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:
See more educational opportunities for advanced practice provider students at UPMC. Please do not contact Fellows directly.
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.
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.
Family Healthcare of Edinboro
Christopher became a nurse practitioner in 2009. Christopher initially practiced in an Internal medicine practice caring for patients in an office setting and hospital setting; he then transferred to family practice. He really enjoys caring for patients throughout a life span; from new born to geriatrics.
He has have been a preceptor for a couple of students each year, since 2011. His favorite thing about precepting is helping the students grow into their role, and seeing them understand a new concept, and putting processes together. He is currently a member of the Education Committee and serves on the Preceptor Development Subcommittee.
Acute Nurse Practitioner
Critical Care Medicine/Intensivist Program
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.
Kristine is a Pittsburgh native, wife, and mother of two, who is currently functioning as a certified registered nurse practitioner (CRNP) for UPMC corporate headquarters in the US Steel Towers. Her educational background includes an RN Diploma from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing '82, a BSN from LaRoche College in '89, and a Master's of Science in Nursing/CRNP Family Practice from the University of Pittsburgh in '95.
Her background as a CRNP includes working in many diverse areas such as family practice, emergency/urgent medicine, cardiology, and AnyWhere Care (E—visits). Currently, she serves the UPMC employees at the "MyHealth@Work" onsite clinics. This includes hands—on, as well as telemedicine care.
She serves as a preceptor for nurse practitioner and medical students from the University of Pittsburgh. Her favorite precepting moments are when the "lightbulb" goes on. She notes that it's rewarding to see the students start to put the pieces together in making diagnosis and appropriate plan of care, and becoming more confident and excited to start their path as a nurse practitioner. She looks forward to continuing to serve her patients and the students.
Division of Geriatrics
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.
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Thoracic Division
Julie has been working as a physician assistant (PA) since 2006. She obtained her Master of Physician Assistant Degree from Duquesne University in 2006. Upon completion of her education, she joined the Thoracic Surgery team at UPMC after doing an elective rotation with them as a student. She has remained in her position since that time. Julie is now an APP Supervisor and supervises the Thoracic Surgery APPs at Presbyterian. She continues to work clinically and takes care of surgical patients including those with lung cancer, pleural effusions, interstitial lung disease, pneumothorax, empyema, lung abscesses, GERD, Barrett's esophagus, achalasia, and esophageal cancer.
Julie is an adjunct faculty member at the following physician assistant programs: Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Chatham University. Julie has been precepting nurse practitioner (NP), PA, and medical students in addition to new hires to the department and residents and fellows. She is a member of the Preceptor Academy Education Committee. Julie also is on various committees within the Office of Advanced Practice Providers.
Department of Interventional Radiology
John graduated from Chatham College in 1997; he began precepting students about a year after he graduated. He works in Interventional Radiology at UPMC Shadyside Hospital. John began working in radiology in 2002. He currently precepts physician assistant students, Residents, and Fellows. He often precepts shadow experiences for individuals hoping to learn more about the APP profession. John is a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy Education Committee.
Pediatric Abdominal Transplant Surgery
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Tamara is a physician assistant (PA) in the Department of Pediatric Abdominal Transplant at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; she has been an advanced practice provider since 1999. She has been a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy since 2013; she currently serves on the Education Committee and is the recording secretary of Preceptor Curriculum Subcommittee. Tamara began precepting physician assistant students from Chatham University, Duquesne University, and Gannon University in 2005.
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 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).
Lindenbaum, Perryman and Associates/UPMC Community Medicine (South Side and Dormont offices)
Donna Geraci, CRNP is a nurse practitioner at Lindenbaum, Perryman and Associates/UPMC Community Medicine. Her current specialty is primary care and she works at the South Side and Dormont offices. Donna graduated from Community College of Allegheny County in 2002 and worked in several areas of nursing including orthopedics, telemetry, emergency medicine, and quality assurance. Donna attended Duquesne University and earned a master’s degree in nursing education in 2012 and graduated in 2014 with a post-master’s certificate as a family nurse practitioner.
Additionally, Donna was employed at Community College of Allegheny county as an adjunct clinical facility member. She enjoys direct patient care as well as educating undergraduate nursing students and now mentoring and precepting nurse practitioner students from a wide range of schools and specialties.
She currently is a member of the UPMC preceptor Academy, Education Committee, University Liaison subcommittee. She hopes to be able to connect with faculty and students from universities in our area, to facilitate a smooth transition between students and nurse practitioners within the UPMC health system for their required clinical experiences. She also is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners.
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.
Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology
Heather graduated from Allegheny College in 2002 with a dual major in Neuroscience and Psychology. She then went on to achieve a Master's Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Chatham University in 2004.
