Our people are the heart of our program. Drawing upon our diverse backgrounds in education and health care, our faculty and staff are committed to teaching future generations of physician assistants who will help improve the health of patients and populations will skill and compassion.
Virginia Snyder, PhD, PA-C
As the Physician Assistant Program director, Snyder provides program leadership and works closely with faculty, staff and students to develop and administer all facets of the PA Program, including curriculum, clinical experiences, program evaluation and accreditation. Snyder is also active in student instruction, outreach activities and scholarly projects.
She joined the program in 2003 as a faculty associate and during her tenure has been involved in many instructional areas, with an emphasis on neurology. She became the interim program director in 2006 and full time director in July, 2008.
Snyder serves as the principal investigator for the 2011-2016 Title VII HRSA Grant to develop and implement PA training program initiatives, particularly to serve the mission of the PA program.
From 2001-2008, Snyder practiced in the Neurosurgery Center at Mercy Health System in Janesville, Wisconsin, where she assisted in the development and served as program director of the Mercy Institute of Neuroscience, an integrated, interdisciplinary program for patients with spine and neurological disorders.
Snyder’s more remote background includes experience as professor of biology at UW-Platteville, teaching and advising students, and acting as biology department chair. She received a doctorate in medical science, with an emphasis on anatomy, from the Medical College of Ohio in 1988. Additionally, she has experience in clinical lab science, working as a medical technologist. Snyder has served in academia for more than 24 years and was most recently (2013) recognized for her contributions to PA education by receiving the Master Faculty Award from the Physician Assistant Education Association.
Dipesh Navsaria, MD, MPH, MSLIS
Program medical director
Associate professor, pediatrics
As the program medical director, Navsaria provides leadership and direction. He is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He practices primary care pediatrics at a Federally Qualified Health Center in south Madison.
Dipesh is the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin and the founder and director of the Pediatric Early Literacy Projects at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
With respect to education, Navsaria is heavily involved in advocacy training for the pediatric residents and medical students and is frequently involved in medical student and physician assistant education from the clinical arena through myriad small group and lecture formats. He is also the director of the MD-MPH Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
Prior to attending medical school, Navsaria was trained and practiced as a physician assistant. He brings that invaluable background and understanding of PA education to the program.
Amanda DeVoss, MMS, PA-C
Academic director/clinical instructor
As clinical instructor and academic director, DeVoss coordinates coursework for students during the didactic portion of their education and provides instruction for diagnostic methods and advanced patient evaluation.
She graduated from Midwestern University in 2000 and received her master of medical science in physician assistant studies. Upon graduation she participated in a one-year American Academy of Physician Assistants hepatology fellowship and continued in the field at Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago. She also assisted with end-of-rotation evaluation and lecturing at Midwestern University.
DeVoss currently serves on many committees, including the Practice Guidelines Committee for the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease.
Beverly J. Speece, MTS, PA-C
Director of clinical education/clinical instructor
As the PA Program director of clinical education, Speece oversees and coordinates onsite experiences for students during the clinical component of the program She first joined the UW-Madison PA Program in 2005 as a course coordinator for clinical medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, and the professional issues for physician assistants and assumed the responsibility of director of clinical education in May 2013.
Speece is a 1997 graduate of UW-LaCrosse’s first Physician Assistant Program, and her background prior to PA school involved teaching various science courses at Madison College, working in an intensive care unit and volunteering as an EMT. Clinically, Speece has worked five years in family practice in the Twin Cities, 10 years in emergency medicine in Madison and Milwaukee and one year in cardiology in Milwaukee.
Joel Hill, MPAS, PA-C
Director of distance education/clinical instructor
Hill coordinates and directs the PA Program’s distance education track, and coordinates the clinical pharmacology, clinical prevention and population health modules. He also assists with teaching history and physical assessment evaluations.
Hill graduated from the United States Air Force/University of Nebraska PA Program in 1996 and received his MPAS from the University of Nebraska in 1998. He practiced family medicine and urgent care for 10 years while on active duty in various locations, with a tour to Iraq in 2004. He retired from the USAF in 2006 after 21 years on active duty and began working as a surgical physician assistant in Rapid City, South Dakota, in general, thoracic and oncologic surgery.
