Also part of the UPMC family:

UPMC Preceptor Academy

The UPMC Preceptor Academy, established in 2014, was developed to advance the precepting experience for advanced practice providers (APPs), and to foster a highly effective learning environment for students. The UPMC Preceptor Academy is a diverse group of APPs, whose mission is to "develop and maintain an unparalleled Center of Excellence to forward the cause of APP professional and interprofessional development through facilitating the education, mentorship, engagement and fellowship of peers, learners, and colleagues."

The UPMC Preceptor Academy strives to:

  • Communicate important information to APPs about precepting.
  • Encourage APPs to provide educational experiences for students.
  • Develop programs that instruct APPs on methods, models, and best practices for precepting.
  • Create resource materials for preceptors that will help them prepare for student arrival.

See more educational opportunities for advanced practice provider students at UPMC. Please do not contact Fellows directly.

Meet Our Preceptor Academy Fellows


Shannon Altpeter, PA-C

Department of Surgical Oncology
UPMC Shadyside


Shannon is a certified physician assistant in the UPMC Division of Surgical Oncology. She earned both her undergraduate degree, B.S., and master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies at Desales University in 2011. Currently, she is working as a senior PA in the outpatient setting with Dr. Haroon Choudry and Dr. Steven Evans as well as, first assisting in the operating room. Shannon has spent the majority of her career in surgical oncology with past experience in trauma surgery. Within her current department, Shannon has developed the educational resources available to patients undergoing CRS/HIPEC, among other projects aside from patient care. She has been a preceptor to many students and residents since 2012. Additionally, she has guided fellow APP colleagues in becoming preceptors. In 2019, Shannon expanded her educational role by taking a position at Chatham University as a PBL (problem-based learning) instructor. Shannon has held various certifications including BLS/ ACLS, ATLS, FCCS, Davinci Robotics, and UPMC surgery coach.


Kimberly Barton, MSN, CRNP, ANP-C

Magee Pre-Op Center
UPMC Magee Internal Medicine
UPMC Magee TCU

Kimberly Barton, MSN, CRNP, ANP-C is a nurse practitioner who initially obtained a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio in 1990. She then obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University of Pittsburgh in 1996. As a nurse Kim worked in the Neurovascular Intensive Care Unit at Presbyterian University Hospital (PUH), Labor and Delivery at Magee and Neuro-Trauma Step Down at PUH.

She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing as an Adult Nurse Practitioner from The University of Pittsburgh in 2005. Kim has work in Internal Medicine at UPMC since graduation. First at PUH covering inpatient admissions for multiple private attendings. Then in 2006 as services were expanding at Magee, Kim was one of three Internal Medicine Nurse Practitioners that moved from PUH to Magee to start providing Internal Medicine services. Since 2008 she has also providing care to patients as a Medical Moonlighter on weekends covering for admissions, minor issues and emergencies.

Over the course of her career she has served as a preceptor for numerous nurse practitioner, physician assistant and medical students. She has been an undergraduate clinical faculty instructor for labor and deliver who also assisted with teaching several lectures within that discipline. She has served on multiple committees including CPOE (Computer Provider Order Entry), Billing (as it relates to documentation), VTE PPx Work Group and Sepsis Work Group. She applied and was accepted into the Preceptor Academy in 2018 and serves on the Election Committee and the University Liaison Committee.

She is a member of The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Practitioners of Southwestern Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Geriatric Society Southwest Division.

She currently practicing in Internal Medicine at UPMC Magee Hospital. Her current position is multi-faceted. She sees patients in consultation at Magee Pre-Op Center to provide pre-operative and anesthesia clearance prior to scheduled procedures/surgeries. She also sees patients at UPMC Magee Internal Medicine who are seeking to establish care with a new provider as well as seeing established patients for well and sick visits. Additionally, she cares for patients admitted to UPMC Magee Transitional Care Unit.


Brenda S. Bellissimo, PA-C

Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Montefiore, UPMC East

Brenda graduated from Grove City College in 1994 with a double major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; she then attended St. Francis University for Allied Health Sciences where she received her Physician Assistant's degree. She has been board certified in Pennsylvania since 1996. Brenda's practice of focus was initially Cardiothoracic and Transplant Surgery for 16 years. Then, in 2011, she transitioned full-time to reconstructive plastic surgery, which she has casually practiced since 2001.

She practices plastic surgery under James M. Russavage, MD, at UPMC Presbyterian, Montefiore, and East Hospitals, and at Excela Health Latrobe Hospital. Brenda also oversees surgical clinics at Falk, Oxford Center, Magee's Isaly Clinic, and Latrobe Plastics. She's passionate in restoring form and function in all areas of the body to those unfortunate patients ravaged by disease, disfigurement, trauma, and time.

A preceptor since 1998, she has also pioneered endovascular vein harvesting as a Guidant/Maquet Golden Circle Instructor since 2004 and was inducted into their Leadership Circle in 2009. She supports Pittsburgh School of Medicine's APP Surgical Residency Program as a mentor, lecturer, and clinical instructor. She has lectured at the Heart Failure Symposium at Nemacolin Woodlands, has hosted a suturing workshop at the American Society of Plastic Surgery in Orlando in 2001, and has spoken at various physician assistant programs and high schools — promoting mid-level practitioner careers in surgery. She has even received the Outstanding Preceptor Nomination from St Francis University 2012-2013 year. She precepts between two and four clinical physician assistant students yearly for the duration of their surgery and elective plastics rotations and has trained dozens of colleagues in both cardiac and plastic surgery. She has also participated in the matriculation of hundreds of residents and fellows during her career.

Brenda joined the UPMC Preceptor Academy in 2016. She sits on the Preceptor Development Committee — a specialized subcommittee of the Education Committee. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA), and the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS.) As a preceptor, her passion is sharing the pearls that you can't find in books. She loves "when the lights go on," and seeing her students not only grow their wings but also unfurl them in independence.

Brenda's greatest loves are her husband, two children, and extended family. She has been an internationally published artist since the age of 15, under the copyright, Brensk, with works co-released in France and the then—USSR. With hundreds of illustrations still circulating in publication, she currently focuses on volunteer mural painting for pediatrician's offices, community service centers, and churches. One of her current contributions to Breast-Reconstruction-Awareness (BRA-day) is her art-piece mannequin: "The Exorcism of Eve," which had its inaugural display at the Warhol Museum, with permanent residence in the main lobby of Magee Womens Hospital.


Matt Bishop NP-C

Tri Rivers Musculoskeletal Services
UPMC Community Medicine


Matt is an expert level certified Nurse Practitioner who earned his BSN at Duquesne University and his Master's degree as a Nurse Practitioner at Clarion University in 2011. After graduation he spent a short time working for an outside group in Oncology before taking a job at Tri Rivers Musculoskeletal where he has been for the last eight years. He primarily works with Dr. Scott Rainey an orthopedic spine surgeon, both as first assist in the operating room and seeing new patient hours in office.

Matt completed a research project last year that was selected to be presented at the North American Spine Summit meeting in Chicago. He is hoping the project will be published this year. He has also done some legal consulting work and keeps busy outside of work as the president of his local school board.

He enjoys precepting students and part of his expert project is that he developed a formal program for precepting students at the various Tri Rivers sites. The program focuses on evaluating base knowledge of orthopedic related subjects prior to precepting and then evaluates the APP student progress after completing the program. The goal is to evaluate the students and the entire precepting experience looking for continued improvement.


Kimberly Bollinger CRNP-BC, MSN

Heart and Vascular Institute
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Kimberly Bollinger CRNP-BC, MSN is a nurse practitioner currently focusing on general and high risk maternal-cardiology at UMPC-Magee. She earned a Diploma in Nursing from Shadyside Hospital School of Nursing in 1986, Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University in 1992 and subsequently a Master’s degree as an acute care nurse practitioner from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997.

