Neurosurgery Advanced Practice Providers

Our neurosurgery nurse practitioners and physician assistants have advanced educational and clinical experiences that contribute to our academic programs. They treat all patients with kindness and respect, and offer information services that promote healing and lead to healthier life styles.

Joli Vavao, RN, MSN, ACNP, CNRN
Lead APP Outpatient Neurosurgery

Joli joined the Neurosurgical team in 2004. She obtained her masters degree as an acute care nurse practitioner from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has worked as a nurse for over 13 years specializing in neurosurgery and stroke neurology. She has received national certification in neuroscience nursing. She plays an active role coordinating the care of cerebrovascular patients in both an inpatient and outpatient setting. She participates in lectures to hospital staff and local health care professionals regarding the care of neuroscience patients.

Marlene Aguilar, MSN, RN

Marlene joined the interventional neuroradiology team in March of 2017.  She joins us from Mount Sinai Medical Center, NY.  She worked 5 years in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery and 3 years as a Specialty Clinical Coordinator in the Department of Neurosurgery.  She obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a bachelors and masters degree in nursing  at Columbia University, New York.  

Jessica Aikin, PA-C

Jessica received her Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies in Boston at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science. She has a background in Pain Management with a current focus on Neurosurgical Spinal Disorders and Complex Spine. Jessica lectures at the Stanford Physician Assistant program and enjoys mentoring and precepting students.

Melissa Ballard, BSN, MSN, RN, CPNP

Melissa is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) specializing in the care of hospitalized children with an emphasis in the transition from intensive to acute care, end-of-life care and all acute care settings. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from San Francisco State University in 1985 and a Master of Science in Nursing as an Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from University of California, San Francisco in 2007.

Teresa Bell-Stephens, BSN, RN, CNRN

Teresa came to Stanford from the East Coast in 1988. She worked in critical care for many years before joining the Department of Neurosurgery in 1990. She  worked as a nurse coordinator cerebrovascular surgery for many years before becoming a Neuroscience Program Manager. Teresa is an excellent resource for information on vascular malformations, aneurysms and moyamoya disease, and is available to guide care for patients and families before, during and after their treatment at Stanford Healthcare. Teresa  works with  program development including the Stanford Moyamoya Center where is actively coordinates care for patients and works to develop  nursing and patient education. She is a frequent lecturer on a variety of topics for nursing colleagues in the Bay Area, and nationally and internationally.

Vania Bernatsky, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC, AANN

Vania received her Master of Science in Nursing with a minor in Education from the University of California, San Francisco in 2001. She is certified as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, as well as certified in nursing through the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses. She is a member of American Association of Nurse Practitioners, California Assocaition of Nurse Practitioners, and Sigma Theta Tau. She has spent her career caring for patients both in acute care inpatient, as well as outpatient settings. Her interests include complex spine reconstruction and neuro-oncology diseases.

Camille Bloom, MS, MMS, RD, PA-C

Camille currently covers both neurology and neurosurgery at the San Francisco campus at CPMC. Her areas of interest in neurosurgery are tethered cord, intraventricular hemorrhage of prematurity, craniosynostosis and plagiocephaly.

May Casazza, CPNP

May is a certified pediatric neurosurgery nurse practitioner with extensive experience working with pediatric intensive care patients. May received her undergraduate nursing degree from Johns Hopkins University and her graduate training at UC San Francisco.

Jennifer Choi, MSN, ACNP

Jennifer joined the Stanford Neurosurgery and Neuro IR team in 2015. She received her Master of Science in Nursing at the University of San Francisco and completed the acute care nurse practitioner program at UCSF. She has worked as a nurse for over 10 years with trauma and neurosurgery patients.

 

Stephanie Choi, RN, MS, CPNP-BC

Stephanie is a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) specializing in the care of children with special health care needs with an emphasis in adolescent health care. Her previous experience includes working as a neurosurgery PNP at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California.

