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Faculty

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Edward Williams, MPAS, M.Ed., PA-C
Chair, Department of Physician Assistant Studies
Director, Physician Assistant Program

Professor Williams hails from Montgomery, Alabama and joined the U.S. Army in 1991 as a Combat Medic.  During his time as a medic, he developed a passion for training and education. In 2001, Professor Williams was accepted into the Army’s Physician Assistant Program.  He graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 2003 from The University of Nebraska then later earned his Masters of Science in the same field in 2004 with a specialty in Family Practice.  In June of 2012, Professor Williams earned his Master’s in Education from the University of Phoenix while stationed in South Korea.

During his service in the Army, he was awarded many awards and decorations to include the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Legion of Merit. As a Physician Assistant, he has served as the Medical Officer for several battalions and also served as the Officer in Charge of a Troop Medical Clinic in South Korea. Professor Williams retired from the Army after 22 years of service and then worked in a  family practice clinic in San Antonio, Texas. Edward has been married for 19 years to his wife, Jill, and has two children, Drew and Lauren.

Professor Williams is fulfilling a long term goal of instructing on a professional level.  He is eager to impart his medical knowledge to future Physician Assistants and believes it is important to give back to the Physician Assistant profession that continues to give so much to those in need.


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Gloria Richard-Davis, MD, FACOG
Medical Director of Physician Assistant Studies

Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1982 and received her Bachelors of Science Degree from Southern University in 1977.  She completed her Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and her Internship in Transitional Medicine from Madigan Army Medical, Tacoma, WA.

Dr. Richard-Davis served in the Army Medical Corp for 4 years.  She was a clinical instructor at the University of Washington and Wayne State University in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for 4 years.  She was an Assistant Professor, Clinical Professor and Assistant Dean at Tulane University School of Medicine for 13 years. From 2007 – 2013, she served as Chief of the Veteran Women Reproductive Services at Tennessee Valley Hospital Veteran Authorities, Chief of Service of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Nashville General Hospital, Associate Director at Center for Women’s Health Research and Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Meharry Medical College.  Dr. Richard Davis came to UAMS in January 2013 as Division Director, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


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Nadja Vawryk Button, MHS, PA-C
Director of Assessment, Assistant Professor

Before becoming a Physician Assistant, Ms. Vawryk Button worked for twenty years in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as an Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic, was an EMS educator, and regional EMS Quality Improvement Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Health Services. She completed a Master of Science degree at Towson University in Instructional Technology.

She attended the Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania where she attained a Master of Health Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies. Upon graduation she practiced in family practice as a National Health Services Corps (NHSC) tuition reimbursement recipient in rural St. Francis Kansas. She stayed on beyond her service obligation, practicing for six years, and continues to serve a NHSC Ambassador. While there, she implemented and managed the clinic’s Electronic Medical Records program.

Upon leaving Kansas she became involved in Physician Assistant education for four years at the Mercer University PA Program where she served as the Clinical Coordinator and Quality Enhancement and Technology coordinator, managing the PA program educational administration and testing databases. Most recently, before joining UAMS, she practiced clinically as an Emergency Department PA in rural Georgia.

Ms. Vawryk Button is excited to now join the UAMS Physician Assistant faculty and hopes to share her clinical knowledge of family practice and emergency medicine, her interest in quality enhancement and technology, and her calling to care for citizens in rural communities. She looks forward to participating in the growth of this developing program into what will undoubtedly be one of the premier PA programs in the nation.


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Melissa Clark, Pharm.D., M.P.H.
Director of Didactic Education, Assistant Professor

Dr. Melissa Clark graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in May 2014 earning both a doctorate in Pharmacy as well as a Master in Public Health.  She has lived in central Arkansas since 2004 when her family moved to Little Rock from Suwanee, Georgia, part of the Metro-Atlanta area.

During her time as a dual-degree student at UAMS, she spent many hours volunteering at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center (a student-run, interprofessional, free clinic).  She completed her culminating experience project at the center where she initiated the evaluation of a patient’s health literacy status, which would influence the way the professional students communicate with the patient.

After graduation she accepted an ambulatory care residency position with the UAMS College of Pharmacy with a significant amount of time dedicated to the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center.  During her time as a resident she helped the center become a Vaccines for Children provider, implement a patient-centered, interprofessional diabetes education class held at the center, as well as other UAMS clinics, and saw the center provide dental services for the first time.

Dr. Clark began teaching in the UAMS Physician Assistant Program while earning a teaching certificate as part of the residency program and is excited to continue teaching with the program as a full-time faculty member.  Along with teaching responsibilities, she will help coordinate the service learning portion of the curriculum. With her enthusiasm for interprofessional education, Dr. Clark continues to volunteer at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center and actively promote interprofessional education on the UAMS campus.


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Tiffany Huitt, Ph.D.
Director of Research, Assistant Professor

Dr. Huitt received her PhD degree in Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Huitt was a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellow at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where she studied the neural connectivity of Childhood Absence Epilepsy using advanced neuroimaging techniques including magnetoencephalography.

Dr. Huitt returned to Arkansas in 2010 as faculty in the Department of Physical Therapy at University of Central Arkansas, where she coordinated Gross Anatomy, Human Physiology, Research and team-taught Neuroscience. She also served as a Dissertation Committee Chair in the area of Team Based Learning.

As Assistant Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, Dr. Huitt is course coordinator for gross anatomy, physiology and is involved in several other courses throughout the curriculum. Her current research interests include 1) understanding neural connectivity in normal and disease states, and exploring methods of measuring and modulating neural activity within specific brain regions with the aim of enhancing treatment options in different patient populations; 2) assessing the efficacy of novel and varied pedagogical models in professional education.