Kimberly has worked in cardiology at UPMC since graduation. She initially worked Heart Failure/ Transplant clinic in 1997 and Cardiac Pavilion service @ UPMC Presbyterian until 2007. From 2007 until present, she has worked on the in-patient cardiology consultative service at UPMC-Magee. She also sees cardiology clinic out-patients. Kimberly has a particular interest in the coordination of inpatient medical delivery plans for high risk cardiac maternity patients. She has recently assisted in developing digitized, multidisciplinary care plans for high risk cardiac-maternal patients.

She is an associate member of the American College of Cardiology. She has done multiple educational lectures ranging from hospital grand rounds to regional conferences and has done multiple lectures at the University of Pittsburgh’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program.

She has precepted a multitude of students over many years sharing her extensive cardiology knowledge. She has precepted or mentored high school students, medical students, nurse practitioner and PA students as well as cardiology fellows. She thoroughly enjoys assisting students through their clinical experience and lecturing


Eric Bridenbaugh PA-C, MPAS

Trauma & Emergency General Surgery
UPMC Altoona

Eric has been a physician assistant with the UPMC Altoona Trauma & Emergency General surgery team since graduating from St. Francis University in 2008. He works together with a team of physician assistants and surgeons to provide care at trauma activations, in the STICU, step-down unit, on the floor, and in follow-up clinic. He also spent 5 years as adjunct faculty at St. Francis University, lecturing in emergency medicine as well as radiology, for didactic students. He has also worked per-diem in various emergency departments for a significant portion of his career.

Eric and his colleagues host multiple physician assistant students from several different schools on elective rotations each year. Several former students have joined the trauma team after graduation. Eric strongly values preceptorship as an opportunity to continue the learning process through educating others.

Eric is a member of the AAPA and PSPA.


Jami L. Burgoyne, PA-C

UPMC Hamot Hospitalist Department
Erie, PA


I graduated from Gannon University in 2006 with my master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies. I have worked in several different specialties over the years to include: Dermatology, Nephrology, and Hospitalist Medicine. I have been in my current position as a Senior Physician Assistant in the hospitalist department at UPMC Hamot since 2014. I decided to pursue this career after meeting a Physician Assistant who worked in a local health care facility where I was employed as a Mental Health Technician. I admired her and the difference she was making with her patients.

I have been a preceptor to many APP students over the years for several different universities. Over the years it has been very enjoyable to see some of the students that I have worked with obtain jobs in our facility and community. I participate actively in my department with the onboarding and training of new APP employees. I have also been an Adjunct Professor for Gannon University when needed to supplement the Physician Assistant Department. Many of my former students now work within this facility or outpatient clinics.

In my free time, I am a long distance runner and run many times throughout the year for different charities. I have two young daughters and have been married to my high school sweetheart for 13 years.


Claire Buxter, MPAS, PA-C

Department of Surgical Oncology
UPMC Magee Womens-Hospital, UPMC East, UPMC Monroeville Surgical Center, UPMC McKeesport

Claire Buxter, MPAS, PA-C, has worked a surgical physician assistant (PA) since graduating from the Physician Assistant Program at Saint Francis University in 1984. She left a private cardiothoracic practice to become one of the first PA's at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in 1992. Claire now specializes in surgical treatment of breast cancer and benign breast disease. She has mentored APP students, residents, fellows and newly hired PA's throughout her career. As a clinical preceptor, she provides her students with a multidisciplinary experience to cancer treatment. Claire especially enjoys watching her students become more confident in their knowledge and skills as their rotation progresses.

Claire serves on the Education Committee in the UPMC Preceptor Academy and Credentialing Committee at Magee for Allied Healthcare professionals.

Claire enjoys cooking and spending her free time with her husband, family and friends.


Lindsey Cornman CRNP-BC, MSN

Lindsey has been in nursing for 13 years. She achieved her Associates degree at Mercy College and was Vice President of her graduating class and then continued her education at YSU to complete her BSN where she graduated with high honors. Her nursing career started at the bedside in St. Joseph’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit. After four years of experience as a nurse, she graduated again with high honors from Kent State University with a Masters in Acute Care. Her first job as a CRNP was with UPMC in Montefiore Hospital in the Transplant Intensive Care Unit and she has remained there throughout the years, happy to have found her home in her first job. She has moonlighted to the VA hospital under critical care medicine. She also sits on the Rapid Response team as the NP representative for PUH and MUH.

Through the years, Lindsey has precepted numerous nurse practitioner students from not only Pitt but multiple other programs including Physician Assistants. She has also trained numerous new hires and APP residents within the critical care program. Her passion for teaching and mentoring is something that drove her to join the Preceptor Academy in 2019. Her other passions include her family, her 2 children, and running. Her favorite accomplishment is running the Boston Marathon in 2019.


Ashley Caruso, PA-C

UPMC Hamot
Urology Department

Ashley graduated from Gannon University in 2010 with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies. After graduation she began working in Obstetrics at Hamot Women’s Hospital as well as working per diem at local correctional facilities. Since 2016, Ashley has been working in the Urology department at UPMC Hamot.

Ashley gave a lecture on hematuria at the 2018 PSPA annual conference. She continues to enjoy precepting students as well as mentoring new hires.


Jen Davison, DNP, CRNP, AGNP-C

Community Provider Services
UPMC Senior Communities

Jen is currently a nurse practitioner working in her specialty of geriatrics at UPMC Heritage Place; a skilled nursing facility, which is part of UPMC Senior Communities. Jen specializes in both geriatrics and palliative care. Prior to joining the Heritage Place team, she worked with in-patient palliative care as well as in-patient hospice. She now gets to combine her two areas of interest serving the population at one of UPMC’s skilled nursing/long term care facilities.

Jen has been working in the field of nursing since 2006 when she graduated from the second degree accelerated BSN program at Rutgers University. She graduated from the Doctor of Nursing Practice program within the Adult-Gerontology curriculum at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 and started her work in palliative care. Her love of geriatrics brought her to the nursing home setting in 2016 at Heritage Place where she continues practicing palliative care with her favorite population of patients.

Jen has always been a mentor to her nursing colleagues. She taught undergraduate nursing students at the University of Pittsburgh while working on her DNP. She was a new nursing grad preceptor while working in Heme-Onc as a registered nurse at UCSD and provided education to her colleagues focusing on chemotherapy, side effects, and stem cell transplant. As a nurse practitioner, she has continued precepting nurse practitioner students at UPMC and is an active member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy. Jen also provides education to the nursing and physician learners and has provided lectures on skilled nursing/long term care, effective communication with sensitive topics, and palliative and end-of-life symptom management.


Sean P. Dent, MSN, ACNP-BC, CCRN

Acute Nurse Practitioner
Critical Care Medicine/Intensivist Program
UPMC Hamot

Sean has been a nurse for almost 15 years working in Critical Care his entire nursing career and has been practicing as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner for the past 5 years with UPMC Hamot's Critical Care Medicine/Intensivist program. He is a graduate of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program from The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

He works collaboratively with the Intensivist Physician team consisting of Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to provide care to the critically-ill population within the three ICU's of the UPMC Hamot facility. A 412-bed tertiary care facility, regional referral hub and Level II Trauma Center located in Erie, Pa.

As a practicing Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Sean values our students' experience. As their career compass his oversight and direction helps each generation of nurses improve the quality of care we provide to our patients. Sean has a vested interest in elevating the level of care we provide. As a preceptor, he feels it's his responsibility to develop and improve his mentoring skills for the current and future generation of practitioners, by striving to be an active listener, a tentative practitioner and a patient educator.


Deborah A. Dixon, CRNP, MSN, BC

Division of Geriatrics
UPMC Shadyside

Deborah obtained her AAS in Nursing, from MCC in 1981, her BSN from the University of Pittsburgh 1985, and her MSN-FNP from the University of Pittsburgh in 1987.

Deborah began working as a certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) in Geriatrics in 1988; she has a true passion for the care of the elderly. She has been in her current position at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Senior Care Institute, since 1994. Her current clinical position involves direct care and management of patients in both outpatient and long-term care settings.

Deborah has been a UPMC Preceptor Academy Fellow since its formation in 2014. She currently participates on the Membership and Bylaws Committees.