Olivia Chu, MSN, FNP

Olivia is a family nurse practitioner providing care for patients in the Pituitary Center of the Department of Neurosurgery since 2006. She obtained her undergraduate degree at University of California, Berkeley, and completed a bachelors and masters degree at Johns Hopkins University. Currently she specializes in neuro-endocrine cases, predominantly pituitary tumors.

Andrheena  T. Chua, BSN, RN, CNRN

Nicole Hodgeboom, RN, MS, CPNP, CNS

Nicole has over 10 years of experience working as a certified pediatric nurse practitioner (CPNP), caring for children with complex medical conditions.

Traci Hornbeck, M.S., P.A.-C.

Traci is a board-certified physician assistant. She obtained her Master of Science degree from Midwestern University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa. She has worked in the specialty of neurosurgery for many years as well as in the specialties of neurology and emergency medicine. She lectures at the Stanford Physician Assistant program regarding neurological diseases. She has been involved with conducting research studies throughout her career.  She specializes in neurosurgical-oncology and functional neurosurgery.

Michelle Klesczewski, NP

Michelle joined the Neurosurgery team in 2002 after obtaining her Masters of Science as a Family Nurse Practitioner at San Jose State University. She is Nationally certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and is a member of the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses and Oncology Nursing Society, and past member of the Radiosurgery Society. She has also worked in Radiation Oncology as an FNP, as well as being involved with giving talks for radiation therapy Continuing Education courses. Currently her practice focuses on neurosurgical treatments of brain and spine tumors using either conventional surgery, or Cyberknife radiosurgery.

Elizabeth Lee, MSN, RN, NP

Elizabeth joined the Department of Neurosurgery in 1996. She obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 1992, and her Master of Science as Family and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner in 1996 from the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, her practice focuses on neurosurgical treatments of brain and spine tumors, arteriovenous malformations, and aneurysms using conventional surgery and/or Cyberknife Radiosurgery. Her 17 year nursing career has always been devoted to neurosurgery both in the inpatient and outpatient settings. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, facilitates local brain tumor support groups, and has published many articles regarding the use of Cyberknife in the treatment of brain and spine diseases. She has received several grants to support educational projects for brain tumor and Parkinson's disease support groups.

Melissa Lewis, MSN, ANP-BC

Melissa has been at Stanford Hospital since 2006, working with the neurosurgery and general patient populations. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Brigham Young University in 2006, and her Master of Science in Nursing from University of California San Francisco in 2011. Now as a Nurse Practitioner she works with patients and their families in the Neuroscience Department working in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.  

Erika A. Lim, BSN, RN, CMSRN

 

Candice Osuga Lin, MSN, APRN, BC, ACNP

Candice earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Davis and her Master of Science in Nursing with clinical specialization as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner from Vanderbilt University. Candice came to Stanford Hospital & Clinics as Staff Nurse in the Medical, Surgical Intensive Care Unit (E2ICU). She joined the Department of Neurosurgery as a nurse practitioner and has been active with neuro-oncology and spine neurosurgery. Candice has been the study coordinator on several research studies and has a passion for patient care..

Brigid T Matts, MSN, FNP-C

Brigid joined the Stanford Neurosurgery team in March 2017 after completing her MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner degree at UCSF.  Prior to this, Brigid worked as an Army Nurse working in Korea, Hawaii, and Afghanistan.  Following active duty she moved to California where she first was a travel nurse at the Stanford Neuroscience Clinic and then worked as a staff nurse at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Pediatric Brain Center for four years.  Brigid is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and is a certified neuroscience registered nurse (CNRN).

