Faculty and Staff

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Program Leadership          Faculty          Staff



Program Leadership

  Susan McDowell, MD
  Susan M. McDowell, M.D., is the Chairperson for PM&R in the College of Medicine at the University of Kentucky.  She also services as the
  Medical Director for Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital.  Dr. McDowell earned her medical degree from the Medical College of       
  Georgia. She is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation with a subspecialty certificate in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. She has
  served in numerous other leadership roles within the Dept. of PM&R and the College of Medicine including the former Associate Dean
  for Graduate Medical Education. Dr. McDowell has served on or been a member of numerous regional and national academic societies.  In
                                       addition, she has presented both regionally and nationally with publications in educational and clinical areas.  Her primary interests are in
                                       leadership, team, and interprofessional education and care. 

  Jessica Kavanaugh, MD (Formerly Colyer)
  Residency Program Director
  Dr. Jessica Kavanaugh is very connected to the “Tri-State area”.  She grew up in southeastern Indiana and graduated with honors from
   Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH) with a B.S. in biology. She received her M.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in
   2006 and completed her PM&R Residency at the University of Kentucky in 2010.  After graduation, she worked in academic medicine at
   the University of Cincinnati until taking the role of Residency Program Director here at UK in July 2016. As a self-identified “Xennial”, she
   loves social media (Reddit is the app du jour) and gaming (PS forever, Xbox never).  When not busy as program director or as a
   clinician, she is busy raising her two elementary aged daughters to be sci-fi nerds and movie lovers much like herself. 

  Jamie Key, DO
  Associate Program Director
  Dr. Jamie Key grew up in Tennessee and is a proud alumnus of the University of Tennessee - Knoxville where she graduated with honors
  with a degree in Psychology and minor in Chemistry. She considers a third degree in being a Vol for life! She obtained her D.O. degree
  from the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pikeville, KY and completed PM&R residency at UK. She is board certified in PM&R
  and specializes in Brain Injury Medicine. She completed one year of private practice in Cincinnati before returning to UK to join the faculty.
  She currently is the Medical Director for the brain injury unit at Cardinal Hill and serves as the Associate Program Director. Her favorite
                                       title, however, is Chair of the Wellness Committee. She enjoys participating in the ministry at Southland Christian Church, traveling,
                                       and spending time with her wonderful husband and two young children. Out of all the hats she wears, being a mother is her favorite. 

  Andrew Savoie, DO
  Chair Person of the Clinical Competency Committee
  Dr. Andrew Savoie is originally from Atlanta, GA and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Cellular Biology. He
  obtained his DO degree from PCOM-Georgia, completed his residency at the University of Kentucky, and is board certified in PM&R. He
  joined the UK PM&R faculty as an Assistant Professor and Medical Director for Oncology PM&R, a new program and clinic designed to
  meet the functional and rehabilitation needs for patients at the Markey Cancer Center. He enjoys spending time with his wife and
  three children, Georgia football, and anything written by Brandon Sanderson.

  Sara Salles, MD
  Vice Chairperson
  Dr. Sara Salles is originally from Iran but has lived most of her life in the US. She earned her B.A. in Biology with a minor in French from St.
  Louis University. She received her DO degree from Kansas City University in Kansas City, MO followed by her traditional internship at The
  Medical Center in Columbus, GA. She completed her residency in PM&R at the University of Kentucky in 2000 where she currently serves
  as the Vice Chair for the department. She is also Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Unit at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital,
  and Medical Director for Post-Acute Care Services for UK Health Care. Dr. Salles is boarded in PM&R and Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. She
                                        is passionate about her clinical work, patient advocacy as well as medical education. When not working, Dr. Salles loves spending time
                                       with her three children, her husband, Dr. Stefan Kiessling, a Pediatric Nephrologist at the University of Kentucky, watching soccer, cooking
                                       and traveling.


  Paula Ackerman, DO

  Dr. Paula Ackerman is originally from Cincinnati, OH. She earned her BA in Physical Anthropology with a minor in Spanish at Wright
  State University followed by her DO degree at Ohio University. She completed her residency at Albany Medical Center in Albany, New
  York. She spent 3 years in private practice prior to joining the faculty of University of Kentucky in 2019. Her practice interest include
  Neurorehabilitation, spasticity and torticollis management with botulinum toxin, and electrodiagnosis. Dr. Ackerman has participated in
  several medical related trips to Latin America including Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

  Heidi Beavan, APRN




  Cecil Hollen, DO




  Justin Huber, MD, MS




  Gerald Klim, DO
  Dr. Gerald Klim is an Associate professor in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He received his B.S. from the
  University of Richmond and his D.O. degree from the Philadelphia College of  Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his internship
  and residency at Thomas JeffersonUniversity in PM+R and a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at the University of Kentucky.
  He is board-certified in both. In addition, he has an M.A. in religion and Theology from the Lexington Theological Seminary and is an
  ordained deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. His interests include neurorehabilitation, spasticity management, and
  Hospice care. His outside interests include the study of religion, theology, physical training, and watching soccer, rugby, and American

  Robert Nickerson, MD

  Dr. Robert Nickerson is an Associate Professor in the Dept of PM&R at the University of Kentucky. He is Board Certified in PM&R and
  Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He attended Medical School at the Medical College of Georgia and graduated in 1989. He
  completed residency at the University of Kentucky. He has been an attending in the Dept of PM&R at the University of Kentucky  since
  1993. He was the Residency Program Director for 15 years. His clinical interests include musculoskeletal medicine and electrodiagnosis. 

  Dwan Perry, DO




  Lumy Sawaki, MD




  Randal Schleenbaker, MD




  Nancy Stiles, MD
  Dr. Stiles earned her medical degree from the University of Texas in Houston and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the
  University of Kentucky. During her “gap year” between residency and fellowship, she staffed a subacute head injury rehabilitation facility
  in North Carolina which launched her love of rehabilitation medicine. She then completed a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at Duke
  University. She joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 1992. She is a past president of the Kentucky Geriatric Society and has
  served as medical director of multiple long term care facilities in the area. Her main interests are geriatric medicine and rehabilitation of
  patients with major medical conditions. Past research has focused on occupational therapy in the elderly and nutrition. Outside of work,
  she enjoys spending time with her three children and four dogs. 


  Leslie Combs, BA
  GME Program Coordinator

  Born and raised in the bluegrass, Leslie is a graduate and loyal fan of the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.
  After a grand 4 year adventure working alongside UK archaeologists at the UK Archaeology Lab, she shifted her career to the world of
  GME, where her passion for resident and program success has blossomed. Leslie spent two years working within UK's department of
  Internal Medicine as both staff support and GME Program Coordinator before transitioning to the PM&R residency program where she
  resides today. 


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