Deborah has a strong interest in precepting students; she began precepting students in 1990. She provides and promotes the practice of evidence based medicine. She loves teaching students due to their enthusiasm and desire of higher education. Deborah believes that learning is a lifelong process, and geriatrics is a wonderful setting to showcase this concept.


Tammy L. Eaton, MSN, FNP-BC, ACHPN

Critical Illness Recovery Center (CIRC)
Department of Critical Care Medicine
UPMC Mercy


Tammy Eaton, MSN, FNP-BC, ACHPN, is a nurse practitioner in the Critical Illness Recovery Center (CIRC) at UPMC Mercy, Department of Critical Care Medicine. As a founder of the program, she provides care both in the inpatient setting for patients recently leaving the intensive care unit as well as in the outpatient setting for survivors of critical illness and their families at risk/suffering from the post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). With Tammy'sleadership, the CIRC has grown to become an international model for how care is delivered to critical illness survivors.

Tammy obtained her diploma in Nursing from Ohio Valley General Hospital School of Nursing in 1994, her BSN from Carlow University in 2001, her MSN from Carlow University in 2012, and will complete her PhD studies at the University of Pittsburgh by the end of 2020. Her dissertation focuses on exploring primary palliative care in survivors of critical illness. Prior to her work with the CIRC, she spent 6 1/2 years working as an inpatient palliative care nurse practitioner at UPMC Mercy.

Tammy is a founding member of the Critical and Acute Illness Recovery Organization (CAIRO), an international consortium of active clinical programs working to advance practice and science of critical and acute illness recovery. Tammy has won numerous awards for her work over the years, including the Jonas Nurse Leader Scholarship,multiple research achievement awards from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the American Thoracic Society (ATS), and the 2019 Cameos of Caring Nurse of the Year award for UPMC Mercy.


Shannon Ferrari, MPAS, PA-C

Department of Hematology/Oncology
Women's Cancer Center, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Shannon Ferrari, MPAS, PA-C, is physician assistant in the Women's Cancer Center at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Shannon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Carlow University in 1996 and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Chatham University in 1998. Shannon began working at UPMC after graduation in 1999, and started at the Women's Cancer Center in UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in 2002. In a supervisory role, she currently manages a team of six nurse practitioners and physician assistants. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA).

Through the years, she has been active in working with patients. In clinical practice, she has mentored high school, college, pre—medical, and medical students, as well as worked collaboratively with residents and fellows. She has been a preceptor for physician assistant students and nurse practitioner students since 2005. She is a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy Education Committee, Student Curriculum Subcommittee. She feels the most rewarding aspect of being a preceptor is mentoring students, as they make the connection between their didactic learning and their clinical experience.


George Fichter, PA-C

Northwest Hospitalists
UPMC Northwest

George graduated from Grove City College in 1994 with a major in Molecular Biology. He went on to attend Geneva College Cardiovascular Technology Program and graduated in 1995. As a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist he went on to work at the Allegheny Health Network Cardiovascular Institute at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital Invasive cardiac catheterization lab. During this time he oriented new hires. He was the System Administrator for the electronic medical record. He was the clinical resource for Intra-Aortic Balloon Pumps, invasive cardiac and vascular techniques, and arterial closure devices.

George graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Science in 2000 with a Master of Science in Healthcare Supervision and Management. He used his leadership ability in the Cardiovascular Labs and Electrophysiology labs at Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Corazon Inc.(Consultant), Concord Hospital (Manager of Cath Labs, Concord, New Hampshire), and UPMC Susquehanna. During this time he was published in Cath Lab Digest several times including “Personal Growth is a lifelong Journey,” which described the transition to the Physician Assistant Profession. He was a Fellow member of the Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals.

He then attended the Pennsylvania College of Technology where he graduated with honors with a Physician Assistant degree. She has been board certified in Pennsylvania since 2009. George’s practice of focus has been with Hospitalist Medicine at UPMC Northwest since 2009. He maintains ACLS and NIH stroke scale certifications.

George joined the UPMC Preceptor Academy in 2016. He sits on the Education Committee. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA).


Mary Greer, CRNP

Hi, I am Mary Greer, I am a Nurse Practitioner for the Trauma/General Surgery Department at PUH. My career began as an ICU nurse in a Trauma/Surgery ICU. Once I had a taste of trauma, I continued to crave it for most of my career, with the exception of a short stent in Endocrinology. I have been at Presbyterian Hospital for close to 10 years now. I have truly enjoyed working with interns and residents, as well as, educating multiple students from PITT, and Chatham.
I have always enjoyed and supported preceptorship, these students are our future, we need to give of our time and knowledge. My famous last words to all my students: “Never forget you were a student once, always give back.”


Autumn Groscost, MPAS, PA-C

Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Shadyside

Autumn Groscost, MPAS, PA-C, is physician assistant in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery. Autumn earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from The University of Pittsburgh in 2009 and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Chatham University in 2011. Autumn has worked in plastic surgery at UPMC since graduation. As a Senior Physician Assistant, she primarily works with patients undergoing breast reconstruction after mastectomy/lumpectomy, and patient's pursing body contouring surgery after massive weight loss. She has a particular interest in patient education and has devoted a great deal of time developing patient education teaching modules for patients to view at office consultations.

She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA) as well as the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS). She is a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy Education Committee, Preceptor Development Subcommittee.

Throughout the years, she has been actively working with patients and students. In clinical setting, she has mentored high school, college, pre-medical, and medical students and worked collaboratively with residents and fellows. She has been a preceptor for physician assistant students, nurse practitioner students and aided the education of rotating medical students for the since entering her role as a PA. Autumn identifies closely with the students she mentors in that she completed a clinical rotation with UPMC Plastic Surgery prior to becoming a part of their team in 2011. Her favorite subject to teach students is suturing. The most rewarding aspect of precepting is seeing the transition of students throughout the rotation as they grow from students to clinicians.


Emily Guerriero PA-C, MPAS

UPMC Presbyterian Hospital Neurological Surgery

Emily Guerriero, MPAS, PA-C earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at West Liberty State College in West Liberty, WV in 2003. Emily went to on to become a research technician in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. While working with Dr. Nirmala SundarRaj, Emily investigated the molecular mechanisms of corneal wound healing. Emily’s work resulted in four peer-reviewed publications in the Journal of Investigate Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

In 2010, Emily earned her Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA. Upon graduation, Emily was recruited Neurological Surgery department at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. During the last 10 years in the Department of Neurosurgery, Emily has had the privilege to work with world renowned physicians, including Drs. Robert Friedlander, Paul Gardner, Georgios Zenonos, and Juan Fernandez-Miranda. In addition to her clinical duties, Emily founded the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of Brain Aneurysm and AVM (arteriovenous malformation) Support group in 2011.The support group is designed to provide education about aneurysms and AVMs, as well as provide a look into management strategies, which are discussed by monthly speakers. The support group provides the opportunity for patients and families to ask questions regarding their diagnosis and deficits—both emotional and physical. The floor is also open to anyone who would like to share their concerns, fears, hopes, triumphs, and effective coping mechanisms.

As part of her volunteer work with the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, Emily also established the annual Pittsburgh Brain Aneurysm Awareness 5K. Emily coordinates the event, which at the North Shore on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, to raise money for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation and the local aneurysm support group. The 5K is a great way to increase education and awareness of aneurysms and AVMs and bring the Pittsburgh community together for a good cause.

In her role as a medical educator, Emily has reinitiated the precepting partnership between the Department of Neurosurgery and Chatham University. This relationship provides critical training opportunities to the Physician Assistant Studies program at Chatham University. Emily serves as the preceptor for several students annually affording students a unique training experience in cranial-based neurosurgery outpatient clinics. Emily also serves a member of the Preceptor Academy at UPMC, and has been part of the Membership Committee since 2016, as well as several professional societies the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA) and American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).


Resheda House, CRNP

Hillman Cancer Center
Inpatient Hematology-Oncolgy


Resheda graduated from University of Pittsburgh where she received her Bachelor's and Master's degree.

