Dr. J. Victor Tovar, founder of PROMEDEUS, LLC, has a passion for assisting medical students with academic difficulties who are currently in or at risk for remediation or probation, or facing possible termination from medical school. During his medical school years, Dr. Tovar experienced what approximately more than 2-3% of U.S. medical students experience every year, Academic Difficulty (Actual Academic Difficulty Rates are higher according to literature search and surveys conducted). He knew that he had the mental capacity to succeed but needed assistance in uncovering the cause of the problem. He sought assistance from a physician mentor who had experienced difficulty in medical school and had overcome the challenge and become successful but failed to find a mentor. He experienced a paradigm shift by reinventing himself and developed a holistic and systematic approach getting to the core of the issue. As a result, he advanced to residency and was appointed Chief Resident and received awards for Leadership and Medical Student/Resident Teaching and is a successful licensed practicing physician.
Dr. J. Victor Tovar
Elizabeth G. Tovar
Elizabeth G. Tovar, PhD, APRN has been teaching and advising graduate and undergraduate nursing students for more than 10 years. She has worked with many students experiencing various levels of academic difficulty and helped them to develop study strategy and well balanced study schedules that include self-care activities. She has assisted a number of students with decisions regarding leave of absence/withdrawal, often in the context of personal crises, and the impact of decisions on their academic and professional career. Through her experience as faculty reviewing student appeals and making recommendations for remediation or dismissal, she knows firsthand the important steps that a student at academic risk needs to take as well as the characteristics of a student willing to do what it takes to succeed and one who is not. She is a strong advocate for the student, but also understands the faculty perspective and in this way is uniquely qualified to help the medical student at risk navigate this difficult situation and develop a strong plan for success.
Dr. Melodee Mancuso
Dr. Mancuso, the Chief Learning Specialist for PROMEDEUS, has a long history working with medical students in an academic setting, both as a colleague on the floor while working in the hospital and later as Director of Academic Support and Career Services in the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Her greatest joy has come from helping medical students succeed through the challenges of the medical school environment.She served as the frontline person to identify student learning issues; the ADA liaison for students with learning/emotional/physical disabilities; and coach for students facing committee requirements for academic difficulties. Dr. Mancuso’s experience of 25 years of experience crossing basic science research, teaching, practitioner, education specialist, and administrator has led her to have a perspective unique to assisting and advocating for the student in need.
Dr. Michelle Okoronkwo
Dr. Okoronkwo is an Internal Medicine resident in San Antonio Texas. She received her undergraduate degree in Economics from Emory University. As a recent medical school graduate, Dr. Okoronkwo is very in tune with the current standardized board exam style, and residency process. Having actually been a member of the admissions committee and interviewed applicants at her medical school, she has insight into what medical schools are looking for. She has helped many students navigate their way through each transition point, from pre-med to medical student, to residency. She has won multiple awards for her advising as a medical student; and has been praised for her detailed advice and strategies. Dr. Okoronkwo also experienced her own trials on her journey to becoming a doctor; she struggled with a low undergraduate GPA and low MCAT score, and was only accepted into one medical school. However she was able to redefine herself in medical school, and graduate with an excellent GPA and board scores well above the national average. She knows that she would not be where she is today without mentors helping to encourage her and advise her along the way and she is eager for her opportunity to pay it forward.
Dr. Bernard Clinkscale
S. Bernard Clinkscale, MD, MBA is an Academic Advising Specialist for PROMEDEUS. He lives by the motto “tough times don’t last but tough people do,” which is often necessary for students to remember during their journey through medical school. Dr. Clinkscale has been helping allopathic and osteopathic students for several years prepare for USMLE Step I and Step 2 and COMLEX Level 1 and Level 2. He is experienced in analyzing students’ NBME and USMLE scores to identify problem subjects and developing personalized study schedules tailored to address students’ weaknesses and necessities. Dr. Clinkscale also assists students entering the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) and strategizes for those who participate in the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP).