As a surgical PA he practiced hospital and clinic medicine as well as first assisting in numerous surgeries. He has also instructed at the University of Alaska while stationed in Fairbanks and for the South Dakota Academy of Physician Assistants annual conferences.
Kevin Wyne, MPAS, MSc, PA-C
Kevin has been working as a faculty member with the UW-Madison PA Program since 2012. He currently directs the professional seminar series for didactic students as well as the emergency medicine course each spring. He is also actively involved in instruction in other areas. He frequently coordinates service learning experiences to Belize and Guatemala for physician assistant and other health professions students.
Kevin graduated from the University of Iowa PA Program in 2005 and completed a faculty fellowship there following graduation. He has worked clinically in emergency medicine since 2006 and currently works as a physician assistant with Madison Emergency Physicians, where he also directs the emergency medicine advanced practice provider (APP) fellowship. In 2017, Kevin was recognized as a “rising star” by the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) for his teaching innovations and service.
Prior to his career in medicine, Kevin completed graduate work in literature and writing, and he maintains an active interest in the intersections between medicine and the humanities. His research interests include global health, wilderness medicine and interprofessional education. He currently serves as a director at large for the Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants (SEMPA) and as an executive committee member for the Center for Interprofessional Education at UW-Madison.
In his free time, Kevin enjoys being with his wife Kirsten and their daughter Helen. They love to travel, wander around used bookstores and grow tomatoes each summer in their community garden plot.
Angela Vitcenda, MS, PA-C
Vitcenda serves as course coordinator for women’s health and pediatrics courses and assists with history and physical assessment evaluations for first-year students. She contributes to other courses and evaluations, curricular and administrative activities.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Physician Assistant Program in 1997, with previous undergraduate degrees earned in psychology and nursing, and degree coursework completed in Spanish. She also earned a master’s degree in industrial engineering and human factors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Vitcenda joined the PA Program in June, 2013, with 16 years of clinical experience in family medicine and urgent care. She continues to see patients at the Wingra Family Medical Center, a Department of Family Medicine and Community Health residency training clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) that provides services to a culturally diverse, low-income and medically underserved population.
She has participated in quality improvement and microsystems projects at the clinic and academic department level. Angela maintains special interests in diabetes, women’s health and the interface between primary care and industrial engineering, with the goal of improving the quality of primary care for patients and clinicians through collaborative efforts between industrial engineering and primary care specialties.
Erin McCarthy Orth, BA
Student services program manager
As student services program manager for the PA Program, McCarthy Orth is responsible for preprofessional advising, overseeing the admissions process and new student orientation, and coordinating distance education. She graduated with a degree in English literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and has been with the UW-Madison Physician Assistant Program since August 2000, first as a program assistant, then as outreach coordinator.
Susan Kaletka, MPH
Kaletka is responsible for overseeing the administrative functions of the PA Program such as the budget and daily office operations. She is very involved in the accreditation process, grant administration, policy development and oversight. Kaletka has a master of public health degree and a bachelor’s degree in social work. She comes to the PA Program with many years of experience in clinic operations, quality improvement and project management. Most recently, Kaletka was employed at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health as the director of clinic operations.
Juli Loker, BS
Student status examiner
Loker provides support for the student services program manager, aiding in advising, admissions and applications. She joined the PA Program as a university services associate in November 2011. Her previous positions at UW-Madison have included research specialist for the Carbone Cancer Center, lab helper at the School of Veterinary Medicine and receptionist in the Department of Computer Science. She graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in community health education and from Madison College with a degree in respiratory therapy.
Michelle Ostmoe, BS
Educational technology consultant
As the educational technology consultant, Ostmoe works with faculty and staff to help develop curriculum and stay on the cutting edge of curriculum delivery. She also plays a key role in distance education, including the wisPACT. Ostmoe began her tenure at the UW-Madison PA Program in 2002 as an instructional specialist, as part of the distance education team.
She then joined the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in 2004 as distance education technology consultant, ensuring the school continued to lead the way in innovative delivery of curriculum, initially focusing her expertise on developing the digital video library of School of Medicine and Public Health lectures and events. In fall 2014, Michelle rejoined the PA Program.