Resheda has experience in diverse backgrounds including: family medicine, hospital medicine, psychiatry, geriatrics, military occupational medicine and hematology-oncology. She currently works at Hillman Cancer Center inpatient hematology-oncology as a senior CRNP. Resheda has served with the UPMC preceptor Academy within the Education Committee and theUniversity Liaison Committee.

Through the years Resheda has been a preceptor for new on boarding advanced practice providers. She has precepted several students from University of Carlow, University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University. Resheda has done multiple projects on nursing units and one on one projects. She did her senior project on improving APP student's experience on hospital medicine rotations. The experience included case studies, imaging interpretations, preoperative evaluations, working with difficult physicians and role playing for end of life discussions.


Amie Hull, MSN, CRNP

Amie is currently the Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner for UPMC Cranberry Place, part of UPMC Senior Communities. She has been practicing Geriatrics and Palliative Care since 2013.

Her prior experience includes working as the CRNP for UPMC Passavant Heart and Vascular Institute from 2009 to 2013. While there she supported the General and Invasive Cardiology Department as well as conducting outpatient clinic for hospital follow-up and acute need appointments.

Her educational background includes an RN Diploma from the UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing with a BSN from Duquesne University. She obtained her Master’s and Family Nurse Practitioner Degree from Duquesne University in 2009.

She currently serves as a preceptor for nurse practitioner students from Duquesne University. She has precepted in several other roles for the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC Passavant Shadowing program. She enjoys seeing students grow in their clinical knowledge and forming a relationship with the resident and their family.


Samantha Jenkins, PA-C

Interventional Cardiology
UPMC Heart & Vascular Institute at UPMC Hamot


Samantha graduated from Gannon University with her Master of Physician Assistant Science degree in 2016. Since that time, she has been working in the Cardiology Department at UPMC Hamot with a subspecialty focus in Interventional Cardiology. In addition to her clinical practice, she has also oriented several of her coworkers upon hire. She is a member of AAPA, PSPA, the UPMC Cardiac Conference Planning Committee, and UPMC Preceptor Academy.


Kelly Kauffman, MPAS, PA-C

Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Kelly Kauffman, MPAS, PA-C, received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2005, and went on to achieve a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Chatham University in 2007. Since graduating she has worked in her current department, Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery at Magee Hospital. She has enjoyed being a preceptor since 2009. She was a leader in developing a new model of precepting, The Multiple Preceptor Model, in collaboration with members of her department. This model allows preceptors to share the responsibility of teaching among several preceptors to provide superior education without feeling effects of preceptor burnout. She also assists in training of fellows/residents, and new APP hires within the department. She has been a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy since 2016 and currently a member of the Education Committee. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband, Ron, and two daughters, Hannah and Emma.


Laurel Kerr, PA-C

Tri-State Neurosurgical Associates, Senior Physician Assistant
University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Studies Program, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Laurel earned her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Neuroscience from Mercyhurst College in 2005. Following graduation, she gained employment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatry studying early life stress in a nonhuman primate model. Laurel transitioned to the Department of Neurobiology and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 at which time she completed post baccalaureate course work while also serving as a Lab Manager and participating in research on brain computer interface. Laurel attained her Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 and was the recipient of the Physician Assistant Studies Clinical Excellence Award. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants, Association of Neurosurgical Physician Assistants, and was inducted into Phi Alphathe National Physician Assistant Honor Society in 2015. Laurel served as the keynote speaker at the White Coat Ceremony of her undergraduate alma mater in 2017 addressing the Mercyhurst University Physician Assistant students. Laurel currently practices as a Senior Physician Assistant at Tri-State Neurosurgical Associates with Dr. Matt El-Kadi. She remains actively involved in research with a recent publication in Surgical NeurologyInternational. Laurel returned to the University of Pittsburgh following graduation as a grading proctor and clinical lab teaching assistant for the Physician Assistant Programand as of November 1, 2019 she is now an Adjunct Assistant Professor. Laurel has precepted a variety of students including physician assistant, medical, and advanced nursing. Laurel joined the preceptor academy in 2020 and sits on the membership committee and new member orientation subcommittee. She resides in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with her husband, and 3 children

Patricia K. Kitt, CRNA

Department of Anesthesia Shadyside Hospital

Since 2001, Patty has been employed at UPMC Shadyside as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA.) She graduated from La Roche School of Anesthesia with a Master of Health Science in 2001. She obtained a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Kentucky University in 1990.

While Patty primarily works at Shadyside, she also practices at Passavant and Mercy Hospitals. She also travels to UPMC Susquehanna when staffing is needed.

She has been a member of the Preceptor Academy for the past four years and is currently on the Membership Committee. Patty is also a member of the Professional Practice Committee at Shadyside Hospital.

Patty is committed to the education and advancement of Anesthesia students. She is a student advocate and enjoys assisting students on their path to become independent practitioners.

While not at work, Patty enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter. She is an avid runner and has completed a marathon in Rome, Italy. Patty enjoys “giving back.” She participated in Operation Walk Pittsburgh this past year. She is proud to be involved with the insertion of total joints to over twenty patients while in Guatemala.


Amanda Kristofik, DNP, CRNP

Clinical Project Director, UPMC Center for Atrial Fibrillation
UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (multiple locations)

Amanda Kristofik, DNP, CRNP has been a nurse for almost 15 years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Michigan in 2006 and her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2013 from the University of Minnesota. She is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Her passion has always been cardiology. She spent 8 years at the Mayo Clinic working in the Cardiovascular Surgical ICU caring for patients across the lifespan (neonate to geriatric) and those requiring advanced therapies such as VAD and ECMO. She relocated to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2014, accepting a position at UPMC in the electrophysiology department as a nurse practitioner and becoming the first Clinical Project Director in the newly developed Center for Atrial Fibrillation.

Amanda has been instrumental in all aspects of the Center for Atrial Fibrillation including development of protocols to provide rapid outpatient follow-up thereby decreasing hospital admissions and healthcare associated costs as well as being a point of contact for the Left Atrial Appendage Closure Program. She has experience in developing marketing and patient education materials which have been integrated into the EMR. She has also had the opportunity to participate in various speaking engagements for both healthcare professionals and community members as well as been selected to present abstracts at the Heart Rhythm Society Scientific Sessions. Amanda practices at several Heart and Vascular Institute sites throughout Western Pennsylvania and provides inpatient weekend coverage for the EP service.

Amanda currently serves as a preceptor for Duquesne University. She has also oriented new APPs to the service and worked collaboratively with fellows. She assisted in the development of an APP on-boarding tool specifically for EP. Her favorite aspect of precepting is seeing students take the knowledge they have learned in their EP rotation and apply it to other clinical settings. Amanda is a current member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Heart Rhythm Society. She is a new member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy and serves on the both the Education and Membership Committees.


Nora M. Lersch, MSN, FNP-BC, AOCNP

Gynecological Oncology Division
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Nora Lersch has been a family nurse practitioner (FNP) since 1994. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1989 with a BSN and from East Tennessee State University with a MSN in 1994. She is certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation.

She worked in women's health and family practice in rural Southwest Michigan until 2009. During her time in Michigan, she precepted students from Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University and Indiana State University.

She has been with the Division of Gynecological Oncology at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital since 2009. In this position, she helps to evaluate patients in the office prior to chemotherapy, for evaluation before or after surgery, with complications related to treatment or surgery and for surveillance of their cancer.

She has developed relationships with instructors at The University of Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University. She assists in providing preceptorship for Pitt FNP students who wish to do a gynecological rotation, and RMU FNP students who wish to observe an oncology setting during their gyn rotations. She has also provided preceptorships to Carlow and Duquesne University FNP students and Chatham and Carlow University APP students. She provides an annual lecture to the RMU Students on breast and gynecological cancer.

She notes that precepting challenges her to keep up to date on evidence based medicine and feels it is essential that we help to train our future colleagues to be independent and skilled clinicians.

Currently, she is the chair of the Education Committee for the UPMC Preceptor Academy. She notes this committee is working on improving the preceptor experience for both students and preceptors. She looks forward to helping to shape the future of APP education at UPMC.


