Physician Assistant Studies Faculty and Staff

Program Director, Associate Professor

Prof. Davis is the Director of the School of PA studies. Prior to becoming the Director Prof. Davis served as the Associate Director, the founding Director of the Global Health Care Track, led the Skills and OSCE curriculum, served as the interim clinical coordinator, and taught in both the Didactic and Clinical phases of the program. Prof. Davis now teaches in her areas of passion in PA professional policy and advocacy, Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Global Health; as well as in her professional areas of expertise in sexual health and surgery.

Prof. Davis is an alumni of the Pacific School of PA studies and returned to teach in 2011. She practiced in pediatrics in a tribal health facility, emergency medicine in a critical access hospital, neurosurgery in a level 2 trauma center, urgent care and rural family practice prior to becoming an academic. Her areas of research interest include Interprofessional and Global Health education, and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in PA Education. Prof. Davis is passionate about the PA profession and has served for 9 years (and counting!) as an Oregon House of Delegates Representative for the AAPA House of Delegates: One of her proudest moments was casting one of the unanimous votes for Optimal Team Practice! She has also served a six year term in executive leadership for the Oregon Society of Physician Assistants in the President Elect, President, Immediate Past President roles. She has spent untold hours serving representing PA’s on national and state level committees, and believes that is what passion does!

Outside of her passion for education and the PA profession – she loves all things farmers markets, fresh produce and PICKLES!!

Professor, Medical Director

Dr. Bentz has been involved with the School of Physician Assistant Studies at Pacific University from the very beginning in the mid 1990’s and currently serves as its Medical Director. He served as chair of the internal medicine section at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and continues to serve as a supervisor and medical reviewer for Advance Practice Providers at Legacy Go-Heath Urgent Care in the Portland Metropolitan Area. He currently has a private practice in internal medicine at the Fanno Creek Clinic. 

Director of Academic Education, Associate Professor | Didactic Faculty

Prof. McLellan is the Director of Academic Education and Didactic Faculty for the School of PA Studies.  She has served as principal didactic faculty at two other PA programs before joining the Pacific University School of PA Studies in 2017. Prof. McLellan has been a PA since graduating from the Midwestern University – Arizona PA Program in 2006. She practiced several years in obstetrics/gynecology in various practice settings including an urban underserved clinic as the sole on-site provider. She also practiced in breast surgical oncology, and she now practices at a local free clinic providing gynecologic care.  Her areas of research interest include assessment and professional development. Prof. McLellan is passionate about giving back to the PA profession; she has spent many years serving on national PA education committees as well as state level committees. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, friends, and animals. Pets bring her great joy, and she loves to meet and spend time with other's pets as much as possible.

Ms. Austyn Allie
Assistant Director of Clinical Education

Austyn is currently the Assistant Director of Clinical Education, and serves on Pacific’s Staff Senate, Governance Committee, and on the CHP Diversity Committee. Austyn graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree from Pacific University in 2009, and joined the School of PA Studies in 2017. She has served in the roles of Program Assistant, Coordinator of Clinical Education, and Coordinator of Didactic Education within the School. Prior to joining the School she worked as a standardized patient for PA students. She has extensive experience in customer service, including retail management and international adoptions. Her areas of interest include equity, diversity, and inclusion in education, grant writing, and LGBTQIA+ affirming healthcare. Austyn enjoys hanging out with her cats and spouse, reading, playing board games, and attempting to make crafts. 

Ms. Melanie Belles
Clinical Recruiter

Melanie joined Pacific University in 2017 and has been with the PA program since 2021. She is responsible for recruitment and retention of preceptors for Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (PA Student Clinical Rotations) and also provides instructional and marketing support for the program. She graduated from the University of Oregon with bachelor’s degrees in history and romance languages, and has a master’s degree in adult education from Indiana University. She has over 15 years of experience working in adult and higher education, including nearly a decade spent teaching and building skills in curriculum and lesson materials design in Tokyo, Japan. Her professional interests include User Experience design (UX), instructional design and adult learning theory. Outside of work, she also enjoys learning about new things (current topics: macramé, history of medicine, and growing houseplants), volunteering for her local community library, watching murder mysteries, and spending time with her dogs.

