ClassNotesMEDEX Northwest Alumni

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New job, award, move or family addition? Your classmates want to hear from you! Let us know how you’re doing. The ClassNotes below were received through January 2011; any received afterward will appear in the next issue.


John (Jack) Moss, PA -C (Seattle Class 4), writes, “Well, I have retired as of September 2010 and am enjoying myself immensely. I am becoming a golf nut and plan to catch a few fish. Still live in Olympia, and my wife still works.”

John Winklmann, PA -C (Seattle Class 4), has been named Alaska’s Physician Assistant of the Year. Winklmann has served in the town of Healy and other Denali borough communities for 30 years. He was a Green Beret and worked as a medic in Vietnam before training at MEDEX Northwest. When Winklmann began working — he was one of the first PAs in Alaska — the profession was not licensed by the state. He helped to charter the Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants at the first national conference for PAs. When he first arrived in Healy with his wife in 1973, Winklmann did not realize it would become his permanent home. Today, as part-owner of the Canyon Clinic, Winklmann is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. He is the longest-running member of the Healy Lions Club, a founder of the Healy Hockey Association, and he coaches teams. When not working at Canyon Clinic, Winklmann works in the medical clinic at Clear Air Force Base. He takes twice the yearly required CME credits for the profession, and he devotes many hours to local government on the Denali Borough Assembly. It would be impossible to be successful without his wife at his side, Winklmann says.

Steve Fischer, PA -C (Seattle Class 16), writes, “I’ve worked for Moscow Family Medicine for the last 20 years, the first 18 at their main office and satellite clinic in Troy, Idaho. For the last two years, I have worked for them (on contract) at University of Idaho Student Health. I continue to live in the country near Deary, Idaho.”

Greg Davenport, PA -C (Seattle Class 25), writes, “Since graduating, I have spent the majority of my clinical time working in either rural primary care or emergency medicine. In addition, I continued to work in the wilderness survival and medicine field — writing six books on the topic and hosting several television shows. Recently, I have gone back to school. In 2008, I received my master of physician assistant studies degree with an emphasis in wilderness and emergency medicine. I am presently two-thirds of the way through a doctor of health sciences program, which I will complete in March 2012. Today, I am working at a small private university in Arkansas where I teach PA and pharmacy students. It has been a rewarding move, and I intend to stay in this arena. Finally, I began a second family several years ago and have been blessed with two sets of twins, ages 3½ and 1½ (girls and boys, respectively). What an interesting time.”

Eric Maus, PA -C (Seattle Class 25), writes, “I have worked in the emergency department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Nampa, Idaho, for the past five years, and we employ two other PAs. (I have been working in emergency medicine for the past 12 years.) I have been married for 33 years, and my wife and I have three children, Angie, Joshua and Jake, as well as two grandchildren. We live in Boise, Idaho. My hobbies are fishing, woodworking and motorcycle touring. We are planning a motorcycle trip to Seattle and Canada this summer.”

Dawn (Bocksler) Sexton, PA -C (Seattle Class 25), writes, “I just finished a five-year job on the island of Shemya, at the end of the Aleutian chain in Alaska. It was a one-month-on/ one-month-off rotation. This worked out well, as my PA partner on the island was my husband, Rick Sexton, also a graduate of Seattle Class 25. We were the only people working in the clinic, so we did everything: answering the phones, driving the ambulance, x-ray, lab, pharmacy — everything. Our time on Shemya will be, without a doubt, the highlight of my career! We had alternates who flew in on the plane we flew out on; one of them was Bob Trotter, PA -C (Seattle Class 26). We decided to leave only because the 3,000-mile commute was just getting too hard for us old folks. Rick is currently working in our local ER in Goldendale, Wash. I am doing fill-in on Shemya.”

Vern McCready, PA -C (Seattle Class 26), writes, “I’m still in Boise. I work full time for a community health center. Living the dream.”

Bob Trotter, PA -C (Seattle Class 26), writes, “After living in Alaska for 35 years, my wife and I moved to Hayden, Idaho, last summer. We love it. I still work in Alaska in the Western Aleutians on a month-on/month-off schedule. I enjoy having the month off and have been going to Metlakatla, Alaska, about once a month to do a little extra work. Metlakatla was my first job in 1994, and it is fun to see teenage patients who were just a heartbeat 16 years ago. I have started going on medical mission trips at least once a year with my flexible work schedule, and I have been able to serve in China, Afghanistan and Cambodia. I am scheduled for southwest Nepal next. My family is doing well. Life is good.”