Kira A. Luka, MPAS, PA-C

SKira A. Luka, MPAS, PA-C
Same Day Surgery

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Kira is an Expert Physician Assistant working in the Same Day Surgery Department at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh since 2007. Kira received a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from Duquesne University in 2001 and a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2002 from Duquesne University. Her previous work experience includes working in Internal Medicine at Primary Care Northside at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA and for The Center for Surgical Breast Diseases at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.

Kira has a strong interest in the advancement of APP practice and professional development of advanced practice providers. She is a member of the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Allied Health Committee, the UPMC CHP Advanced Practice Provider Advisory Committee, and the UPMC Preceptor Academy. She is currently serving as the Chair of the Marketing Committee for the Preceptor Academy. She has been a clinical preceptor for PA students for the University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Program since 2014. She enjoys teaching PA students during their clinical rotations and being a mentor to students as they begin their professional journey with a career as a Physician Assistant.

In her free time, Kira enjoys running, cooking, baking, and spending time with her husband and three children.


Sandra K. Majocha CRNP, MSN

Sandy graduated from Carlow University and is currently working In Internal medicine at Steiner Medical. Started her career as an LPN and worked her way up to nurse practitioner. Received her LPN at Lenape in Ford City. Attended WCCC while working in Med -Surg at the Va hospital obtaining her RN. Worked at Valley Family Medicine for 15 years while furthering her education. Received her bachelor’s degree at Waynesburg University. Went on to be a Clinical nurse specialist and Rounded at St. Margaret’s with Dr. Schowalter while completing the master’s and NP program at Carlow. Joined his practice at graduation. She has taught nursing school at GJCTC for several years. Precepts many students in the last 9 years, including nursing, nurse practitioner, and physician assistant students from numerous universities. In addition, worked in Hospice Care and rounded at nursing homes due to her love of the geriatric population.

She belongs to the Pennsylvania Coalition of nurse Practioner’s and the AANP. Sits on the Wellness board at the United Methodist Church. Enjoys crocheting and spending time with her seven grandchildren. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart and has 3 grown children.


Heather McCrory PA-C, MSPAS

Surgical Oncology
UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside Hospital

Heather graduated from Carlow University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Biology, focus in Human Anatomy and a minor in Chemistry. She then attended the University of Pittsburgh as part of the inaugural class, receiving a Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies in 2011. She practiced Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at St. Margaret’s Hospital for 5 years where she completed her senior project developing resources and education for patients with COPD. She currently practices in Surgical Oncology since 2018 and is involved in Quality Improvement projects within the department and the hospital.

She has precepted students from the University of Pittsburgh and Chatham University since 2015 and joined the OAPP Preceptor Academy in 2019. She has also been a Guest Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh Physician Assistant Program since 2015.

Heather is currently the Chair of the Education of the Preceptor Academy and hopes to bring a variety of resources to current and future preceptors as well as their students.

She enjoys spending time with her husband, family, German shepherds and running.


Katie A McGuire, MPAS, PA-C

Physician Assistant
Critical Care Medicine Advanced Practice Provider Supervisor
UPMC Hamot


Katie has been practicing as a Physician Assistant in Critical Care since November 2010. She was the first Advanced Practice Provider (APP) to work with the Critical Care group at UPMC Hamot, and now serves as the supervisor for the Critical Care APPs. Katie obtained her Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Science from Gannon University.

As an APP in Critical Care, Katie is an advocate for APPs working to their full scope of practice in collaboration with the Critical Care attendings. UPMC Hamot is a 423 bed tertiary care facility, regional referral hub and Level II Trauma Center with a Trauma-Neuro ICU, Cardiovascular ICU and Medical ICU located in Erie, Pennsylvania.


Lucille Morrison, M Ed, MSN, DNP, CRNP

Lucille is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and an assistant professor of nursing and the coordinator of the ABSN program at Edinboro University. She teaches in the Clarion/Edinboro MSN-nurse practitioner program and Edinboro’s Doctorate of Nursing Practice program.

Since 2010, she has worked in the Preadmission surgery screening clinic at UPMCHamot and until 2019 she also worked for WORK Partners MyHealthatWork at UPMCHamot.

Her educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Education, Master’s in Science in Nursing and FNP from Edinboro University, and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Robert Morris University.

She enjoys seeing students grow in their clinical knowledge. In addition to her teaching responsibilities at Edinboro University she serves as a preceptor to DNP students at Gannon U, Chatham U, and Edinboro U. She is an active member and past president of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioner Association. She serves as a judge at UPMCHamot’s Annual Research Day.


Kelly Nicholas, MPAS, PA-C, CLT

Kelly Nicholas is physician assistant in the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery. Kelly earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from West Virginia University in 2007 and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Chatham University in 2009. Kelly began her career as an inpatient Neurosurgery PA and then transitioned to a surgical PA in plastic surgery in 2011. As an Expert Physician Assistant, she primarily works with patients undergoing breast reconstruction after cancer. In 2017, she completed her Certified Lymphedema Therapist training to better care for the patients at the newly established lymphedema surgical program.

Kelly has been precepting students since 2011. She has worked closely with PA students from various programs during this time. Kelly enjoys teaching students suturing and fundamentals of PA practice. The most rewarding aspect of precepting is seeing students evolve into successful clinicians. In her free time, Kelly enjoys spending time with her family and crafting.


Whitney L. Nolan, MPAS, PA-C

Physician Assistant Senior, West Erie Medical Group
UPMC Hamot


Whitney Nolan is a Senior Physician Assistant working in Primary Care at West Erie Medical Group in Erie, PA since 2017. Whitney earned her Bachelor of Health Science degree in 2009 and her Masters of Physician Assistant Science degree in 2010 from Gannon University. She began her career working in Primary Care in Corry, PA in 2010. In 2012, she transitioned into Gastroenterology at UPMC Hamot in Erie, PA and then in 2013 she began working in Urology at Warren General Hospital. In 2015, she began teaching as a Professor for Gannon University in the PA program. She has served as a preceptor for multiple PA students year round since 2017 and enjoys participating in the education of PA students.

Whitney is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants. She served as a guest lecturer at the 2016 PSPA fall conference in Pittsburgh, PA speaking on Dysuria. She is also a member of Pi Alpha National Honor Society for Physician Assistants and serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Gannon University Physician Assistant Program. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.


Leiren Pantages, MHS, PA-C

Department of Gynecologic Oncology
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Leiren Pantages, MHS, PA-C, is a physician assistant with the gynecologic oncology department at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Leiren earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 and a Master of Health Science from Lock Haven University in 2011. Leiren initially worked for a private chronic pain practice after graduation and joined UPMC in 2012 as an inpatient internal medicine APP. In 2018, she became an inpatient gynecologic oncology APP. Leirenhas been a preceptor for APP students since 2015, mentoring students from various different universities throughout Pennsylvania. In addition, sheserves as amember of the academic team in the education of the OB/Gyn residents during their gynecologic oncology rotation, providing direct education and training to a new resident team every 6 weeks. Leiren aims to provide a structured learning environment where each person feels empowered to actively participate in their own education. She also seeks to determine how each individual learns best and focuses on their strengths to help them build upon their clinical knowledge and skills.

Leiren is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. She currently serves as a member of the University Liaison Committee within the UPMC Preceptor Academy and also is an active member of multiple quality improvement committees at Magee-Womens Hospital, including the Magee hospital readmission committee, the gynecologic oncology readmission committee and the VTE reduction committee. 


Laura B. Pete, MS.Ed, MPAS, PA-C
Physician Assistant, Expert

Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh
Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine


Laura obtained her undergraduate degree at Alfred University in 1992 and her M.S Ed in Education at Duquesne University in 1995. After teaching students with behavioral and emotional challenges, Laura went back to school and obtained her MPAS in 2006 from Chatham University. She started at UPMC Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2007 in the Department of Pediatric General Surgery -Trauma service. In 2009, Laura began working in the Emergency department at CHP.