Holly Moore, MSN, FNP-C

Holly is a family nurse practitioner that specializes in complex spine patients. She completed her MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner at South University in Tampa, FL and shortly after joined Stanford Neurosurgery Team. Prior to this, she served 4 years in the United States Air Force working in Alabama, Kuwait, and Iraq. Following active duty, she worked in Florida as a Neuroscience RN working closely with stroke and epilepsy patients. Holly is a member of of Sigma Theta Tau, the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 

Lan Chi Nguyen, NP

 

Louisa Pangilinan, NP

Louisa is a Nurse Practitioner who joined the Stanford Neurosurgery team in 2016 with over 9 years of experience in Neurosciences previously as a registered nurse in critical care, intensive care, and stroke care units. She earned her Bachelors degree in Nursing at the University of San Francisco and her Masters Degree in Nursing in San Francisco State University. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and California Association of Nurse Practitioners. She is currently the Lead for the Stanford Acute/Ambulatory Care Conference committee. Her clinical practice includes neurosurgery and radiation oncology to benign and malignant brain and spinal tumors, vascular malformations, and neurogenetic disorders.

Diana Poon, RN, MSN, CPNP, CCRN

Diana is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) with extensive experience working with pediatric intensive care patients. She is also a certified critical care nurse and a member of NAPNAP.

Alison Prins, MPA, PA-C

Alison started at Stanford in the Department of Neurosurgery in January 2019. She graduated with a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies. She has worked in several areas of medicine during her career as a Physician Assistant, including Pain Management, Urgent Care, Internal Medicine, and Gastroenterology. Alison has been a mentor and preceptor to students in both NP and PA school throughout the Bay Area. Alison now dedicates her time to working with patients who have pathology related to the spine.

Ko Ri, MSN, RN, FNP-C

Ko jointed Stanford Neurosurgery and Neuro IR team as a nurse practitioner in 2016. She received her bachelor degree, master of science, and post-master program in Nursing at California State University, Long Beach; and obtained Adult Acute CNS and Family Nurse Practitioner licenses. She worked with inpatients for more than 8 years including 4 years in ICU and currently coordinate the care in cerebrovascular patients.

Joy Sabig, RN, CCRN, MSN, Adult NP- BC

Joy Sabig earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of St. La Salle in the Philippines and her Masters of Science Degree as an Adult Nurse Practitioner from Florida International University.  Joy came to Stanford Hospital in 2003 and worked in the Cardiovascular ICU as an RN and relief Charge Nurse before working as a Nurse Practitioner in the Pre-Op Anesthesia Department in 2007.   In 2010, she transferred to Vascular Surgery and worked there for 2 years before joining the Neurosurgery Team in November of 2012.  Her experiences as an NP include working in the Anticoagulation Clinic at UCSF and Cardiology at SFGH.

Camly Slawson, MSN, RN, CNS, PNP

Camly is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with a background in the pediatric specialty and acute care settings, both as a pediatric nurse practitioner and registered nurse.  Camly completed her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University and attained her Master of Science in Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco. Camly is a board member of NAPNAP and a member of Sigma Theta Tau International.

Bonnie Taft, MSN, RN, CPNP

Bonnie is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) with a rich background in the pediatric primary care setting. Bonnie is also an experienced educator and served as a member of the pediatric clinical faculty at the University of California at San Francisco for several years. Bonnie completed her undergraduate degree at State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1994 and she later went on to attain her Master of Science in Nursing at Boston College in 2003.

Suzanne Tay-Kelley, NP-BC

 

Armine Tayag, NP

Ami Townsend, NP

 

Katelynn Upham, MPA, PA-C

Katelynn Upham, MPA, PA-C graduated with her Masters of Physician Assistant Studies degree from Samuel Merritt University. She came to Stanford Neurosurgery in 2020. She has prior experience in emergency medicine and has a passion for education with previous work as an adjunct instructor for Samuel Merritt University PA program. Her clinical focus is neurosurgical spine and complex spine disorders.

Erin Wipff MSN, ANP-BC

Erin Wipff earned her Bachelors of Arts in Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz and Bachelors of Nursing from Johns Hopkins University. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing in Adult Primary Care with a minor in HIV from the University of California, San Francisco. She is board certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, a member of the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, and Sigma Theta Tau. She has cared for patients in both the inpatient and outpatient settings with focuses in research, oncology, endocrinology, and surgery.