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Physician Assistant Director Steve Martin Earns Doctorate During Health Emergency

MC physician assistant director Dr. Steve Martin
MC physician assistant director Dr. Steve Martin

Steve Martin is a successful multi-tasker. He adeptly juggled duties as director of Mississippi College’s physician assistant program, while earning a doctorate in educational leadership.

Also advising President Blake Thompson and others this Spring regarding the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Martin managed to stay focused on earning his degree at the Christian university.

No doubt, the effort put his time management skills to the test. The MC administrator proved to be a proficient leader on and off the Clinton campus.

“We are so proud of the example that Steve has set,” said School of Education Dean Cindy Melton. “He, like many others, already had a full plate of responsibilities. He has not slacked up or slowed down in his work. He has put his hand to the plow and dug in.”

Dr. Martin leads Mississippi’s first physician assistant program that began in 2011. The 30-month program enrolls 90 graduate students training to become medical professionals under the supervision of physicians.

The Mississippian stays in close contact with MC graduates working as physician assistants across America. In recent weeks, many of the PA grads are assigned to medical facilities to treat and test COVID-19 patients.

Martin appreciates their dedicated service at hospitals stretching from New York City, the epicenter of the health emergency, to Tacoma, Washington. He’s proud of the current crop of students and welcomes the newest graduate students at Mississippi College. The newest cohort class of 36 students begins this month as the Class of 2022.

He never seems to rest as an administrator. “Steve has a remarkable work ethic and a wonderful contagious positive attitude. We are grateful for the leadership he is providing,” Melton said.

Recently, President Thomson selected Dr. Martin and School of Nursing Dean Kimberly Sharp to co-chair a coronavirus task force. The MC Medical Crisis Response Task Force (one of five groups named) will produce recommendations addressing the university’s response to the deadly virus.

Martin just plunges ahead with new duties during this unprecedented health crisis. The task force he co-chairs will produce recommendations designed to keep the campus healthy by preventing the COVID-19 disease. The panel will also respond to the possibility of reported COVID-19 disease at the Baptist-affiliated university.

Finishing work on his doctorate during these critical challenges wasn’t easy.

He’s invested long hours on his School of Education studies most weekends and many evenings since January. His dissertation topic is titled “Perceptions of Suicide Among High School Teachers in Central Mississippi School Districts.”

His academic work, he said, is designed to further guide the improvement of school suicide prevention programs.

While working hard to complete his doctorate, the sudden arrival of the global health crisis made matters “incredibly difficult,” Martin said. “But God has been my strength and has helped me through every step of the way.”

As a new member of the Class of 2020, Dr. Martin is thankful for the “wonderful support from the School of Education and many others at Mississippi College.”

Mississippi College physician assistant graduate Joseph Kotnour says Dr. Martin is not only an effective administrator, but a first-class professor as well.

“Dr. Martin does a great job to make education fun and interactive, with his own twist to it. He always will throw jokes into the mix helping make even the most mundane lectures fun,” Kotnour says.

Treating COVID-19 patients at a New Jersey hospital in early May, Kotnour notes Dr. Martin shared valuable career lessons with students. “He brought experiences from medical disaster relief which has inspired many of us to help in such times.”