Laura has precepted APP students from Duquesne University, Chatham University, Robert Morris University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Laura has served as assistant instructor for a hands -on skills workshop for APPs, teaching basic suturing, advanced suturing, minor office procedures, splinting, and casting. Laura has served as a primary preceptor during the orientation period for new graduate APPs hired in the CHP ED and has developed an orientation handbook for the ED. Laura has been a guest lecturer at the 9th Annual John M. Templeton Trauma Symposium in 2009, speaking about abdominal trauma in children, duodenal injuries in pediatric trauma, and challenging cases related to these injuries. In 2016, Laura created a clinical effectiveness guideline and corresponding Cerner order set for neonatal conjunctivitis that is currently used by CHP ED clinicians.

Laura is a member of the American Association of Physician Assistants and the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants. She currently serves on the Preceptor Academy Membership Committee, new member orientation subcommittee.

In her spare time, Laura enjoys baking, spending time with her husband and son, and playing with her dogs.


Jenny Petrone, MPAS, PA-C

Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Sedation Services
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh


Jenny is an Expert Physician Assistant working in the Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine since 2008 and with the Sedation Service at Children’s Hospital since 2011. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from Duquesne University in 2007 and a Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2008.

In addition to her clinical responsibilities, Jenny has been very involved in the education of physician assistant students. She is an adjunct faculty member for the Duquesne University physician assistant program, serving as preceptor for the university’s PA students since 2010. She is also an adjunct faculty member for the Chatham University physician assistant program, working as a facilitator for their problem-based learning course from 2015-2017 and now as a grader for exams.

Jenny has been a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy since 2018. She recently began serving on the UPMC APP Clinical Career Ladder Governing Council. Jenny is also the Associate Director of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Advanced Practice Provider Education Program, assisting in developing the curriculum and now serving as mentor to the department’s APP fellows.


Brittany Quattrone MSN, CRNP-BC

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery
UPMC Mercy


Brittany is a nurse practitioner in the UPMC Division of Cardio-thoracic Surgery. She earned her undergraduate degree, B.S.N., at Duquesne University in 2009. She earned her graduate degree, M.S.N., at University of Pittsburgh in 2013. Currently, she is earning her D.N.P at the University of Pittsburgh. Brittany has held positions as adjunct faculty at Duquesne University being a clinical instructor for undergraduate nursing students. She is currently working as a senior NP in the thoracic surgery inpatient/outpatient setting with Dr. Omar Awais as well as, first assisting in the operating room. Brittany has spent the majority of her career in the cardio-thoracic area with past experience in Mercy’s CVICU as a nurse. Within her current department, Brittany has developed the educational resources and teaches a thoracic educational class for staff, among other projects aside from patient care. She has held various certifications including BLS, ACLS, PALS and Davinci Robotics.

Through the years, she has been active in working with students. In clinical practice, she has mentored high school, college, pre—medical, and medical students, as well as worked collaboratively with residents and fellows. She has been a preceptor for physician assistant students and nurse practitioner students since 2015. She is a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy Education Committee and is the University of Pittsburgh NP liaison. Outside of her professional life, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.


Stephanie Rademacher, PA-C

Family Medicine
UPMC Hamot Heritage Primary Care


Stephanie is a certified physician assistant in family medicine. She earned both her undergraduate, B.S., and master’s degree in Physician Assistant Science at Gannon University in 2010. She is currently working as a senior PA in the outpatient primary care setting for UPMC Hamot Heritage Primary Care. Stephanie has completed a project for improving pulmonary function testing in COPD and asthma patients in primary care. She enjoys working with high school students interested in careers in medicine as well as precepting physician assistant students. She sits on the Center for Post-Secondary Career and Discovery Health Sciences committee at a local high school helping to guide students with their career paths. She also helps to guide new APP colleagues. Stephanie has held certifications including BLS/ACLS and been a member of the AAPA and PSPA.


Angela Reino, MS, PA-C

Department of Otolaryngology
UPMC Horizon

Angela received her Bachelor of Science degree from The Pennsylvania State University in 2010 with a major in in biobehavioral health and a minor in psychology. She received her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Pittsburgh’s physician assistant program in 2012.

She took a position as a physician assistant with a cardiology group where she provided both inpatient and outpatient care. Angela pursued a position at Horizon ENT in 2014 as she was offered a greater degree of autonomy there. Angela manages outpatients, post-operative patients and inpatient consultations. As the lead of the Horizon ENT allergy immunotherapy clinic, Angela provides clinical direction, personnel management, patient care and conducts research.

Angela is a member of the PSPA employment committee, serves as the alumni liaison for the University of Pittsburgh’s physician assistant program and serves on the UPMC Horizon credentialing committee. Outside of her professional life, she is married and has two children who keep her busy.

Angela Reino is committed to the physician assistant profession and the patients to whom she provides care! 


Karlyn L. Rupert, MPAS, PA-C

Department of Hematology/Oncology
Women's Cancer Center, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital


Karlyn L. Rupert, MPAS, PA-C is a physician assistant at the Women’s Cancer Center at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Karlyn earned Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and chemistry from Carlow University in 2010. She then earned a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from Chatham University in 2012. Karlyn began her career in the bone marrow transplant unit at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital and has been in her current position at Women’s Cancer Center since 2015.

Her greatest professional passion is precepting advanced practice provider (APP) students. As the Women’s Cancer Center Student Experience Coordinator, she continues to precept several APP students yearly to provide each with a comprehensive, clinically relevant experience. Furthermore, Karlyn mentors new departmental hires, presents monthly educational lectures for new UPMC oncology providers, as well as guest lectures at local physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs.

She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), UPMC Preceptor Academy Education Committee, The Leader Subcommittee, and UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion.


Donna Sheridan, CRNP-C, MSN, Family Nurse Practitioner.

UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Donna Sheridan, CRNP-C, MSN is a nurse practitioner currently focusing on caring for hospitalized internal medicine patients at UMPC-Magee, working with private attendings and the hospitalist service.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Carlow University. As a staff nurse, she gained experience taking care of antepartum/postpartum patients at Magee and medical and coronary intensive care unit patients at Allegheny General Hospital.

She pursued her degree in graduate education, obtaining her Master of Science degrees as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Critical Care from LaRoche University and as a Family Nurse Practitioner from University of Pittsburgh. Initially post graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997, Donna worked with a cardiologist and internal medicine physicians associated with Allegheny Health Network.

In 2002, Donna accepted a position as a CRNP at UPMC working as an Internal Medicine nurse practitioner with private physicians and caring for their patients. She initially was at Montefiore and Presbyterian and transitioned to Magee Womens Hospital in 2005. Over the past several years, Donna has gained experience working with hospitalized internal medicine patients. She has cared for various patient populations and services, including neurosurgery, toxicology, sickle cell anemia, breast cancer, orthopedic and transitional care unit patients.

Donna has precepted several nurse practitioners and physician assistant students, from Ohio State University, Carlow University, and University of Pittsburgh. She was appointed as a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy and is presently involved with the marketing committee. Donna is a member of several committees at Magee, including 30-day readmission, Morbidity and Mortality planning committee for M &M Rounds, and the APP credentialing committee. She completed a poster presentation, Documentation of Code Status in a Transitional Care Unit, and this poster was approved for submission for the 2020 UPMC Nurses week celebration. Donna serves as a member of a DNP capstone committee for the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

She is a member of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and the local chapter, NP Association of Southwestern Pa.


Aimee Smith, MS, PA-C 

Aimee Smith, MS, PA-C is a Senior Physician Assistant working in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Magee Womens Hospital. Aimee received her Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation Science with a certificate in Pathokinesiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. She then accepted a position at the Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research (WISER), the medical simulation center at the University of Pittsburgh, where she had been working part time since 2003. She became the Production Manager for Curriculum Development, overseeing the planning, organizing, and coordinating of curriculum. She created a detailed process that helped to streamline curriculum production and provided resources for subject matter experts to easily create simulation-based courses with online curriculum and hands-on simulation scenarios. Aimee presented her curriculum development process at multiple regional, national, and international conferences.

