Curriculum Office Staff

Assistant Dean for Clinical Education
John Ragsdale, MD, MS

While earning his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Ragsdale was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society.  He completed a residency in Internal Medicine-Pediatrics at the University of Kentucky, and an academic medicine fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh, earning a Master of Science degree in Medical Education.  Since returning to the University of Kentucky in 2013, Dr. Ragsdale has served as the Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine residency program, Clerkship Director for the Internal Medicine Acting Internship and Master Educator for the College of Medicine.  He has distinguished himself with numerous contributions both locally and nationally.  At the University of Kentucky, he has earned all five stars of the Abraham Flexner Master Educator Award and helped implement EPA based assessments in the 4th year of medical school.  Nationally, he serves on two United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 3 committees and on the Competency-Based Education Task Force for the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine. 

Curriculum Research and Leadership Development Directors
Helen Garces
(859) 218-0013
Helen joined the Office of Medical Education in July of 2014.  Previously, she served in two capacities at the UK College of Pharmacy;  as Curriculum Development Officer with the Office of Experiential Education and later as Director of Assessment.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and a Master of Science in Education with a focus in Instructional Systems Design from the University of Kentucky.

Clerkship Development and Administration
Amy M. Stone, EdS
(859) 323-1196
Amy is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology,  a Master of Science in Education, and a Specialist in Education.  A member of the Office of Medical Education since 1992, she previously served as Evaluation Coordinator and as Coordinator of Testing Services for several years.  Since 2016, she has worked with Dr. John Ragsdale, Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, on educational development and administrative oversight of all M3 and M4 courses.  Prior to joining OME, Amy worked in the Department of Surgery as a Research Assistant.  Before coming to UK, Amy was program director for the Scott County after-school program, and provided counseling services for the Fayette County Comprehensive Care Center and Eastern State Hospital.

Administrative Coordinator
Dorcas D. Beatty
(859) 257-5286
Dorcas serves as an administrative coordinator in the Office of Medical Education providing administrative support for the Senior Associate Dean for Medical Student Education, the Curriculum Committee and its subcommittees.  She also coordinates the annual application process for the Abraham Flexner Master Educator Awards Program and other activities for the Center for Excellence in Medical Education (CEME).  Prior work experience at UK includes serving as an admissions officer in the Graduate School, application processing coordinator for the College of Medicine Admissions Office, and administrative assistant to the chair of Anatomy and Neurobiology.  Dorcas is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Standardized Patient Program
(Clinical Skills Training and Assessment Center (CSTAC) Web site)

Joseph Gatton
COMLC/CSTAC/Standardized Patient Coordinator 
(859) 257-6292
Joe Gatton has been the coordinator of the Standardized Patient Program at the College of Medicine Learning Center since 2006. Having worked as a standardized patient, Joe brings skill and experience to his current position where he is responsible for the budget of the program, as well as the recruitment, hiring, training, scheduling, and assessment of the pool of standardized patients. He coordinates with the faculty and staff members from the health care colleges who use this program for clinical training and interprofessional education activities.  Joe also works with external organizations in the region and he hopes to expand the program into new areas, such as resident and health care staff training and assessment.  In another incarnation, Joe has been an actor, teacher, casting director, and producer in the region for over thirty years working on stage and in film, television, and commercials.

Melissa Wilkeson
Standardized Patient/Simulation Educator
(859) 323-3514
Melissa began working with the College of Medicine as a standardized patient (SP) in 2010 and subsequently was hired into the Curriculum Office in the Office of Medical Education as an educational coordinator then later began working with the SP program as a standardized patient coordinator.  In December 2012, Melissa was promoted to administrative service assistant and in July 2014 her focus shifted to simulation in medical education.  A native of Lexington, Melissa graduated from the University of Kentucky with the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and pursued an acting career working professionally in Chicago, South Florida, Boston, and New York City.  Melissa remains active in the local theatre community. Before coming to UK, she served as communications manager for LexArts, Inc., and training manager for Thomas & King, Inc.

Computer Support Specialist II/UKHC
Ben Lawson
(859) 323-5779
A native of Lexington, Joseph "Ben" Lawson graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2005 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Decision Science and Information Systems and a minor in Telecommunications.  He joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine as a computer support specialist and course coordinator in 2006.  Ben moved into his current position as a computer support specialist in the Office of Medical Education in July 2013 and continues to be involved in technical projects in this office, as well as in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.  Ben lends his expertise in support of the ExamSoft® and KnowledgeMap applications.

Evaluations Coordinator
Miriam Lightfoot
(859) 323-4643
Miriam Lightfoot is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry and a Master of Science in Science Education. Her previous work at UK was at the Center for Research for Violence against Women where she served as Research Coordinator.  Before coming to UK, Miriam taught high school biology, chemistry and physics.