Prof. Adam Churey
Assistant Professor | Didactic Faculty

Professor Churey has been an Assistant Professor in the School of PA Studies since 2023.  He has been a PA since 2014 since graduating from Midwestern University in Arizona.  Before joining the faculty he practiced in emergency medicine and worked in urgent care and still practices part time. Outside of medicine he is an enthusiastic Buffalo Bills fan and enjoys running, hiking, traveling and making sure his two dogs have the best life!

Prof. Shawna Cozens
Assistant Professor | Didactic Faculty

Professor Cozens is an Assistant Professor in the School of Physician Assistant Studies. She joined Pacific University in 2021 and teaches in cardiology, clinical skills, reproductive medicine, nephrology, and neurology. Professor Cozens has been a family practice PA since 2014, and maintains a part time clinical practice. Within the broad scope of family medicine she especially enjoys preventative medicine, infectious disease, and gender affirming care. Outside of work, Professor Cozens spends most of her free time running, gardening, traveling, fixing up her old house, and spending time with the people she loves.

Lauren "HP" Hammond-Pereira
Coordinator of Program Administration

Lauren "HP" is the Coordinator of Program Administration and is new to the world of medical education, only joining Pacific University's staff in 2023. They graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Hollins University in Virginia, but has passionate interests in creative writing, environmental science, and greek literature. HP works closely with all members of the Didactic and Clinical teams, and their long term goal is to be a part of the admissions team and help new students pursue their passions.

Coordinator of Clinical Administration

Gabbie Hering is the Coordinator of Clinical Administration for the School of PA Studies. Gabbie received her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science from Oregon Tech in 2023 with dual minors in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Sustainability. Prior she became a licensed Emergency Medical Technician in 2018 and trained in multiple locations in the Portland metro area. Her areas of interest include equality, inclusion and accessibility in the natural science fields. Outside of work, Gabbie can be found camping at the coast or spending time enjoying the outdoors with her dog.

Prof. Jess Kee, PA-C
Assistant Professor | Didactic Faculty

Prof Kee currently leads Fundamentals (the introductory pathophysiology course), Hematology and Oncology, and  Neurology modules during the didactic phase of the PA program. The remainder of her position is focused on accreditation and process improvement for the program. Her clinical experience is in Urologic Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Stanford Health Care. While she misses some things about clinical practice, she enjoys the opportunity to regularly find a flow state in her faculty role at Pacific University.

Krystal Kneeland
Program Administrator

Krystal is the Program Administrator and has served in this role since 2012. She provides operational and administrative management for the program including budget manager responsibilities. She is the Chair of the Admissions Committee and is heavily involved in all aspects of the admissions process. She also plans and executes all major events for the School including Orientation, White Coat, and Graduation. She is a certified DISC behavioral consultant, a BLS instructor, and is interested in grant writing. Her previous experience includes working as a paralegal and as an emergency room coordinator for a level 1 trauma center.  Krystal graduated from Oregon State University, magna cum laude in 2005 with two Bachelor of Arts degrees: Political Science and Sociology. She enjoys traveling, bowling, hosting dinner parties and spending time with her labradoodle and niece and nephew.