Aimee then received her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2011 and has been working in the Magee Womens Hospital Emergency Department since. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she helped to create a Magee ED Orientation Handbook and has implemented several protocols to assist in patient care and follow-up. She continues to orient new APP hires to the Magee ED. She also worked casually at Shadyside Urgent Care and UPMC Horizon Greenville Emergency Department.

In 2015, Aimee received a Master of Science degree in Health and Fitness, Clinical/Practitioner Track through the University of Pittsburgh.

In 2017, Aimee accepted the role as Lead Developer for Simulation and Education for Advanced Practice Providers through the UPMC Office of Advanced Practice Providers (OAPP). She uses her simulation and education background from WISER to continue to develop curriculum specifically for APPs.

She is a member of the UPMC Emergency Medicine Quality and Patient Safety Committee and has been a member of the UPMC APP Preceptor Academy since 2014. She served as the Preceptor Academy Education Committee Chair from 2018-2020. She has been a preceptor to physician assistant students since 2013, taking students from the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, and Duquesne University.

She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

In her spare time, Aimee enjoys spending time with her husband Marc and their three children, Elyse, Damian, and Dominic.


Jackie L. Smith, MS, PA-C

Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology Division
UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, UPMC Shadyside

Jackie L. Smith, MS, PA-C is a Senior Physician Assistant working in the Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology Division, at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. Jackie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation Science with a certificate in Pathokinesiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2006. From there, she was awarded an internship through the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (PTEI) conducting research on joint kinematics for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh where she was eventually brought on as staff. During this time, Jackie also became a guest lecturer and a student tutor for the Community College of Allegheny County’s Biology Department. She then returned to the University of Pittsburgh and received her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies in 2011.

Jackie has worked as a Physician Assistant in Neuroradiology for 5 years performing specialized spine procedures under fluoroscopy. She assists radiology residents and fellows in their training of fluoroscopic guided lumbar punctures and CT myelograms. Jackie has precepted physician assistant students from the University of Pittsburgh’s Physician Assistant Studies Program, graduate students from the University of Pittsburgh’s Biomedical Masters Program (BMP), as well as numerous undergraduate students. She has lectured at the Office of Advanced Practice Provider’s (OAPP) biannual CME Conference and has been a guest lecturer and clinical lab instructor for the University of Pittsburgh’s Physician Assistant Studies Program since 2018. Her prior work history includes 2 years within UPMC’s Neurosurgery Department at UPMC Passavant and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She also worked for a private orthopedic surgery group assisting in spine surgery and ortho trauma for 1 year.

Jackie is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA). She joined the Preceptor Academy in 2020 and sits on both the Membership Committee and its New Member Orientation subcommittee as well as the Education Committee and its Educational Resources subcommittee.

Jackie lives just north of Pittsburgh and loves spending her spare time with her husband and two young children. She also enjoys singing at events or private functions around Pittsburgh whenever time allows.


Jordana Smith, PA-C

Department of Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Jordana Smith, PA-C has been working in the Department of Minimally Invasive Bariatric and General Surgery at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital since 2010. She has been in practice since 2003, previously working in OBGYN, and precepting students since then. She is involved in the development of a new preceptor model, The Multiple Preceptor Model. This model allows preceptors to share the responsibility of teaching, while avoiding burnout, and simultaneously providing students with a well—rounded rotation experience. She is passionate about teaching and loves seeing that "aha" moment when students develop a deeper understanding. She works hard to teach students the pathophysiology to help solidify their knowledge as well as help them gain insight into the interactions of multiple medical conditions. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and boys.


Gregory Soxman, PA-C

UPMC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Gregory has been a Physician Assistant for over 30 years. He received A Radiologic Technology degree from Pennsylvania State University, a BA degree from Ottawa University, and a Physician Assistant degree from the Community College of Allegheny County.

He has earned a Certificate of added qualification, passing the Orthopaedic Surgery examination and has attained the Expert designation within the UPMC career ladder.

As a part of the UPMC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Gregory has extensive experience in General Orthopaedics, Total Joint Arthroplasty, and Limb Salvage procedures. He has participated in the education of Physician Assistants, Medical Students, Orthopaedic Residents, and Orthopaedic Fellows while participating in research projects and peer reviewed publications. He has served on advisory committees for both insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies lecturing extensively on the subject of injection techniques and therapeutics.

Gregory was part of the local organizing committee responsible for earning the bid for the National Senior Games Association, Senior Olympics, which brought over 10,000 athletes and over $35 million in economic impact to the city of Pittsburgh in 2005.

He is a member of the Preceptor Academy and has been a staunch advocate for the progression of Advanced Practice Providers as an integral part of the medical team.


Hayley M. Stettner, MPAS, PA-C

Director, UPMC CCHM APP Hospitalist Fellowship
Center for Community Hospitalist Medicine
UPMC Passavant

Hayley Stettner is a hospitalist physician assistant for UPMC Center of Community Hospitalist Medicine (CCHM) at UPMC Passavant and UPMC Jameson. She graduated with a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from Duquesne University in 2017.

After graduation, she completed a critical care residency at UPMC Presbyterian/Montefiore. In March of 2018, she was appointed Director of the CCHM APP Hospitalist Program, which is a six-month fellowship for CCHM nocturnal APPs that blends critical care medicine and hospitalist medicine. After appointment, Hayley restructured the program with a focuson a rapid response techniques, improving APP procedural skills, and creating a formally structured didactic curriculum.

Along with mentoring and precepting hospitalist APP Fellows, Hayley precepts PA students from Duquesne University. She enjoys returning to her alma mater to give lectures to PA students about hospitalist medicine and participating in the education of PA students.

Hayley is the 2020-2022 Vice Chair of the Preceptor Academy. 


Lauren Stitt, PA-C

Department of Surgical Oncology
UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Shadyside


Lauren is a senior level certified physician assistant in the UPMC Division of Surgical Oncology. She graduated from the Chatham University Physician Assistant program in 2004. She has spent the majority of her career with surgical oncology, with a specialty in pancreatic cancer. She currently works with the chief of surgical oncology, Dr. Amer Zureikat. Lauren and her colleagues precept and mentor multiple physician assistant students and high school students every year, as well as residents while in the outpatient clinic setting. She mentors all new outpatient advance practice providers in the department. She works closely with the surgical oncology fellows, visiting scholars and research associates on research projects and clinical trials. She sits on the Membership Committee for the Preceptor Academy.


William (B.J.) Vascik, MPAS, PA-C, MS, ATC

Expert Physician Assistant 
Three Rivers Orthopedic Associates


William (B.J.) has an extensive background in orthopedics and sports medicine. He initially graduated from Penn State University and Michigan State University with B.S. and M.S. respectively in Kinesiology and worked as an athletic trainer (ATC) and taught at the collegiate level. After graduation, he worked at Penn State University and UPMC Sports Medicine at La Roche College. After learning about physician assistants and the role they have in medicine, he attended Chatham University and became board certified in 2011. Following graduation, he worked for Ochsner Sports Medicine Institute in New Orleans, LA, who were the primary orthopedic providers for the New Orleans Saints (NFL) and Pelicans (NBA). He was also the primary medical provider for Xavier University of Louisiana’s athletic teams (NAIA). After 3 years in New Orleans, B.J. and his wife decided to return to home to Pittsburgh. B.J. has been working at UPMC since 2015, where he has been employed at Three Rivers Orthopedic Associates at the St. Margaret Hospital and Natrona Heights offices. B.J. works in the clinic seeing new/old patients, post-op evaluations, and runs a busy injection clinic. With his background, he has interests in patient education and rehabilitation. He has also tried to deepen his toolbox with clinical applications by attending courses in wound healing and musculoskeletal ultrasound. He has been a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy since 2018. In his spare time, B.J. enjoys spending time with his wife Michele, his bulldog Beaux, attending Penn State football games/tailgates, and listening to music.


S. Noona Vehovic, MSN, RN, AC-PNP, FNP

Department of Critical Care Medicine
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh


Noona is a certified acute-care nurse practitioner in the Division of Critical Care Medicine. She earned her B.S. in Biobehavioral Health from Penn State University in 2002 before earning her B.S.N. from Duquesne Univiersity in 2003. She worked in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit from 2003-2009 as a staff nurse before enrolling in the M.S.N. program at Carlow University. After completion of her degree, she worked in Interventional Radiology before returning to the PICU as a nurse practitioner. She completed her acute care certification from Rush University in 2015.