Bill Weiss, PA -C (Seattle Class 26), writes, “I’ll be glad to send you some delicious tropical sun (from Guam). I’m enjoying the fruits of my MEDEX education. Although I could retire, I love my work too much, and retirement is not yet a part of my active vocabulary. I’m writing this between patients, so I need to be a bit brief. We’re expanding from one to (eventually) three clinics. I am actively recruiting PAs and nurse practitioners.”

Mike Eastman, PA -C (Seattle Class 28), writes, “After 17 years in Las Vegas, I have finally left ‘Sin City.’ I have spring 2011 27 taken a position at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho. Definitely a safer and quieter environment to work and live in. Eleven years ago, I was fortunate to have been chosen as one of 12 PAs to go to China on a U.S. medical delegation. I had an absolutely phenomenal trip. In the past five years, I completed two practitionerinitiated studies on the intrathecal drug Ziconotide. The retrospective study was published in the November-December 2007 edition of Practical Pain Management. A lot of extra work, but I learned tons. I hope that all of my MEDEX peers continue to flourish. I wish everyone a great 2011!”

Pamela (Baxter) Korzeniowski, PA -C (Seattle Class 36), writes, “I’ve been out here in Tokeland, Wash. (Shoalwater Bay Tribe Wellness Center), since the beginning of 2006; I’ve been the only full-time provider for the last few years. I’ve continued to dedicate myself to this rural underserved clinic — despite all the chaos and high turnover. We’ve had a very difficult time keeping any providers out here, and my most recent physician partner gave his notice last week. He’s agreed to be my sponsor on a remote site practice plan until we can find a new part-time or full-time doctor.”

A note to PAs who might want to work in or near Tokeland: “I was wondering if you have any new grads who might want to work in a rural setting like this — it’s a lot like Alaska or Montana, just not quite as isolated. We see complex patients, the sickest of the sick and the poorest of the poor (there are no social services or transportation services out here to speak of), and, believe me, it’s been a great place to really put everything MEDEX taught me to use.”

Lt. Col. Terry L. Gram, BSC , MPAS , PA -C (Seattle Part-time Class 2), writes, “Still serving in active-duty military status as medical officer for the Washington National Guard’s 10th Civil Support Team. After 34 years of military service, I will retire in September and return to civilian life. I have no idea what I will do at that time. I’m still considering the possibilities.”

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Theresa (Vance) Schimmels, PA -C (Spokane Class 1), writes: “Happy 2011! I changed my name back to my maiden name of Schimmels this past fall. I was recently elected as the two-year American Academy of Physician Assistants delegate for the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants (WAPA) and look forward to serving once again on the WAPA board. My daughter, Katie, who is now 19, has moved out into the world on her own, trying to find her way. She is still living in Spokane and we remain very close. I’m still practicing dermatology in Spokane (with office hours in Spokane Valley) two days a week for Rockwood Dermatology. It’s a fantastic job working with a wonderful crew. I still love being a PA and will be recertifying for the second time (!) this next certification cycle. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a PA for 11 years this year! I love it! Congratulations and fond farewells to all the MEDEX staff and faculty that are retiring this year, especially Jennifer Johnston. Happy sailing/retirement/future endeavors to you all!”

Anthony Walker, PA -C (Spokane Class 1), writes, “I retired as a lieutenant commander from the U.S. Public Health Service, and I’m now practicing in a rural family medicine clinic 30 miles outside of Tucson, Ariz.”

Jennifer Burger, PA -C, (Spokane Class 3), writes: “I have been working at Family Health Center in Spokane, Wash., for the last two years and love working in family practice. I have three girls: Alex (8), Ashleigh (6) and Abby (2). I try to help out with the Spokane PA students whenever possible since I enjoy interacting with them. My husband, Everett, works for Rockwood Clinic in the IT department.”

