ClassNotesMEDEX Northwest Alumni

Seattle | Spokane | Yakima

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 2012; any received afterward will appear in the next issue.

Special note: Our alumni, faculty and friends are invited to the 2012 Reunion Weekend, June 1 –3, 2012. We hope to see you there!


Ruth Ballweg, MPA, PA-C (Seattle Class 11), is the section chief for MEDEX Northwest, which became a part of the Department of Family Medicine in 2011. She was awarded a certificate of recognition by the department for exemplifying UW School of Medicine standards for service excellence.

Claudio Lima, PA-C (Seattle Class 15), retired in November 2009 after 25 years at Kaiser Permanente. He re-married 11 months ago, and he returned to work at Kaiser Permanente last October. Lima is also involved in his community — after a three-year hiatus, he was nominated again as a commissioner for the planning board in Woodburn, Ore. Lima reports that his son graduated summa cum laude in psychology from Western Oregon University; later, he was accepted for the nursing program at the University of Portland. Lima’s son is now working full time as an R.N. in the oncology department at a hospital in Portland.

Ed Lopez, PA-C (Seattle Class 15), worked at the Walla Walla Community Health Clinic for two years to pay back a federal loan. Then he left for New York City to do a surgical residency at Montefiore. He was recruited to start the first trauma surgery program in Flint, Mich., and he stayed there two years. Lopez was then recruited by a cardiac surgery group in Tacoma, Wash., where he stayed for nearly seven years. In 1995, he started his own cardiac surgery physician assistant business, which covered cardiac surgery programs from Everett to Tacoma. After that, Lopez studied business, spent seven years on the board of directors for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants, and served as president of the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiovascular Surgery. Since January 2009, he has worked as the facility medical director for an inpatient hospital medicine service in the Franciscan Health System in King County.

Debby Floyd, PA-C (Seattle Class 18), is living in the Seattle area. She has retired from Group Health and is exploring many new creative outlets.

Mindy Opper, PA-C (Seattle Class 21), opened her own practice in 2011 in order to offer more integrative care. Believing that traditional medicine complements allopathic medicine, Opper became an ayurvedic wellness counselor. In addition, many people in Missoula, Mont., are interested in alternative care options, and she wanted to meet their needs. Opper is one of two allopathically trained providers working in a comprehensive healing center. She’s enjoying her work, which focuses on family medicine and women’s care. Visit her website.

Marilyn Wyse Snyder, PA-C (Seattle Class 24), writes, “In 2004, I married Elliott Snyder, M.D., whom I had met on a trip to Israel. They we moved to Texas. We are living in Poetry, a rural area east of Dallas. I must say, tending to chickens and goats is a pretty good ‘job,’ and life is good.”

Marilyn Wyse Snyder, PA-C (Seattle Class 24)
Marilyn Wyse Snyder, PA-C (Seattle Class 24)

Ian Jones, MPAS, PA-C (Seattle Class 30), CCPA, and his family are settled in Winnipeg, Canada. He’s the program director at Canada’s only graduate-level PA program, located at the University of Manitoba. Jones served three years as the president of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants, and he was selected for the Academic Health Leadership Program sponsored by the University of Manitoba and Manitoba Health. He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by MEDEX Northwest and the Washington Association of Physician Assistants (WAPA) for his roles as leader, role model, clinician and mentor at the MEDEX/WAPA reception in Seattle in January 2012.

Martha Kjos, PA-C (Seattle Class 30), has worked in primary care in Redmond, Wash., for the last 13 years. She finds as much time for sailing as she can.

Christopher Carson, PA-C (Seattle Class 31), has practiced in primary care, orthopaedic neurosurgery and emergency medicine. After retiring from the Army after 22 years, he uses his new found-freedom to work with Boy Scout troops on their rock-climbing and snowcamping programs. Carson and his family also enjoy cruises and road trips across the U.S. and Canada.

Marlina Robinson, PA-C (Seattle Class 31), is practicing in Henderson, Nev., with a growing group called HealthCare Partners. She also works with Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, a privately funded volunteer clinic.

Kelly Adsero, PA-C (Seattle Class 39), is working at Auburn Regional Medical Center and at the emergency department in Swedish. She and her husband recently had a baby girl, and Adsero is participating in running events and triathlons.

Brian Knutson, PA-C (Seattle Class 39), has been working with U.S. HealthWorks for three years. He is practicing at the Federal Way clinic, which SPRING 2012 33 gives him exposure to family medicine, occupational medicine and urgent care. Knutson feels that it is a privilege to care for patients of all ages.