Within her department, she has developed the acute care pediatric APP fellowship curriculum and works closely with academic trainees on vascular access options in the pediatric patient, feeding modalities and tube placement, and delirium recognition and treatment. She has precepted both nurse practitioner and physician assistant students rotating in the pediatric critical care setting. Recently, she has obtained her Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Instructor training and is assisting in classes at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She serves on several committees including OAPP Preceptor Academy, APP Advisory Council, and APP Personnel Subcommittee. She is a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.


Kristi Veshinfsky, CRNP-C, MSN

Primary Care
UPMC Western Psychiatric

Kristi graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing in 1991 and initially worked inpatient Hem/Onc. She then transitioned to Critical Care while she attended LaRoche College for her MSN, family nurse practitioner track. After graduating in 1995, she began working as a nurse practitioner in the hospital with a cardiology group. Over her 25 years as a nurse practitioner, she has worked as a hospitalist, in the ER, primary care office and the last 16 years at UPMC. Over 11 years were as a hospitalist at PUH then at Magee when the service moved. For nearly 5 years, Kristi has worked at Western Psychiatric Hospital for primary care. She provides the medical care for inpatients; her focus is on the MERCK unit which specializes in Autistic and Intellectually Disabled patients.

Precepting students has been a rewarding experience and Kristi has been precepting students for over 20 years. The past few years she has had 4-6 students every year from Pitt’s PA program. She finds that her patient population, the variety of medical issues and age range (4-99) are a good challenge for the students. In 2018 she was awarded the Preceptor of the Year by Pitt. In 2019, Kristi designed a clinical skills WISER program for the incoming Psych residents. In the past this was done piece-mill and though helpful to the residents, it is felt that hands on in a simulation lab will improve their skills and competency.

In her free time, Kristi enjoys spending time with her 2 kids, husband and their 4 dogs. In the summer, you will often find her camping and hiking. The rest of the year she is usually planning a travel adventure or walking dogs at the local shelter.


Kristen Weber CRNP-BC, MSN

Heart and Vascular Institute
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital

Kristen Weber CRNP-BC, MSN is a nurse practitioner currently focusing on general and high risk maternal-cardiology at UMPC-Magee. She earned a Bachelor of Science and Nursing degree from James Madison University in Virginia in 1989 and subsequently a Master’s degree as an acute care nurse practitioner from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997.

Kristen has worked in cardiology at UPMC since graduation. She initially worked on the in-patient Cardiac Pavilion service at UPMC-Presbyterian from 1997-2006. From 2006 until present, she has worked on the in-patient cardiology consultative service at UPMC-Magee. She also sees cardiology clinic out-patients. Kristen has a particular interest in the coordination of inpatient medical delivery plans for high risk cardiac maternity patients. She has recently assisted in developing digitized, multidisciplinary care plans for high risk cardiac-maternal patients.

She is an associate member of the American College of Cardiology. She has done multiple educational lectures ranging from hospital grand rounds to regional conferences and has done multiple lectures at the University of Pittsburgh’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program.

She has precepted a multitude of students over many years sharing her extensive cardiology knowledge. She has precepted or mentored high school students, medical students, nurse practitioner and PA students as well as cardiology fellows. She thoroughly enjoys helping students optimize a personally, tailored clinical experience.


Zachary V. Weber, PA-C

Department of Orthopedic Surgery
Tri Rivers Musculoskeletal Centers


Zachary graduated from Westminster College with a bachelor's degree in 2009. He matriculated into Duquesne University’s graduate Physician Assistant program receiving his master's degree in 2011. In 2012, Zachary developed an interest in orthopedic surgery and completed a post-graduate orthopedic surgery fellowship program in Johnson City, TN. This was followed by employment through Robinwood Orthopedics of Hagerstown, MD where he worked within multiple orthopedic surgical subspecialties. He then returned to the Pittsburgh area in 2015 joining Tri Rivers Musculoskeletal Centers.

Zachary currently works under the direct supervision of Dr. Thomas Muzzonigro. This service line specializes in adult knee and hip reconstruction. Zachary provides office, hospital, and OR based services including work through Butler Memorial and Passavant McCandless Hospitals.

Aside from his clinical and surgical responsibilities, he volunteers as a preceptor to various PA students throughout the year. Zachary also joined the Preceptor Academy in 2019 where he serves on the website sub-committee.

In his spare-time, Zachary enjoys various outdoor activities especially with his wife, twin boys, and dog.


Shenoa Williams, CRNP, SANE-P, SANE-A

Child Advocacy Center of UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Advocacy Resources for Children (ARCH) Clinic

Shenoa Williams graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program with a Master’s of Science in Nursing in 2006. After certifying in Primary Care through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board she was employed as a CRNP in an outpatient Developmental Pediatric practice. Her eight years working in this setting set her up for success at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) Child Advocacy Center (CAC), due to her understanding of both the impact of trauma on development and the increased risk for physical and sexual abuse.

Since joining the Child Advocacy Center Shenoa has expanded her knowledge and expertise of child maltreatment through attending conferences, webinars, and peer review meetings. Her greatest achievement has been obtaining two certifications through the Commission of Forensic Nursing as a Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE-P) in 2017 and as an Adult/Adolescent SANE-A in 2019. Precepting APPs has been an exercise Shenoa has been dedicated to, both in her current position and previously in developmental pediatrics. Since 2016 she has contributed over 1,500 hours to precepting APP students at CHP in primary care with an emphasis on child maltreatment and under-served, vulnerable children. Additionally, she participates in mentoring through the Midwest Regional Children’s Child Advocacy Center Preceptorship program.

Shenoa’s dedication to education is reflected in her roles as Secretary for the UPMC APP Preceptor Academy and Secretary for the UPMC CHP Advisory Committee. Outside of UPMC she is the Membership Chair for the Three Rivers Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP). In the community she volunteers as a mentor through the Center for Women and she can be seen at CHP on the weekends with her TheraPet certified border collie, Cookie.


Antoinette Wilson, MMS, PA-C

CMI Primary Care
Latterman Family Health Center


Toni is a physician assistant at Latterman Family Health Center in McKeesport, PA where she provides full spectrum care to both pediatric and adult patients. Toni graduated from Wake Forest University’s Physician Assistant Program in 2009.
Toni works with a great team of Family Medicine attending physicians, residents and staff to provide evidence based care while being patient-centered. Toni’s particular interests are women’s care, management of asthma and COPD, as well as providing compassionate care to vulnerable and medically complex/high risk patients.

Toni has been precepting students since 2014. Toni is an adjunct faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh’s Physician Assistant Program. She enjoys precepting students completing their Family Medicine rotations as well as being an instructor for physical exam labs and patient simulated exams.

Toni is a member of AAPA and is recognized as an APPA Clinical Preceptor.


Beth A. Windsor, CPNP-PC, CPNP-AC

Same Day Surgery
UPMC 
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Beth is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Beth completed her education at the University of Pittsburgh; she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in 1990, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1996, and her Master of Science in Nursing/Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in 2003.

Beth has over 25 years of experience in sub-specialty pediatric care, and holds dual certification in primary care/acute care pediatrics. Since 2007, Beth has worked on Same Day Surgery under the Department of Anesthesia. Prior to this, she worked in pediatric hematology for 14 years, caring for patients with various blood disorders, such as coagulation issues and sickle cell disease. These positions at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC have allowed for clinical care of patients, teaching and involvement in research activities.

Beth is active in the education (lecturing and precepting) of APP students, medical students, resident/fellow trainees in clinical and community (medical camp) settings. She has given 80+ Presentations to medical, nursing and community groups. She has also been actively involved in clinical research and publications in many areas of hematology and sickle cell disease.

She is a current and past member of several hospital system, and national committees, which are dedicated to supporting the advancement of APP practice.

Beth is currently a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy, Education Committee, Student Curriculum subcommittee.