Kate Hook, MS
Academic year student services coordinator
As academic year coordinator, Hook manages instructional activities related to the didactic component of the Physician Assistant Program including developing and maintaining semester, course, lecture and exam schedules. She also is responsible for communicating with students, faculty and guest lecturers, and providing instructional support to staff.
Prior to joining the PA Program staff, Hook worked as a publications specialist first for the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison College and then as a freelancer. She has a master’s degree in life sciences communications, with special interest in technical writing, health care information and internal organizational communications.
Rosa Retrum, MSE
Clinical year student services coordinator
As clinical year student services coordinator, Retrum works closely with students and faculty to ensure that the clinical year operates smoothly. She has a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in human services from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Prior to coming to the PA Program in 2014, Rosa served as an education/recruitment coordinator with the Fox Valley Family Medicine Residency Program, an academic advisor with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a career specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Amy Parins, MPAS, PA-C
Parins is a clinical instructor in clinical medicine, diagnostic methods, population health and clinical skills Labs. She also helps students coordinate their Path of Distinction, which is a part of the UW Public Health and Primary Care Innovations in Medical Education, and helps PA students gain public health skills.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Physician Assistant Program in 2008. She has clinical experience in cardiology, orthopedics, rheumatology and internal medicine. Prior to PA practice, Parins worked in hospice, studied yoga and taught English in Muscat, Oman. Notably, she was a primary physician assistant within the first integrated behavioral health-complex care clinic established by the University of Minnesota Medical Center during its early formation in 2011-2013. There she worked within a multidisciplinary team to effectively integrate behavioral health into primary care.
In 2012 she developed the curriculum for Seated Yoga for Chronic Pain and Stress Reduction and studied its effects on patient’s depression and anxiety outcomes. Currently, Parins practices internal medicine with UW Health. She maintains special interests in behavioral health, women’s health, providing health care to underserved populations, global health and integrative medicine.
Alissa DeVos, MPAS, PA-C
DeVos assists with instructing and coordinating the Surgical Principles and Procedures course as well as the Clinical Skills Labs. She contributes to other courses and helps students coordinate their Path of Distinction, which allows students to gain additional public health skills as a part of the UW Public Health and Primary Care Innovations in Medical Education.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Physician Assistant Program in 2010, with a previous undergraduate degree in molecular biology. In 2014, DeVos returned and completed her master of physician assistant studies degree with the program.
In addition to her work at the PA Program, DeVos is a practicing physician assistant in trauma and acute care surgery at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville, Wisconsin. Beyond her interest in surgery, DeVos has an interest in public health, palliative care and systems use to improve quality, decrease costs and optimize outcomes.
Amanda Johnson, MSM, PA-C
Johnson directs the professional seminar series in the clinical year and works closely with the director of the clinical education to develop preceptorship sites, monitor sites and evaluate students during the clinical year. She also assists with instructing and coordinating the Hematology/Oncology course as well as the Clinical Skills labs.
She graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2005 with her Masters of Science in Medicine. Her undergraduate degree was from University Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a degree in Biology and emphasis in Chemistry and Athletic Training.
Before joining the PA program in February 2019, Johnson spent almost 15 years in clinical practice. She has practiced in rural medicine, Family/Internal Medicine, Hematology/Oncology and Palliative Care.
Diane Twiton, BA
University services program assistant
As a university services program assistant, Twiton is responsible for administrative support for faculty, staff and students. She enjoys greeting guests, answering questions about the Physician Assistant Program and helping with room reservations and parking validation. She is also a liaison between faculty and proctors. Twiton graduated with a degree in English from UW-Madison. She has worked in banking and early childhood education.
Patti Thwaits, MS
As senior coordinator of the wisPACT option, Thwaits is responsible for the program’s daily operations in Wausau at the UW-Marathon County campus. She also assists with outreach initiatives to preceptors and health care systems. She received her master’s degree in guidance and counseling from UW-Stout and undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology from UW-Eau Claire.
She began her career in residence life and university counseling services. She worked for JI Case as a project specialist in employee relations prior to joining student affairs as an academic and career advisor and internship coordinator at UW-Marathon County, where she has worked for the last 16 years. Thwaits welcomes questions about wisPACT and invites interested individuals to visit the Wausau location.