Ashley McCrary, MPAS, PA-C
Director of Clinical Education, Assistant Professor

Ashley McCrary graduated from Northeastern State University with her Bachelors in Biology. She then obtained her Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from UAMS and was a part of the inaugural class. After obtaining her national certification, Ashley has worked full time in Urgent Care and Emergency Medicine. Ashley joined the program as an adjunct faculty member in February of 2017.

She has always enjoyed being a part of the program here at UAMS and is looking forward to helping educate future Physician Assistants. In her spare time Ashley enjoys spending time with her husband and their 2 dogs, exercising, reading, and get-togethers with family.


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Vania Naydenova, M.D., MBA
Director of Clinical Education, Assistant Professor

Dr. Vania Naydenova has earned her medical degree and the fellowship degrees in Otorhinolaryngology and Occupational Medicine at the Medical Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria. She worked as an Otorhinolaryngologist and Otoneurologist at the Medical Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria for the Otolaryngology Department as well as the Occupational Medicine Department. When she came to the United States, she earned an MBA degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. This allowed her to work as a medical legal consultant for a law firm in Knoxville, TN in the medical malpractice area.

Dr. Naydenova was employed with South College in Knoxville, TN as an Associate Professor. She was involved with the Health Science Department and the Physician Assistant program teaching Human Anatomy and Physiology, ENT, Pathophysiology, and Physiology courses for the these programs. Prior to coming to UAMS, Dr. Naydenova was on the faculty of the physician assistant program at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, MI.

Dr. Naydenova’s research interests are in the areas of otoneurological and hearing aspects of the effects of vibrations and high-pitch sounds on the vestibular and hearing apparatus.


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Amber Teigen, MMSc, PA-C
Director of Didactic Education, Assistant Professor

Professor Amber Teigen attended Wake Forest University for her undergraduate studies and received a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science. She continued her education at Saint Louis University, earning a Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies. Upon obtaining her national certification, she worked in a private practice orthopedic surgery clinic for a year, then was employed by Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis in the Department of Interventional Radiology. During her employment at Washington University, she implemented an Interventional Radiology elective rotation for Physician Assistant students from Saint Louis University and acted as preceptor for these students. She also served on the Admissions Committee for the Saint Louis University Physician Assistant Program and was an Adjunct Professor for the program shortly before joining the University of Arkansas for Medical Science Physician Assistant Studies Program as full-time faculty.

She joined the UAMS Physician Assistant Program faculty in March 2016 as Assistant Professor and then became Co-Director of Didactic Education. She is excited for the opportunities associated with the UAMS Physician Assistant Program and plans to continue to develop as an educator, further her education, and begin research. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, geocaching, outdoor activities, and also considers herself a voracious reader.


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Chelsey Trout, M.S., PA-C
Assistant Professor

Professor Trout completed her undergraduate studies at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin where she studied psychology and biochemistry.  She obtained her Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, Illinois.  After graduating and obtaining NCCPA credentials, she practiced in internal medicine with a focus on physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain relieving interventions.  Professor Trout joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Physician Assistant program faculty September 2016.

Professor Trout has a deep passion about educating the next generation of Physician Assistants especially in relation to interdisciplinary teamwork and unbiased care for patients.  She enjoys interacting with students and community members including time at the 12th Street Health and Wellness Center student run clinic.  In her off time, Professor Trout enjoys spending time with her husband ballroom dancing, hiking, kayaking, biking, camping and reading.


Heather Trudeau, MPAS, PA-C
Assistant Professor

Heather received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a major in nutrition. She worked as a registered dietitian, specializing in renal nutrition, at several dialysis centers in North Carolina, and then Utah. In Utah, she also worked as the Chief Clinical Dietitian for a small hospital.

Heather had known since her early college years that she ultimately wanted to become a Physician Assistant. She was pleased to be accepted into the University of Utah’s Physician Assistant Program, and graduated with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies in 2006. She returned to her home state of Michigan, and worked at a family practice clinic for over 10 years. She enjoyed working with patients of all ages, with an emphasis in women’s health.

Heather, and her husband, Christopher Trudeau, were honored to both take faculty position at UAMS in July of 2017. Heather has always considered herself a lifelong learner, and is excited to use that love of learning and past experiences to educate future Physician Assistants. After working in a state with a high ratio of Physician Assistants to the general population, she is also excited to help promote the Physician Assistant profession in Arkansas to help it flourish. Outside of work, Heather enjoys spending time with family, reading, running, travel, and teaching group fitness classes.


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Benjamin Willett, PA-C
Director of Admissions, Assistant Professor

Professor Willett received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ and a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Pace University in New York, NY.

He served in the United States Army for three years as a Physician Assistant specializing in primary care at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Most recently, Professor Willett worked as a Physician Assistant in the Burn Unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.


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Linda Haubenstein
Assistant to the Chair

Linda Gammon Haubenstein, originally from New Orleans, LA, joined the UAMS Physician Assistant Staff in January 2013. She moved from Davenport, IA where she worked for the Genesis Health Services Foundation, Genesis Medical Center, for 12 years. Linda is married to Kurt J. Haubenstein and they have three children.


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LaDonna Walton
Administrative Analyst

LaDonna Walton attended Henderson State University and continued her education at Remington College where she received a degree in Medical Assistant and Office Management.  I have a passion for people where I can offer support for a bigger picture to become better.   I devoted my past experiences working as Court Liaison and Therapeutic Operation Specialist, counseling with clients with Drug and Alcohol addiction.  I am happy to be part of UAMS working in College of Health Professions in the Physician Assistant program as an Administrative Analyst.