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, professional development, committee service, 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 neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurology. She became the interim program director in 2006 and full-time director in July, 2008.
Snyder was recently promoted to professor in the Clinical Health Sciences (CHS) track. This promotion recognizes her significant and outstanding achievements and contributions to education and teaching, leadership, and service.
Snyder has served as the principal investigator for several Title VII HRSA Grants over the years with focus on developing and implementing PA training program initiatives, particularly to serve the mission of the PA program. The latest HRSA Grant (2020-25) is aimed at recruiting and training Mission Match students (underrepresented minorities, disadvantaged, rural and underserved) for future practice in rural and underserved communities/populations. Other grant objectives include curriculum and skills in addiction medicine and behavioral health, and student/practitioner wellness.
From 2001-08, 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 nearly 29 years and has been recognized nationally 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, direction, and connection with the broader world of medical training. He is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He has practiced primary care pediatrics in a number of settings for many years and is still actively involved in ambulatory pediatric settings. Navsaria has also served as an ARC-PA Commissioner for two terms.
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 has been involved in advocacy, general pediatrics, policy, public health, and early childhood settings with medical students, residents, PA students, public health students, and well beyond, including early childhood educators, librarians, and the general public. He also writes a regular column on child health policy, is active on social media, and a podcast host.
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
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
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
Associate clinical professor
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
Associate clinical professor
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
Director of public health and community engagement
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.
Abby McGuire, MPAS, PA-C
Assistant Clinical Professor
Abby joined the PA Program faculty in 2022 and serves as course coordinator for History and Physical Examination and Advanced Patient Evaluation classes. She also teaches in clinical medicine, diagnostic methods, and contributes to other courses and activities.
Abby graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Madison Physician Assistant Program in 2016 as part of the first wisPACT@Stevens Point at Wausau cohort and completed a teaching fellowship upon graduation. Prior to her PA education, she earned undergraduate degrees in Nutritional Sciences (Dietetics) and Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked clinically in family medicine for six years and continues to see patients at the UW Health Odana Road Family Medicine Clinic. As part of her clinical practice, Abby has served as a preceptor to a number of UW PA students on their family medicine rotations.
Abby has served on the UW Health Wellbeing Committee and is passionate about efforts to increase clinician wellbeing and reduce burnout in primary care. Outside of work, she enjoys being active, traveling, and spending time with her husband and daughter.
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.
Amy Parins, MPAS, PA-C
Amy E. Parins, DMSc, PA-C, is an assistant professor at the UW–Madison PA Program. She is the course director for Advanced Patient Evaluation and teaches in clinical medicine, diagnostic methods, and clinical skills labs. Amy graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison Physician Assistant Program and has over 10 years of clinical experience in internal medicine and behavioral health. She currently works clinically as faculty on the addiction medicine consult team at UW Hospital.
Amy is certified in motivational interviewing as well as SBIRT. She has a special interest in wellness, behavioral health, addiction medicine and street medicine. She is a registered yoga teacher with specialty training in acupressure yoga and incorporates wellness into her clinical work. She was recognized as PA of the Year by the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants (WAPA) in 2019 by demonstrating excellence in service to patients, community involvement, promotion of PAs in healthcare, and bolstering workforce development by educating future PAs.
Amy is passionate about her work as the curriculum content expert for our HRSA Primary Care Training and Enhancement grant focusing on improving substance use disorder curricula with the ultimate goal of improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for those suffering from opioid use disorder.
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.
Brad Ecklor, MS, PA-C
Brad Ecklor graduated from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse Physician Assistant Program in 2016, with a previous undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Biology with an emphasis in Biohealth and Physiology. Since graduating, Ecklor has been providing care to patient in rural communities in Southwest Wisconsin for six years. He specializes primarily in Family Medicine but has also undergone additional training to become a sleep specialist and does this part time to expand access to specialty services, so that patient can receive this care closer to home. Brad continues to see patients at Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics a Medicare Certified Rural Health Clinic.
He has lived and worked in Southwest Wisconsin his entire life and is passionate about providing healthcare for these communities. In his free time, he likes to enjoy all Southwest Wisconsin has to offer including hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping with his family.
Ecklor will be housed at the wisPACT@UW Platteville campus. As a former graduate of University of Wisconsin-Platteville and a primary care provider in rural communities, he understands the significant need for increasing healthcare access, not just in primary care but also specialty services for Southwest Wisconsin. He is excited about the strong leadership and commitment the UW-Madison PA program has made to make wisPACT at Platteville a reality and looks forward to developing strong partnerships with the local communities to recruit and streamline the development of students with a passion for their communities and rural medicine.
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.
Carrie Riley, MPAS, PA-C
Carrie serves as course coordinator for Surgery and Diagnostic Methods. She also contributes to other course modules, evaluations, curricular and administrative activities.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Physician Assistant Program in 2004, and completed her MPAS at University of Nebraska Medical School in 2005. Her previous undergraduate degree earned was in biology. She completed her Mayo Wellness Coaching certification in 2015. Her research interests include wilderness medicine, preventative and lifestyle medicine and interprofessional collaboration in healthcare.
She has been nominated for WAPA PA of the Year and the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation’s Clinical Excellence Award. Carrie joined the PA program in July 2019, with over 14 years of clinical experience in Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery and Orthopedic Surgery.
Tracy Borcherdt, CSW
Serving as regional coordinator for wisPACT, (Wisconsin Physician Assistant Community Track) Physician Assistant program, Borcherdt is responsible for daily operations at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point at Wausau location. She is a liaison and supportive connection between students and faculty, arranges exam proctoring, and assists with admissions and outreach initiatives. Borcherdt also attends community events, creates and maintains community relationships, and provides a University of Wisconsin Madison presence in the northern communities.
Borcherdt graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree from UWSP in family and consumer science and completed additional coursework for certification as a social worker. She was a Chancellor’s Leadership Award recipient, received high honors from the National Council on Family Relations and spent over 3 weeks abroad studying family systems in China. Before joining the PA program, Borcherdt provided advocacy, accompaniment and child forensic interviews and wrap around services to survivors of various abuse and neglect. Other professional experiences include 25 years of administrative responsibility in a variety of systems, including medical and educational organizations.
Health professions education coordinator
As clinical year coordinator, Davison helps in coordinating all operations of the clinical phase with curriculum including EOR testing/activities, communication with the students/preceptors regarding placements and the specific on-boarded required for each site including oversight of preceptor development. Additionally, Stacy works closely with students, faculty/staff, and preceptors to ensure that the clinical year runs smoothly.
Prior to joining the Physician Assistant Program in 2022, Stacy served as the financial aid advisor at ITT Technical Institute, undergrad clinical coordinator at Herzing University, graduate clinical coordinator at the UW–Madison School of Nursing. Stacy has worked in higher education for 11 years and loves to work with students.
Sarah Traynor, PhD
Teaching faculty II
Sarah is the course director for PA Anatomy 629. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a PhD in Anthropology in 2017. She has been teaching anatomy at UWSMPH since 2016.
Sarah teaches dissection-based clinical anatomy to PA students in the summer, and teaches clinical anatomy, histology, and embryology to medical students in the fall and spring semesters.
Her research has included studying the relative limb size and locomotor behavior of hominin species in the human evolutionary record. Sarah has been published in the Journal of Anatomy, South African Journal of Science, and the American Journal of Biological Anthropology. She has done fieldwork in Tanzania, South Africa, and Croatia.