Heather has worked in gastroenterology since she graduated in 2004, and has been an employee of UPP Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at UPMC Shadyside Hospital since 2002. Educating future APPs and guiding them through the post—graduate application process has become a passion of hers. Working at Shadyside allows her to provide these students a glimpse at a unique model of a private practice environment, at a University Hospital. She began precepting both high school and college students who are interested in pursuing a career as a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. She established close relationships, specifically, with the science departments of local high schools in hopes of encouraging students into health care related careers. Her own professional achievement is partly linked to watching the success of these students as they grow into successful APPs.
Heather is currently a member of the Preceptor Academy Membership Committee, Nominations Subcommittee.
Child Development Unit
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Beth Heuer is a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) in the Child Development Unit at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, working in the Developmental/Behavioral Medicine program. Additionally, she works in both the Neurofibromatosis Clinic and Tourette Syndrome Clinic within the Division of Child Neurology. Dr. Heuer is a graduate of the PNP program at the University of Pittsburgh, and has been an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse since 2002. She completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Robert Morris University in 2014. Beth is the chairperson of the Professional Issues Committee for the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and is an item—writer and committee member for the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). She has given podium presentations on a variety of pediatric specialty topics at national, state, and local conferences. Her work has been published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care, ‘Ready, Set, Grow' magazine and in the textbook ‘Core Curriculum for Pediatric Emergency Nursing'.
Beth has been precepting nurse practitioner (NP) students since 2003, and has precepted for the University of Pittsburgh along with Duquesne, Carlow, and Robert Morris Universities. She also lectures for the graduate nursing programs at both the University of Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University. She is a member of the Student Curriculum subcommittee for the UPMC Preceptor Academy Education Committee. Her favorite thing about precepting NP students is watching them grow in their professional role, and sharing her passion for the care of young children and their families.
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.
UPMC Tri—Rivers Musculoskeletal Centers (TRMC)
Jason has been a PA practicing in a large multi—specialty orthopaedic practice, since 2004. He became a supervisor for the APPs within TRMC's orthopedic and rheumatology practices in 2011. In that time he has had the opportunity to precept many students, mostly that of the future PA profession. He considers the opportunity to precept students an honor and a means to give back to the profession, and to provide opportunity for future professionals, and ultimately patients.
Currently he precepts and coordinates elective orthopaedic rotations for four Physician Programs and has been selected the "Best Orthopedic Preceptor of the Year" in 2014 and 2015 by Chatham University. He is involved as an adjunct faculty member for the Seton Hill PA program providing lectures and instructions on numerous orthopaedic topics.
Jason has also had the opportunity to:
He continues be a committee member at Butler Memorial Hospital on the:
He also serves on the steering committee for the Butler Memorial Hospital Annual Carol Ann Dietrich CME Symposium.
Jason stays actively involved with many state and national organizations as he considers his profession one of endless education and opportunity. He is honored and privileged to be involved with the Office of APPs Concepts and Special Projects Committee, Operations Committee and Education Committee at UPMC. He is equally honored and privileged to be involved with the UPMC Preceptor Academy Education Committee and the UPMC Preceptor Academy Student Curriculum Subcommittee.
Department of Hematology/Oncology
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Whitney Lerch, PA—C is the Interim Chair of UPMC Preceptor Academy. In addition to her role as Interim Chair, she is the Chair of the UPMC Preceptor Academy Membership committee.
Whitney is a senior physician assistant at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) of UPMC in the Department of Hematology/Oncology. Whitney completed her degree in physician assistant studies through Penn State's Physician Assistant Program at Pennsylvania College of Technology. She has been practicing clinically, full time, since 2006, and she has been with UPMC since 2007. During her time at UPMC, Whitney has practiced in pediatric oncology, pediatric palliative care, and adult oncology at the UPMC Hillman CancerCenter; Whitney has spent the majority of her career in pediatric hematology/oncology.
Whitney is an advocate for professional development of physician assistants and APPs across the board, and is focused on promoting and facilitating effective and appropriate use of APPs throughout the health system. She has served on the OAPP Concepts and Special Projects Committee, the UPMC Preceptor Academy and the CHP Hematology/Oncology Clinic Committee. Since 2010, Whitney has been precepting physician assistant students with special interest in pediatric oncology and palliative care. She is a member of multiple professional organizations, with a leadership role in the AAHPM PA Special Interest Group.
In her leisure time, Whitney enjoys spending time with her husband. Additionally, she likes to combine her passion for live music and photography with concert photography and concert reviews for a local music news publication.
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.
Division of Surgical Oncology
Tammy has BS degrees in Biology, Molecular Biology/Biotechnology, ADN, BSN, and a graduate minor in Healthcare Genetics. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Nursing, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program. After graduation, she began her career in the first year of the UPMC Advanced Practice Provider Surgical Residency Program, which was the highlight of her education. She started her nursing career with cancer patients, and after the completion of the residency she began working with the Surgical Oncology Division at UPMC Shadyside Hospital; she seems to always be drawn back to oncology. She is the inpatient night float nurse practitioner for a three team service that covers nine attending physicians.
