Physician Assistant Studies Faculty & Staff

"The faculty truly goes out of their way to ensure a well-rounded, informative, and intellectually stimulating learning experience. I am amazed at how much they put into this program, and it definitely shows in the quality of the program."

-- Laura Bellovin, Class of 2003 - PA Alum

Judy Ortiz PA-C, MHS, MS


Distinguished Fellow, American Academy of Physician Assistants, 2009

MHS in Physician Assistant Studies and PA Certificate, Duke University, 1993
MS in Health and Sport Science, Wake Forest University, 1991
BS in Exercise Science, Ball State University, 1989
NCCPA Certified
Clinical interests include medical simulation, women's health and rural primary care.

Charles J. Bentz, MD, FACP

Medical Director

Fellowship, General Internal Medicine, OHSU 1993

Internship, Residency Internal Medicine, OHSU 1991

MD, Medical College of Wisconsin, 1988

BA, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Areas of interest include medical education, health services research, evidence-based medicine, tobacco cessation and quality improvement.

Hector M. Rodriguez, DO

Associate Medical Director

Internship, Residency Internal Medicine, Providence St. Vincent MC 1994

DO, Nova Southeastern University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicne 1990

BS in Physical Theriapy, Florida International University, 1976

Board certified, American Board of Internal Medicine


Saje Davis-Risen, PA-C, MS

Director of Global Education

Assistant Professor

MS, Physician Assistant Studies & PA Certificate, Pacific University, 2006

BS, Psychology, Western Michigan University, 1992

NCCPA Certified

Areas of interest include rural and urban underserved populations primary care, hospice and palliative care and emergency medicine.


James Ferguson, PA-C, MPH

Director of Rural Medical Education, Academic Faculty

Assistant Professor
PA Certificate, Wake Forest University, School of Medicine, Physician Assistant Program, 1990 MPH, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 2010

BS, Liberal Arts, Excelsior College, 2002

Distinguished Fellow, American Academy of Physician Assistants, 2008

Indian Health Service, Injury Prevention Specialist, Epidemiology Fellowship, 2004-2005

NCCPA Certified with specialty certifications in Primary Care and Surgery

Served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps at the rank of LTJG and is currently on inactive reserve.


Eric Foote, PA-C, MS

Academic Faculty

Assistant Professor

MS, Physician Assistant Studies & PA Certificate, Pacific University, 2008

BS, Health Studies, Pacific University, 2007

NCCPA Certified

National Health Service Corps Scholar, 2006

Areas of interest include rural primary and urgent care.


Jane Fitzgearld

Coordinator of Clinical Education
Clinical year support


Debby Friscia

Coordinator of Didactic Education
Didactic year support


David Keene, PA-C, MPAS

Director of Clinical Education

Assistant Professor

MPAS, Physician Assistant Studies, University of Nebraska, 2011

BHS & PA Certificate, University of Kentucky, 1994

NCCPA Certified

Served four years, United States Coast Guard

Retired after nineteen years with the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, with rank of Commander


Krystal Kneeland

Manager of Administrative Services
Office Manager, Support to Director


George Olson

Simulation and Veteran Initiatives Coordinator

Frank Pepe, PA-C, MS

Regional Clinical Coordinator, Emergency Medicine Preceptor,
Adjunct Professor

MS, Physician Assistant Studies and PA Certificate, Pacific University, 2003
BA, Exercise Physiology, University of Northern Colorado, 1997
NCCPA Certified
Interests included: Practicing and teaching emergency medicine, guest lecturing, and working with the providers and institutions of northern Nevada to expand physician assisant training and practice opportunities.

Mark Pedemonte, MD

Coordinator of Student Affairs, Academic Faculty
Associate Professor

Anesthesiology Residency, Boston University, 1986
MD, Creighton University, 1978
Internship, Highland General Hospital, 1976
BS, Biology, Creighton University, 1974
Board certified anesthesiologist with an interest in physiology and pathophysiology.


Sheryl Sanders, PhD

Anatomy Instructor

Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Oregon Primate Research Center, 1989-1996
PhD, Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Kentucky, 1989
BA, Biology, Asbury College, 1985
Areas of research interest include reproductive biology and more specifically regulation of the ovary and the corpus luteum.


Annjanette Sommers PA-C, MS

Academic Faculty
Assistant Professor

MS, Physician Assistant Studies & PA Certificate, Pacific University, 2004
BS, Physical Education, Emphasis Pre-Physical Therapy, Brigham Young University, 1999
NCCPA Certified
Interests: Pediatric medicine with emphasis in asthma management and education.


Mary Von, DHEd, MS, PA-C

Associate Director
Associate Professor

DHEd, A. T. Still University of Health Sciences, 2010

Distinguished Fellow, American Academy of Physician Assistants, 2008
MS in Advanced PA Studies, Arizona School of Health Sciences, 2002
PA Certificate, University of Washington Medex PA Program, 1995
NCCPA Certified
Specialty Certification in Migraine and Headache Management, Lifestyle Counseling


Diane Van Dyke

Coordinator of Clinical Education
Clinical year support

Duc Vo , MD

Academic Faculty
Assistant Professor

Fellow American Academy of Pediatrics
Board Certified Pediatrics
Board Certified - Internal Medicine
Internship, Residency - University of Southern California
MD , Medical College of Wisconsin
Primary Focus: Pediatrics, Primary Care and Preventative Medicine