma mater, Samuel Merritt University (SMU), in the PA program. There, she teaches medical ethics and evidence-based practice courses and assists students in preparing for their national board exams.

After being hired as an assistant professor at SMU, Dr. Manitsas realized her desire to further her own education. She knew she wanted to pursue a doctorate degree in health care-focused education but was unsure which type of program would benefit her the most.

“I had been researching several doctoral programs but wanted to choose a program that I felt was functional, meaning the content taught in the classes would be directly applicable to my work in education,” Dr. Manitsas said. “After finding out Logan’s DHPE curriculum of courses included learning theories, cognitive psychology of instruction, educational technology, assessment, curriculum development, diversity, and instructional design, I immediately knew it was the right program for me.”

At this point, Logan had just recently launched their fully online DHPE program, making it perfectly accessible for Dr. Manitsas.

“For me, Logan checked all the boxes with a curriculum that met my personal and professional needs, a feasible cost of attendance, a nationally accredited program, and an online delivery which would allow me to progress through the program by setting my own schedule during the week,” she said.

Dr. Manitsas especially enjoyed collaborating with her peers in the DHPE program, which is committed to interdisciplinary education. She worked with professionals from several disciplines and backgrounds, allowing her to learn even more than what the curriculum and instructors offered.

“The DHPE program began benefitting my career even before I graduated. Being an online student made me a better online teacher and enabled me to convert the curriculum for two of the classes I teach to an online learning format,” said Dr. Manitsas. “Additionally, the research I completed in the DHPE program helped SMU’s PA program receive additional funding to provide all clinical year students with a computer-based, self-testing program to better prepare for the national board examinations.”

A strong advocate for Logan’s DHPE program, Dr. Manitsas encourages anyone looking to pursue an advanced degree in education for health professionals to look deeply into the curriculum offered.

“Earning a doctoral degree is tough, so it’s important to make sure you are excited and passionate about the work you’ll be required to complete,” Dr. Manitsas said. “Do your research, find a program you love and jump in. You’ll be glad you did.”