Nathan “Ben” Herz, OTD, MBA, OTR/L, CEAS

Program Director, Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)



During the past 20 years, Dr. Ben Herz has held numerous positions in private practice and served on the faculty of institutions with respected occupational therapy programs. Before coming to Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, he served as associate professor and program director at Georgia Health Sciences University, where he treated clients in the Movement Disorder Clinic and devised unique therapeutic strategies for patients with Parkinson’s disease using the Wii and WiiFit game systems. He has lectured on using virtual reality and gaming as a therapeutic intervention in rehabilitation. Herz is also recognized as an invited national speaker in the area of Parkinson’s disease and occupational therapy. He has extensive experience in orthopedic and industrial injuries as well. Herz is treasurer for the American Occupational Therapy Association. He previously served that organization as research and educational liaison for the administration and management special interest section. Herz earned his doctor of occupational therapy at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and his master of business administration from Averett University in Danville. In addition to his education at Averett, Herz’s ties to Virginia include positions at Jefferson College of Health Sciences and clinical and private business experience around the state.


EllingtonAllison Ellington, OTD, MS, OTR/L

Director of Clinical Education, Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Assistant Professor

Allison Ellington is the Director of Clinical Education for the Occupational Therapy Program.  Ms. Ellington brings her clinical experience in adult neurological rehabilitation to Murphy Deming. She earned a master of science in occupational therapy from Ithaca College and doctoral degree from Chatham University.  She is certified through the American Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Educator Certification program and has served as a fieldwork educator for many students.  As a clinician, she earned advanced certification in Neuro-Integrative Functional Rehabilitation and Habilitation and has extensively used rehabilitation technology such as the Bioness, SAEBO, and REO products.  She continues to practice at both UVA HealthSouth and Augusta Health.  Additionally, she is actively engaged in research and development of a virtual reality system to practice daily activities as part of stroke rehabilitation.



EllingtonLisa Burns, PhD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor,  Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Dr. Burns completed her Ph.D. in Human Development (interdisciplinary approach, with specialization in higher education) from Marywood University in Scranton, PA in 2013. While in that program she received the William G. McGowan Medal for Excellence in Doctoral Studies. She has been a practicing OT for more than 20 years, twelve of those as OT Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at University of Scranton. She has taught several OT courses, has been active in numerous professional organizations and presented nationally and regionally on teaching and learning theory and practice in Occupational Therapy.





HansenGreg Hansen, PhD, MS, OTR/L

Assistant Professor,  Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Greg Hansen received his PhD in Motor Learning from the University of Virginia. He has a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from West Virginia University. Dr. Hansen has been a practicing occupational therapist for 20 years. Prior to coming to MDCHS he was employed at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (VSDB). In addition to his work at VSDB, Dr. Hansen has practiced at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, Fayette County Schools (WV) schools, Augusta Health and a number of other hospital based centers. Dr. Hansen has been an invited guest speaker at many regional colleges and has supported OT students in training as a clinical instructor, receiving two awards as “outstanding fieldwork educator.” His area of expertise and his recent research focuses on children with special needs.




StephensonPam Stephenson, OTD, MS, OTR/L

Assistant Professor,  Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Dr. Pam Stephenson received her OT Degree from Ulster Polytechnic in Northern Ireland in 1984. In addition she has a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences (1995) from St. Georges Hospital Medical School, London, a Post-Professional MS in Occupational Therapy from San Jose University, and a Post-Professional Occupational therapy Doctorate from Rocky Mountain University (2014).  In 2012, she was co-author of a book chapter “The Use of Psychosocial Methods and Interpersonal Strategies in Mental Health” as part of the 3rd edition of Psychosocial Occupational Therapy: An Evolving Practice. She is active in the Virginia Occupational Therapy Association (VOTA) and served as the “Blue Ridge District Chair” directing the VOTA activities in the region from 2009 until July 2015. Dr. Stephenson recently accepted the position of Forum Coordinator for the AOTA Early Intervention and School Special Interest Section (EISSIS). Her major areas of interest focus on mental health and autism.


WagonerSandy Wagoner, OTD, MOTR/L, CHT

Assistant Professor,  Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Sandy Wagoner received a BS degree in therapeutic recreation followed by a master’s in occupational therapy in 1985 from Texas Woman’s University. Her post professional doctorate degree was obtained from Rocky Mountain University with an emphasis in administration and practice management. Dr. Wagoner has over 30 years of clinical experience working in a variety of settings including out-patient therapy, In-patient rehabilitation, private practice, home health and industrial health. She continues to practice one day a week at Augusta Health’s outpatient therapy clinic. Dr. Wagoner earned an advanced certification in neurodevelopment treatment and became a certified hand therapist in 1997. She currently serves as secretary to the local Blue Ridge Occupational Therapy Association. She has special interest in preventing work place injuries and has presented on both the state and national level sharing how occupational therapy can decrease work injuries in computer users.

We are in the process of hiring additional faculty and staff — we expect a team of more than 30 professionals supporting our programs when at full capacity.  Potential faculty members are encouraged to reference our website for current employment searches.