The Burger Family

Maria (Dullea) Cassel, PA -C (Spokane Class 6), writes, “I recently moved back to Spokane and am working at Northwest Heart and Lung Surgical Associates as a cardiothoracic surgical physician assistant. Prior to that, I worked in the same position at Altru Health System in Grand Forks, N.D., for a year and a half. Before I moved to North Dakota, I lived in Brawley, Calif., where I worked in the emergency department at Pioneers Memorial Hospital. I was also employed in a nephrology-internal medicine clinic for two years (2004–2006) by the California Emergency Physicians Group in El Centro, Calif. I am fortunate to have three sons: Zachary (16), Bryce (4), and Caden (2), and a wonderful husband, Paul. We are thrilled to be back in Spokane and look forward to seeing old friends!”

Jennifer Strine, PA -C (Spokane Class 6), writes, “I continue to work in a very rural family practice in Thompson Falls, Mont., and I’m involved in our state organization. My husband, Don, our son, Garrett, and I live out in the sticks, where the elk, turkey and deer cruise through on a regular basis. Life is good. We’re blessed. Hope all is well out there in the rest of the world.”

Laura Triphahn, PA -C (Spokane Class 6), writes, “I started working at North Idaho Nephrology in September 2008 and enjoy doing a variety of patient care, including monitoring patients on hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, as well as following patients with earlier stages of chronic kidney disease, electrolyte disorders, anemia and hypertension. I continue to enjoy working in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Unfortunately, 2010 was a difficult year for me. I lost my husband to an unexpected illness. He passed away on Feb. 1, 2010. Thankfully, my family, friends and employers have been very supportive. I wish my classmates well and hope they are enjoying their work. Don’t forget to take the time to appreciate your loved ones.”

James Glenn, PA -C (Spokane Class 7), writes, “I’m changing jobs after five years at the Alaska Spine Institute. I’ll be working at Orthopedic Physicians of Anchorage with two orthopedic spine surgeons in performing clinical and urgent care and first-assisting in the OR. I’m celebrating my nine-year < ClassNotes i MEDEX Nor thwest Alumni The Burger Family 28 UW Medicine wedding anniversary this year. I have two beautiful girls, Gretchen (5) and Heidi (3). We moved into our first home last February and out of the old, drafty Army barracks building. It would be great to see other classmates sometime; maybe I will make it to one of those national AAPA meetings in the future.”

Tim Thornton, PA -C (Spokane Class 8), writes, “Thanks for allowing us the opportunity to keep in touch. I still live in Kalispell, Mont., and work full time as an emergency department provider in a critical access facility in Plains. I have the privilege of being the emergency medical services director, and I help develop policy for acute care and the emergency room. I am getting more involved in the management of inpatients, and, like so many other providers in rural medicine, my days are filled with “other duties as assigned.” I love the variety and extra challenges that providing quality, up-to-date, compassionate care in a rural setting brings to my day. I live in Kalispell with my wife, Adrianna, and her 13-year-old son, Tyler. My boys are adults; two of them live in the Flathead Valley in Montana, and my middle son, Lee, is attending air traffic control school in Seattle. I enjoy all that northwest Montana has to offer, and I am looking forward to spring this year — to dig out from the record snowfall and get outdoors more. My newest adventure is to get my pilot’s license and — once and for all — to be able to count myself among the fraternity of pilots. It’s an accomplishment I’ve been trying to achieve for years, and this is the year I will get it done! Thanks again for the chance to keep everybody updated; I am looking forward to getting a copy of the alumni magazine to catch up.”

W. Aaron Agan PA -C (Spokane Class 9), writes, “I’ve worked at Covington Primary Care (Valley Medical Center) for the past three years. I’m married to Lindsey Agan. We have one son, Ryder Agan, who will be 3 in April 2011. Recently went to Hawaii — it was amazing!”

Michael Liberato, PA -C (Spokane Class 9), and his fiancée, Donna, plan to be married in June. Michael is working as the quality management clinician at Planned Parenthood’s Eastland Plaza site in Stockton, Calif.

Renae Tabin, PA -C (Spokane Class 9), writes, “After graduating, we moved back to Denver, where I’ve been working with the military as a civilian contractor PA. It is a family practice so my patients — active duty personnel and family members — range in age from newborn babies to adults. All is well in this arena! As far as personal accomplishments, my son, Nicholas, was born in December 2008, and he just turned 2, and my daughter, Claire, was born in August 2010. Busy house, lots of fun!”