Tammy believes that precepting is a critically important part of the duty of advanced practice providers; it enables them to pass on skills, build relationships, foster teamwork, and maintain a professional image. Tammy has precepted nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and medical students. She was also a clinical instructor for second degree nursing students and was the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program coordinator while in graduate school. Tammy has been selected to serve as a content expert for the American Nurses Credentialing Center Adult—Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner board certification examination. She also reviews manuscripts for publication in professional nursing journals for Lippincott Williams and Wilkins publishing, as an expert reviewer.
Tammy is a member of the Education Committee, Preceptor Development Subcommittee. Her favorite thing about precepting is getting the learner past going through the motions or learning tasks to understanding the concept, so the next time he or she can use good clinical reasoning skills to make decisions. She wants them to ask, "Why am I doing this?" She thinks it is just as important to use those preceptor skills with everyone she has a relationship with — from nurses and PCTs to surgical residents. One of her goals in precepting is to bring together the different professions to work in concert toward giving the patient the best healthcare experience while hospitalized. Being an outstanding provider takes exceptional communication skills with other professions, and with patients and family members, as well as clinical knowledge. Preceptors play an essential role in acquiring this skill.
Magee-Womens Hospital at UPMC Hamot
Beth graduated from Gannon University's Physician Assistant program in 1991. Her experiences have taken her to a variety of locations including Rochester, NY, Aurora, IL and Pittsburgh, PA. She had the opportunity to transfer to her home town of Erie, PA in June 2015. She supports the sub—specialties of gynecology including uro—gynecology, oncology, infertility, and maternal fetal medicine.
Beth has precepted students from various colleges and universities since 1992. She enjoys teaching students "the tricks of the trade". The students help her to stay current and challenge her to provide up—to—date material. The students are so energized and eager to learn, which makes teaching second nature to her.
Pediatric Abdominal Transplant Surgery
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Lisa graduated from Duquesne University in 2003. She has precepted students from Chatham University, Duquesne University, and Gannon University since 2005. Lisa became a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy in 2013, and currently serves as the Chair of the Student Curriculum subcommittee within the UPMC Preceptor Academy. She views precepting students as an investment into future colleagues. She enjoys serving as a stepping stone into their promising futures.
UPP Department of Neurological Surgery
Suzie has been a physician assistant (PA) for the UPP Department of Neurological Surgery practicing at UPMC Mercy Hospital since November of 2013. During her time at Mercy, her service has had the privilege of precepting both PA students, and medical students, with a particular interest in neurosurgery. PA students rotate on her service as part of a general surgery rotation every 2 weeks. This allows her service to show students both the inpatient and operative responsibilities of a physician assistant. Suzie became a member of the UPMC Preceptor Academy in 2016, and looks forward to working alongside other experienced preceptors to improve upon her department's current rotation. Her favorite thing about precepting is getting to meet students with a multitude of backgrounds, and helping them determine what niche of medicine they fit into.
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.
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Kathie has worked as a CRNP in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh since 1999, following graduation from the University of Pittsburgh Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program. She is currently a Senior APP and respected leader in the division. Her years of service exemplify not only her commitment to the health and wellbeing of children but also her dedication to her team members in the Endocrine Division. Kathie is the Associate Director and Mentor for the Endocrine APP Fellowship Program and serves on the Faculty Advisory Council and Ambulatory Leadership Council. Each summer, she volunteers at the ADA Diabetes Camp Courage.
She has mentored APP students, residents, fellows and new APPS throughout her career. She gives the annual Endocrine lecture to students in the Doctoral Nurse Practitioner Programs at the University of Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University. Kathie strongly believes that her mission is not only to provide the best care for patients and families, but to inspire future clinicians to do the same.
Kathie also enjoys spending time with family, hiking, biking, yoga and Pilates.
Department of Anesthesiology
Tera Thomas is a Certified and Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at UPMC Shadyside Hospital. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009, with her MSN in Nursing Anesthesia. Since becoming a CRNA, she has precepted students on a regular basis and enjoys watching students succeed in a rewarding profession. She accepted a role as student coordinator at UPMC Shadyside in 2012 working in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh Nurse Anesthesia Program (NAP), and also serves on the NAP Community Advisory Board. She became a Fellow of the UPMC Preceptor Academy in 2016; she is currently serving on the Education Committee.
UPMC Western Psychiatric
Kristi graduated from the University of Pgh 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 1991, she began working as a nurse practitioner in the hospital with a cardiology group. Over her 24 years as a nurse practitioner, she has worked as a hospitalist, in the ER, primary care office and the last 15 years at UPMC. Over 11 years were as a hospitalist at PUH then at Magee when the service moved. For nearly 4 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, fiancé 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 with her daughter or fiancé or walking dogs at the local shelter.
Same Day Surgery
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Beth is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. 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.