Faculty

Red Rocks is proud of its faculty team of experienced physicians, PAs, basic and behavioral medicine scientists, and other specialists in health care. Adjunct instructors from the health care community in Colorado assist the core faculty in both didactic and clinical instruction.

The core faculty includes:

Christa Dobbs

Program Director
Christa Dobbs, MPAS, PA-C joined the RRCC PA Program in January 2009 and became program director in July 2015. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Physician Associate Program and completed her master’s degree through the University of Nebraska. Her clinical experience includes family practice, internal medicine and occupational medicine.  She also travels around the country to military bases and reserve centers as a field trainer for post-deployment health reassessments for returning military service members. 

Tana Smith

Medical Director
Tana Smith, MDis a Colorado native who completed her doctorate of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 2001. She completed her training at St. Anthony's Family Medicine Residency in Denver, CO and is board certified in family practice. Dr. Smith’s interest include: teaching, women’s health and obstetrical care in addition to community service. Dr. Smith is active in teaching and program evaluation.

Krysta Bearish, MSHS, PA-C

Krysta Bearish, MSHS, PA-C, joined the RRCC PA program in November 2015 as Director of Clinical Training. She is a graduate of The George Washington University Physician Assistant Program in Washington, DC. Following completion of her PA studies her experience has been in Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and University of Colorado Hospital.

Lauren Hussey

Lauren Hussey, MMS, PA-C, is a Colorado native and a graduate of the University of Colorado-Boulder and the Red Rocks Physician Assistant Program. She received her Master's degree from Saint Francis University. Following completion of her PA studies her experience has been in community health care and family medicine. She has an interest in women's health and diabetes.

Erika Iverson, MPH

Erika Iverson, MPH, joined the RRCC PA Program in August 2012 and became a member of faculty in August 2015. She graduated with a Masters Degree in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health in at the Anshutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. Erika serves as Project Manager for the Physician Assistant programs HRSA PCTE and EPAT grants, as well as other grant funded initiatives.

Dayna Bernstein

Dayna Jaynstein, MSPAS, PA-C, joined the RRCC PA Program in July 2013 and is a graduate of the St. Francis Physician Assistant program in Albuquerque, NM. She works clinically in emergency medicine. Dayna is involved throughout the Clinical Medicine courses and will be developing the graduate curriculum for the upcoming Master’s degree.

Valerie Paulson

Valerie Paulson, MSPAS, PA-C, joined the RRCC PA Program July, 2016. She is a graduate of the DeSales University PA Program in Center Valley, PA. She has worked clinically in the field of Internal Medicine/Geriatrics and has especially enjoyed her time volunteering with the DeSales Free Clinic at the Allentown Rescue Mission. Areas of particular clinical interest include palliative care, antibiotic stewardship, and cirrhosis.

Carol VonMichaelis

Carol von Michaelis, PA-C, grew up in Golden, CO. She attended Red Rocks Community College where she received her EMT and Associates degree in science in 2002. Following a career in fire and EMS she graduated from Regis University with a bachelor's in Nursing. She worked in ICU, telemetry, urgent care, and family medicine. She graduated with her Physician Assistant degree from the University of North Dakota in 2008 and has worked in internal medicine, pediatric sports medicine and emergency medicine. Carol is published in JAAPA and has completed her Ph.D in Public Health and Community Health Promotion. Carol joined the RRCC PA faculty team in 2016.

Kari Schoenwald

Kari Schoenwald MMS, MT (ASCP), PA-C, received her undergraduate degree in medical technology from North Dakota State University. She is a graduate of the Red Rocks Community College Physician Assistant Program and received her Masters degree from St. Francis University. Currently, she is a practicing physician assistant in Infectious Diseases in Longmont, Colorado. As a member of the part-time faculty, Kari teaches Introduction to Clinical Medicine.

Marion Wells, MHS, PA-C

Marion Wells, MHS, PA-C, graduated from the Duke University Physician Assistant program in 1996. She starting at the RRCC PA Program in February 2015. Since she graduation she had practiced in Family Medicine, Occupational Medicine and Urgent Care.

John Witwer

John Witwer, MD, is board certified in Radiology and has practiced medicine for over 30 years. He has also served for 7 years in the Colorado State Legislature and was Director for a large state computer system. He teaches diagnostic imaging, clinical anatomy, and problem based learning.

Thomas French, Ph.D., has a degree in Pharmacology and is a registered pharmacist in the state of Colorado. He has worked in both hospital and retail settings. In addition to teaching responsibilities on behalf of the Red Rocks Physician Assistant Program. Dr. French’s primary appointment is in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. French teaches drug therapy courses during the spring and summer semesters of the didactic year.

Peter Clapp, Ph.D., received his doctorate in Biological Chemistry from the University of Michigan. He is also an Associate Professor at the School of Pharmacy at Regis University, Denver, CO. 

Heather Ross, MD, is a Board Certified practicing Emergency Physician who graduated with honors from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University. After residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, she taught as an attending physician at Stanford University prior to joining us as course director for our Emergency Medicine course.

Steven Russell, MD, is Board Certified in Family Practice with CAQ in Sports Medicine. He is a former student at Red Rock Community College, attending from 1974-1977. He graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1988 and completed his medical training with the US Navy serving as a Medical Officer until 1997. His interests and background include military medicine, undersea and diving Medicine, and wilderness medicine. Dr Russell has extensive experience in providing primary care for adults with developmental disabilities. He is currently the Health Services Director of the Wheat Ridge Regional Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the CU Medical School.

Walter Schreibman, MS, is Professor of Behavioral Science at Red Rocks and a principal instructor in behavioral medicine for the Family Practice Residency Program at St. Joseph hospital in Denver. Prof. Schreibman has more than 30 years of experience in behavioral medicine. He teaches behavioral medicine to physician assistant students during the Spring semester of the didactic year.