Dr. Stephan Dixon
Dr. Stephan Dixon earned a BS in Digital Design from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. He declined multiple job offers in Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a physician. He spent three years prior to medical school working as a peer leader and tutor while also working as a clinical research assistant in a busy emergency department. At the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Stephan naturally assumed a leadership role as a prominent and innovative peer educator and mentor, creating practice exams and review materials that he shared with his class. During medical school, Stephan was the recipient of many awards including the Peter T. Kilgour Academic Achievement Award, the Louise W. Rauh Award, and the Outstanding Alumni and Robert Swaim Memorial Awards, which are given to an individual who has implemented programs for the benefit of the entire student body. His dedication to academics and community service earned him induction into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Stephan believes his success can be attributed to his work ethic, organizational skills, and recognition of his own limitations and when it may be necessary to seek assistance. Having gone through the process of pre-med, medical school, and the residency match, Stephan looks forward to helping students reach their full potential in hopes that they can realize their dream of becoming a physician.
Dr. Donna Stanton
Dr. Donna Stanton is board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. She graduated from medical school at East Tennessee State University and then moved to Lexington, Ky for her Med/Peds residency in 2004. After finishing residency, she stayed in Lexington with her husband and two children. Currently, she works part time in pediatrics, as a hospitalist, and volunteers for a local refuge clinic serving under-insured Kentuckians. Dr. Stanton excels at organization and plans for success.
Jillian Atherton, Ed.D Candidate, serves ProMEDeus as a Senior Medical Educator. She develops ProMEDeus medical education curricula – tailoring modules and other learning resources for individual and institutional clientele. Additionally, she consults 1:1 with students, parents, faculty and institutional administrators.
Her background includes 15 years of experience in the higher education arena, including faculty, research, executive, and administrative roles. Jillian has worked in medical education and clinical counseling fields and enjoys “meeting students and faculty where they are in their learning development, and taking them to their next level of achievement.” She currently serves as the Senior Medical Education Specialist at the University of Kentucky; specializing in residency/fellowship curriculum development, evaluation, interviewing, ACGME accreditation, policy design, HRSA grants and reporting, faculty development, NRMP matching, USMLE testing, COMLEX testing, research, WebADS, and interdisciplinary project collaboration.
“Working with a team of over 30 residents and fellows; 30 physician faculty; rotating predoc and external residency learners; and supervising medical education staff, daily, affords me the opportunity to see the unique perspectives of medical education dynamics from all perspectives. With years of this exposure, I experience all learning types and personalities and know how to take programs, learners and faculty to the next level, whether they are struggling academically/professionally, or simply desire to launch themselves and/or their program to the next level of distinction through innovation. I am a better educator because of all these experiences. Every student and program’s learning experience is unique and I enjoy the process of teaching and learning from all of those I serve.”
Brandi Stocker, Ed.D Candidate, is a Senior Medical Education Specialist with ProMEDeus, assisting in the development of online delivery services, curriculum, and advising high school and pre-med students. She has worked in higher education for over thirteen years in direct student advising services within on campus and online environments. Her professional career has afforded her the opportunity to serve high school, pre-med, and medical students at the University of Kentucky in the Office of Medical Education. She was an integral member of the BSMD program where she worked closely with high school students applying to the program and then assisted them with their transition into the pre-med program and college life. Brandi offers a unique perspective to students seeking out admission to BSMD programs in the United States because she knows what they are seeking in qualified applicants. Through every step of the journey to becoming a physician, Brandi understands the professional guidance needed to ensure students seek out and take advantage of the right kind of opportunities to advance themselves academically and professionally.
Robert Trevino is an MD/ PhD candidate at Rush University in Chicago, IL. He received his undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. Prior to attending medical school, he taught middle school science and earned a master’s degree in Adolescent Education. throughout his long medical school career, he has participated in curriculum development with his medical school, providing a voice as a student and as an educator. He has served as an officer for a number of professional student organizations, often with roles centered around mentorship and advising of high school students, undergraduates, and medical students. Robert is fully aware of the challenges current students face in both the classroom and the application process. From his experiences, he understands the importance of encouraging mentors who can help guide the student to success through personal reflection and then action.