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Get to Know: Jennifer H. Shaw, PhD


March 22, 2022

Jennifer H. Shaw, PhDWith the opening of PCOM South Georgia in 2019, Jennifer Shaw, PhD, and her husband (Edward Shaw, PhD, director of the biomedical science graduate program at PCOM South Georgia) jumped at the chance to return to a location close to their hometown. Dr. Shaw completed her doctorate in pharmacology in 2000 from the University of Montana. Her dissertation research on immunization using adoptive transfer of dendritic cells in a murine model was conducted at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. After a three-year period working in the biotechnology industry on the business side of science, she returned to academics at Oklahoma State University where she completed postdoctoral research on oxidative stress, taught physiology and pharmacology over fifteen years and directed a federally-funded independent research lab which resulted in a promotion to associate professor with tenure.

Her previous work within an R1 university (a doctoral university with very high research activity) taught Dr. Shaw about institutional structure and operation, which is useful in her position as chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences. She believes that successful navigation of a rigorous tenuring system has contributed to her ability to optimize faculty appraisal and development processes, mentor junior faculty and advocate for adequate resources. Likewise, her previous experience contributes to the ongoing collective efforts among faculty and administration to identify research opportunities in the unique setting of rural South Georgia.

Below Dr. Shaw shares more about her role at PCOM South Georgia and her goals for the future.

What is your role at PCOM?

I currently serve as the chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at PCOM South Georgia. My responsibilities are to oversee the operational aspects of the department, optimize faculty performance and development, implement the directives set forth by the curriculum committee and support course directors and faculty to ensure we are meeting our educational mission.

I am deeply grateful to be surrounded by innovative and fiercely dedicated faculty and administrators. I also serve in a non-administrative role at PCOM South Georgia as one of our physiology faculty members responsible for teaching first-year students in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program. I absolutely love the classroom and walk away from each lecture feeling energized by our students’ engagement.

What are some of the challenges you see in your role? How do you plan to face those challenges?

One challenge is allocating adequate resources so our talented faculty are able to:

  • maximally serve the PCOM South Georgia student body in the classroom
  • provide students with opportunities for scholarly activity
  • balance these responsibilities with service to the College at large.

I am tackling this by improving our annual appraisal and development processes to appropriately define and balance workloads.

Another challenge is maintaining the momentum and positive energy required to work across three campuses for the delivery of an aligned curriculum while also building upon our campus-specific culture and mission. The department chairs across PCOM’s three campuses work closely together to keep communication open and productive. In addition, I work with our marketing team each month to recognize faculty and students. I also constantly re-visit our “why” in regards to training students here in rural South Georgia. My goal is to foster a departmental culture that is continuously learning, sharing gratitude for colleagues and recognizing it is a privilege to be an educator. 

What is your favorite thing about PCOM?

The beauty of the PCOM South Georgia campus culture is that everyone in the department recently arrived from different institutions, which provides an exceptional breadth of experience, leadership styles and perspective. Our faculty exude an innovative spirit, which is contagious and enriching. Our team laughs a lot together. This group is extremely flexible and is always willing to step up. It is a privilege to be among these colleagues. This all translates to a tight-knit, thriving community with our students who are instrumental in building the campus culture, establishing student organizations and constantly providing valuable feedback to us.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Back in 2008-2009, I used to have a side-gig as a personal fitness trainer. I worked individually with 20 different women between 25-45 years old, all trying to reclaim their fitness level after having children and amidst the demands of their careers. It was extraordinarily fun and gratifying to witness their sense of accomplishment and increased strength.

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  • About PCOM South Georgia

    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.

    For more information, contact:
    Jordan Roberts
    Public Relations and Social Media Specialist
    Email: jordanro1@pcom.edu
    Office: 229-668-3198 | Cell: 229-873-2003

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