Stacy Lasater, PA-C (Seattle Class 39), writes, “Wow, it has been a long time, but I think of you all at MEDEX quite often. I am still in Northern California, working for a large hematology/ oncology practice, Valley Medical Oncology Consultants. Working as a PA is amazing, and I love what I do, and although working in oncology is a very demanding and mentally exhausting field, I definitely find it very rewarding. I am constantly promoting the PA profession, and have pushed a few people into the field who were considering other medical professions. I definitely advocate for MEDEX as a demanding but fantastic program. I worked in orthopaedics for a couple of years, but I wanted more medical experience — to fine-tune the skills and knowledge obtained from MEDEX.”

Preston Lehr, PA-C (Seattle Class 39), has been in family medicine for five years at the Columbia Basin Health Association in Othello, Wash., and loves it!

Photo courtesy of Andrew Cahn,

PA-C (Seattle Class 40), who

traveled to work in a refugee camp

in Uganda.

Andrew Cahn, PA-C (Seattle Class 40), as part of Medical Teams International’s disaster response group, traveled to the Nakivale Refugee Camp in southwest Uganda to provide medical care last October. He was joined by a veteran ER nurse from Oregon. Cahn writes, “The refugees in Nakivale are a mix of Congolese (DRC), Rwandan, Sudanese, Ethiopian, Burundian, Eritrean and Somali. The clinic is well-staffed and quite well-equipped — a small pharmacy, nurses, a midwife, several support staff, and two providers called clinical health officers, who represent a Ugandan version of a mid-level and do very good clinical work. They’re well-trained. Much of the treatment is based on Ugandan Ministry of Health and World Health Organization guidelines. It’s a walk-in clinic, where the complaints run the full range of issues and ages. Many infectious diseases are prevalent, including HIV, TB, brucellosis and malaria. The rainy season had just begun, so malaria was on the rise. They have falciparum malaria, and it’s not hard to see why it kills so many people. Interestingly, the standard and very effective treatment is derived from a Chinese herb called Artemesia. My previous career was in Chinese medicine, so it was interesting to use a medicine in Uganda that I had used for years in the past as part of an herbal pharmacy.”

Hope Salvador, PA-C (Seattle Class 40), MPH, continues to work at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and she earned an MPH from the University of Washington. Her clinical interests tend toward adult medicine, and she is trying to start a hepatitis C program at the center. When not working, Salvador enjoys the great outdoors and travel, including recent trips to London and Nepal.

Mingying-Monique Ying (Bonner), PA-C (Seattle Class 40), is currently working in inpatient cardiology at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore.

Matthew James, PA-C (Seattle Class 42), has completed two locum tenens contracts with Pine Ridge Lakota Hospital in Wounded Knee, S.D. While there, he worked in emergency care and in outpatient internal medicine. He then took a two-year contract with Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he directs the weekend clinic and is the only provider available on the weekends. James also works with two other PAs and a family medicine doctor from Seattle Indian Health to serve a portion of the villages within the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a consortium of 42 tribal villages in the Alaskan interior. The majority of the villages are located above the Arctic Circle. James writes that he was in short sleeves in Chicago for a CME program after enduring five straight days of 40-below weather at home. “Alaska is the highest quality of living I have found to date,” says James. “I am doing exactly what I set out to do, where I wanted to do it, and serving the people and culture I chose to serve. My gratitude to MEDEX remains.”

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Letitia McCully, PA-C (Spokane Class 5), is working at the Community Health Association of Spokane, in Spokane, Wash., which she joined after graduation. She became part of their HIV team approximately two years ago and finds it to be challenging and rewarding; in fact, she recently passed the specialty exam given by the American Academy of HIV Medicine. McCully continues to enjoy camping, hunting, and other outdoor activities. She was granted a moosehunting permit this year and managed to fill her tag with a good-sized bull moose.

Carrie Conley, PA-C (Spokane Class 12), is still in the North Pole “loving life.” She has been there for several months and continues to practice at Midnight Family Medicine in Fairbanks, Alaska, with Dr. Kaihoi. Conley was promoted from an enlisted member of the Air Force Reserves to a second lieutenant.

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Cora Cummins, PA-C (Yakima Class 4), practiced as a gastroenterologyfocused hospitalist in Tacoma, Wash., for 12 years, then as an internal medicine hospitalist. She is now a nocturnist for Catholic Health Initiatives.

Danielle Grate PA-C (Yakima Class 10), has been working in an urgent care facility in Reno, Nev., for the last year. Previously, she spent two-plus years repaying a service loan by working at Health Access Washoe County in Reno. She has two little boys, Tyce (who turned 5 in November) and Talen (who turned 2 on Christmas Eve).

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