Machelle Dotson, PA -C (Spokane Class 10), works in Stevenson, Wash., at the only health-care facility in Skamina County. Dotson is enjoying her job and her co-workers. In her free time, she designs knitwear and kiteboards in La Ventana, Mexico.

Patty O’Keefe, PA -C (Spokane Class 10), writes, “I am now working at Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston, Wash., in the wound healing center. Our facility provides state-of-the-art wound care, including hyperbaric medicine. My supervising physician is Jane Fore, M.D. I also fill in at the emergency rooms at Tri-State Memorial Hospital in Clarkston and at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Idaho. From time to time, I will cover shifts in the primary care clinic at Tri-State as well. I have applied to go on a medical mission to Bolivia in August, and I am looking forward to that trip and more in the future.”

Chris Rieman, PA -C (Spokane, Class 11) and his wife, Kathy, welcomed their first child on June 21, 2010. Mia was 8 lbs., 14 oz. and 21.5 inches long. They are loving every minute with their “milk weasel.” Rieman works in pulmonary-critical care with Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash.

Mia Rieman with her dad, Chris Rieman.

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Phil J. Norris, PA -C (Yakima Class 6), writes, “Hello to all my classmates from Seattle/Yakima/Spokane! Yakima Class 6 (Yakima 6-pak,’99–’01) seems like a long time ago, because it IS! But I recall it being a great time of learning, of growing, of making friends and the absolute realization of a dream. The dream began with my reading an article in a magazine (can’t recall which one) about “physician extenders,” and what the future held for them. That was 1977, when I was 14. And to think it only took me 23 short years to arrive. Of course, that was after 20 years as a paramedic. I started with my current job in June 2001 and don’t have plans to leave. I work for a VERY BUSY (more than 600 cases a year) total-joint orthopedic surgeon. I do not work in the operating room at all, for two reasons. First, I think the OR is boring, no autonomy there for me. Second, shortly after leaving MEDEX, I was diagnosed with MS. Standing that long would be too painful. So, I take care of post-op hospitalized patients. I enjoy it overall, but am not interested in working as hard as I do for an indefinite period. Plans are underway to reduce a bit. I’m a grandpa to a cute little 4-year-old boy who rocks. My kids (25-male, 22-female, 19-male) are all doing well. How did they get to be this old? How did I get to be this old?? Best wishes to my MEDEX family.”

Penny Puhak, PA -C (Yakima Class 11), writes, “I’m still working in family practice in Kodiak, Alaska, and starting my fifth year of practice. Still loving life. My sweetie is retired now, so he is home full time. Summer is for fishing, bear viewing, hiking and exploring this beautiful island!”

Kristina Uehlin, PA -C (Yakima Class 11), writes, “I’m here in a rural clinic in Halfway, Ore., in family practice. It is a beautiful area here in eastern Oregon, with lots of hunting and fishing. Halfway is on the Scenic Snake River Corridor route near the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway that borders Oregon and Idaho. I am in clinic by myself, and I have a supervising physician in Baker City who comes over to see patients twice a month. We are in contact by phone or through messaging several times a day. He is very supportive and a super-nice doc! We are much closer to our family, and Payette is only two hours away. I’m here with my daughter, Halli, who is now 2, and my husband, Kelly, who has taken up steelhead fishing and loves it! We live in a picturesque valley at the base of the Eagle Cap Wilderness and 20 minutes from Hells Canyon.”

Severine Basham, PA -C (Yakima Class 12), was featured in the cover story of the November 2010 issue of PA Professional, the publication of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Basham and two other PAs work in Unalaska, Alaska (also known as Dutch Harbor), at the Iliuliuk Family and Health Services Clinic. The clinic offers a full range of outpatient, behavioral health, rehabilitation and dental services, and it is 800 miles by plane to the next level of care. The clinic has traditionally responded mostly to work-related emergencies in the risky business of fishing and catch processing, and it is now seeing an increased need for medical care for chronic, long-term illnesses.

Coleen Foreman, PA -C (Yakima Class 13), is no longer working in oncology; she began practicing with an OB-GYN office in Yakima, Wash., in November 2010.

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