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, 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
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/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.
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 senior student services coordinator
As clinical year senior student services coordinator, Retrum manages all operations of the clinical phase of the curriculum including EOR testing/activities, communication with students/preceptors regarding placements and oversight of preceptor development. Additionally, she works closely with students, faculty/staff and preceptors to ensure that the clinical phase operates smoothly.
Prior to joining the Physician Assistant 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. She has a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in human services from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Amy Parins, MPAS, PA-C
Amy E. Parins, MPAS, PA-C, is a faculty associate 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 University of Wisconsin-Madison Physician Assistant Program and has over 10 years clinical experience in internal medicine and behavioral health.
Amy is certified in motivational interviewing as well as SBIRT. She has a special interest in wellness, behavioral health, and addiction 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.
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.
Sarah Williamson, MPAS, PA-C
As a faculty associate, Sarah Williamson, MPAS, PA-C, arranges second-year rotations and testing, strengthen relationships with current clinical sites and build connections with new sites. A specialist in cardiovascular electrophysiology, she teaches in the cardiology section. Williamson says she gained new appreciation for education during her practice in UW Hospital and Clinic’s cardiovascular medicine clinic. "Coming to an academic center I knew I'd be teaching, but I didn't realize just how much—or how much I would enjoy it!" "Especially when teaching such a challenging subspecialty,” Williamson says of being a preceptor, “I really enjoyed watching students have those ‘ah-ha!’ moments. “They feel so empowered when they see their next patient and are grasping something new.”
A native of Waunakee, Wisconsin, Williamson received her BS from UW–Lacrosse and returned to Wisconsin earning an MS in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of New England. She joined UW Hospital and Clinics in 2013 as the point advanced practice provider (APP) for cardiovascular medicine’s electrophysiology service. Since April 2019 she served as the team lead of the clinic’s six electrophysiology APPs. Williamson was nominated for the UW Health Advanced Practice Provider Excellence Award in 2015 and 2019.