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.
Danielle Marck, PA-C, MPH
Lead Advanced Practice Provider for the Inpatient Neurosciences
Danielle Marck, PA-C, MPH is the Lead Advanced Practice Provider for Inpatient Neurosurgery. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Bryn Mawr College, her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Colorado School of Public Health, and her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS, PA-C) degree from Pacific University. She is a member of the prestigious Delta Omega Honorary Society for Public Health. Her area of clinical expertise is inpatient neurosurgery, specializing in disorders of the brain and spinal cord, as well as perioperative and critical care. Danielle hails from the Bay Area, having been born at Stanford Hospital. She has had a long-standing interest in the neurosciences spanning basic-science research as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to now providing cutting-edge neuroscience care at Stanford Health Care. She has worked in diverse healthcare roles including as a patient navigator at Denver Health Medical Center community clinics and emergency department. She has experience working in Federally Qualified Health Centers and is a fluent Spanish speaker. Her career passions include advanced practice provider education and patient empowerment through education, guiding each patient through their post-neurosurgery journey. She is currently actively involved in leading quality improvement initiatives across the neuroscience care continuum at Stanford Hospital, including enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS).
Corey Beausoleil, PA-C
Corey is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts where he obtained his bachelor degree in Health Sciences. In 2014, he graduated with his masters degree as a physician assistant from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has worked as a neurosurgical physician assistant for approximately 6 combined years in Eastern North Carolina and Northern California before joining the Stanford Inpatient Neurosurgery Team. At NorthBay Neurosurgery, Corey conducted an independent spine clinic while coordinating a monthly multidisciplinary complex spine conference. He previously has worked in various clinical and research roles at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary studying Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
Natalie Boehm, FNP-BC
Natalie graduated from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA. She began her career as a registered nurse in the critical care unit, where she worked for 6 years. While gaining experience as a critical care nurse, she earned her bachelors in nursing science at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA and then a Masters in Nursing Science, Nurse Practitioner at University of California. She moved to the Bay Area where she began her nurse practitioner career as a neurocritical care nurse practitioner at Regional Medical Center in San Jose. She has been at Stanford as part of the inpatient Neurosurgery team since the beginning of 2019 and also works per diem with the Neurocritical Care team.
Shelby Cardoza, PA-C
Shelby is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biology with an emphasis in human biology. In 2019, she graduated with a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Samuel Merritt University. Shelby previously worked as a Physical Therapy Aide in southern California helping rehabilitate patients with neurodegenerative diseases, post-stroke patients, as well as other musculoskeletal injuries. She currently mentors pre-PA students and aims to help diversify the profession. She joined the Stanford inpatient neurosurgery team in August 2020.
Kathleen Castro, AG-ACNPC
Kathleen graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Cal State East Bay in 2013. She was a registered nurse in California and Texas for over 5 years, working in a variety of health care settings. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Practitioner specializing in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care from the University of Texas Health San Antonio in 2017. She began her Neurosurgery NP career at Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance in 2018, wherein, she provided a robust APP coverage in the ICU, acute care, ambulatory, and OR. While in Torrance, she obtained her RN-First Assist certificate from UCLA, was responsible for training new APPs, and was involved in the team’s workflow improvement processes. In 2020, she proudly joins the Inpatient APP Neurosurgery team at Stanford Health Care in providing a top-notch neurosurgical care for patients.
Shelli Chittum MSN, NP-C, RNFA
Shelli comes to Stanford with 25 years of nursing experience, specializing in critical care. She completed her MSN and NP education at Georgetown University in 2015 and has served in a diverse range of neuroscience work as an NP in Neurosurgery and Neurocritical Care, and as a clinical specialist for Integra Lifesciences Neurosurgery division. Outside of the hospital, Shelli enjoys an active lifestyle in the great California outdoors and is enthusiastic about exploring the world and it’s cultures. It is with great excitement that Shelli joins Stanford’s Neurosurgery team.
Donna (Dolly) Garay, ANP-BC
Dolly graduated from Boston College and Simmons College. She gained experience as a nurse working in Boston and at Vanderbilt Medical Center. While at Vanderbilt, she earned her master’s degree in nursing and worked for the neurosurgery and neurology department for seven years. She then went into private neurosurgical practice with the Howell Allen Clinic covering four hospitals under the direction of twelve neurosurgeons. In 2014, she was recruited to San Jose Regional Medical to be the first neurosurgery APP for a team of seven neurosurgeons at RMC. She has now been at Stanford Health Care since 2016 caring for patients on the neurosurgery inpatient service.
Jesus (Jay) Navoa, PA-C
Manager of Advanced Practice Providers
Jay graduated with a bachelor’s Degree in biology from Stony Brook University and continued his Physician Assistant education at St. John’s University in NY. He has over 16 years of neurosurgery and neurocritical care experience, previously at Mount Sinai and Cornell-New York Presbyterian Hospitals, and currently has been with Stanford since relocating to the west coast in 2016. He also has an additional year of thoracic surgery experience at Georgetown University Hospital. While at NYP, he helped in expanding the roles of the advanced practice providers in the neurosciences by assisting in the development of the service line coverage in neurosurgery, general and vascular neurology and in neurocritical care. In 2020, Jay has transitioned to a manager of advanced practice providers with the Center for Advanced Practice, but currently still spends his clinical time providing care for patients in neurosurgery and in neurocritical care.
Arianna Pham, PA-C
Arianna, a Silicon Valley native, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Molecular and Cell Biology. She spent some time in clinical research at Touro University prior to starting her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies at Albany Medical College. She started as an emergency medicine physician assistant in a busy trauma center in the Central Valley. For the past five years, she has been an inpatient neurosurgery physician assistant in level one and level two trauma centers across the Central Valley. She continued her passion for neurosciences by joining the Stanford inpatient neurosurgery team in 2020.
Kimberly (Kim) Soorajbally, PA-C
Kimberly is a graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and chemistry. She completed her master’s in physician assistant studies at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in 2008. Her career in Neurosurgery began in 2009 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where she directly managed patients in the ICU, floor, ED and OR. She became proficient in procedures and was responsible for the education of new advanced practitioners and students. After 6 years at BI, she took a position in NIR and IR where she worked independently performing procedures. She has been at Stanford Health Care since 2016 helping to manage patients on the neurosurgery service.
Corinne Wertz, AGACNP-BC
Corinne Wertz, a native to Ohio, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Minor in Spanish from Ohio University in 2004. She then completed an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Ursuline College. For over eight years, Corinne worked as a registered nurse in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. At UHCMC she trained many new nurses, became an Advanced Clinical Nurse, participated in multiple local and national nursing chapters, as well as worked on call for Interventional Radiology. After completing a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Kent State University and obtaining her Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certification in 2015, Corinne moved to San Diego to begin her career as a Neurosurgical Nurse Practitioner. She worked for a private practice at Scripps La Jolla, Scripps Encintas, and Scripps Mercy as a Registered Nurse First Assist in the operating room, on call, and in the outpatient clinic. After almost 14 years of neuroscience experience, she continued her nurse practitioner career by becoming a member of the inpatient neurosurgical team at Stanford Health Care in 2020