Dr. Akins holds a M.D. from the Medical University in Varna, Bulgaria, where she also served as a staff surgeon and assistant professor in Family Medicine. With her 2001 move to the United States, she decided to build her career as an educator and administrator to help shape the future of health sciences education. She earned her Ph.D. in educational administration from The Texas A&M University, and later joined the faculty of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where she held faculty positions as associate professor in the departments of Medical Education, Anesthesiology and Pediatrics. She also served as the associate director of the ATACS Center – Advanced Teaching and Assessment in Clinical Simulation.
Her earlier experiences include various faculty and administrative appointments as well as diverse committee service roles at SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine and California Northstate University College of Medicine. At that time she achieved the rank of professor, chaired the curriculum committee and a committee on the meaning, quality and integrity of the degrees as part of reaccreditation (WACS/WSCUC).