Assistant Professor | Clinical Faculty

Co-Faculty member at Santiam Hospital, Stayton, OR

Prof. Ora Olsommer
Assistant Professor | Didactic Faculty

Professor Olsommer is didactic faculty for the School of Physician Assistant Studies and leads the Nephrology and Emergency Medicine modules. She lectures broadly in other modules, including Pulmonology, Musculoskeletal, Geriatrics, GU/Reproductive Health, and Surgery/Hospital Care. Additionally, she leads our EKG and Ultrasound longitudinal curriculum. She maintains clinical practice as an emergency medicine PA at a Level I Trauma Center in Seattle. Professor Olsommer has 15 years of experience as an Emergency Medicine PA, practicing in community hospitals, critical access hospitals and trauma centers and holds an Emergency Medicine CAQ. Her areas of interest are emergency medicine, curriculum development focusing on vulnerable populations and DEI in PA practice and education, POCUS, EKG and case-based learning. Outside of the classroom, Professor Olsommer enjoys gardening, travel, biking, her cats, and true crime documentaries.

Jeremy Palmer head shot
Simulation and Standardized Patient Coordinator

Jeremy joined Pacific University in 2015. As the Simulation and Standardized Patient Coordinator, Jeremy supports the development and operation of life-like scenarios which provide a safe environment for PA students to practice their clinical and diagnostic reasoning skills. Jeremy graduated from Portland State in 2016 with a bachelor of science degree, and from Pacific University in 2020 with a master's in healthcare administration. His interest areas are simulation and clinical skills practice, and his responsibilities include equipment and supply management, BLS training, and Standardized Patient correspondence.

Assistant Professor | Didactic Faculty

Prof. Pestka has worked for Pacific University’s School of PA studies since 2016. She is currently Didactic Faculty in the School of PA Studies, and previously held positions as Clinical Faculty and Academic Coordinator. She teaches in Derm/EENT, GI, Genitourinary/Sexual Health, and the Graduate Project. Prof. Pestka has over 10 years of experience as a PA across different areas in clinical medicine including travel medicine, urgent care, occupational health and internal medicine. Her areas of research include student professionalism, Global Health, justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in PA Education and Practice. Professionally, Prof. Pestka is passionate about education, and she has worked with the Oregon Society of Physician Assistants for several years on their Continuing Medical Education (CME) Committee, both as a Co-Chair and member of the committee. In her free time, she can often be found hanging out with her family and two doodle-dogs, as well as traveling both domestically and internationally.

Prof. Dennis Phrasavath
Assistant Professor | Clinical Faculty

Professor Phrasavath (he/him) is an assistant professor who joined Pacific University in 2023. His primary role is to serve as clinical faculty providing education and support for students and preceptors in the clinical phase of training. He also assists in the didactic phase and has areas of interest in simulation, ultrasound, and toxicology. He attended the University of Washington MEDEX Northwest PA Program in Seattle, graduating in 2017. In 2018, he completed a fellowship in emergency medicine at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, CA. Since then, his clinical work has been in hospital-based emergency medicine. Outside of work, he is an enthusiastic solo traveler that refuses to carry more than what fits in a single backpack, urban wanderer that stops too often to take photos of interesting plants and neighborhood cats, exploratory home cook that has entirely too many spices and sauces, podcast listener with an ever-expanding backlog, and avid English soccer fan despite the massive performance-associated emotional swings of his long-time favorite club, Arsenal FC.

Professor | Didactic Faculty

Sheryl Sanders is an anatomist who teaches for the Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Programs.  She also manages the Human Anatomy Lab.

Prof. Jessica Schlump
Assistant Professor | Didactic Faculty

Professor Schlump is an Assistant Professor in the School of Physician Assistant Studies.  She joined Pacific U in 2023.  She has been in practice since 2005 working mostly in Orthopedic Surgery, focused on Pediatric Ortho and continues a part time role. She enjoys working with kiddos and families through an otherwise scary time, and helping them return to active fun humans.  Her other areas of interest include Medical Ethics.  She can often be found outside, trail running, skiing, backpacking, traveling and planning her next adventure with friends and her four legged sidekick, Ruthie.

Diane Van Dyke
Assistant Director of Clinical Recruitment

Diane joined the PA program in 2006. Diane negotiates and maintains affiliation agreements with clinical rotation sites. Alongside the Clinical Faculty, she analyzes student patient encounters to ensure that the school continues to provide a viable rotation experience at each clinical site.