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.
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.
Carlos Bermudez, AGPCNP-BC, RN, PHN
Carlos enjoy the Department of Neurosurgery in 2019. Carlos earned his Master of Science in Advance Nursing / Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner with minors in HIV/AIDS and global health from the University of California San Francisco in 2016. In addition to his Master in Advance Nursing, he also has a degree in Clinical Psychology from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia.
Carlos mission is to advocate and offer equality on health care to all communities, especially those that have been victim of discrimination and stigmatization
Since he moved to the Unites States, Carlos had stayed true to his passion for individual care and basic human rights for all by actively seeking opportunities to work with people facing socio-economic barriers and with multiple co-morbidities, such as mental health disorders and substance abuse. Carlos had worked in Social Services Agencies and Federal Qualify Clinics with communities that face isolation, trauma, poverty, discrimination and severe social inequities for the last 20 years. During carlos’s internal medicine rotation, it become apparent that neurosurgery is a field where he has the opportunity to use his mind to think through complex decisions and help many people in the process and where we he is able to advocate and create positive changes and experiences to his that any other field in medicine.
Carlos enjoys traveling, learning from other cultures, spending time with his partner and friends, working out, and walking his two dogs on the beach.
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. She coordinates care for patients with vascular malformations, moyamoya, aneurysms and tumors.
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..
Mary L. Marcellus, RN, BSN, SCRN
Originally from Connecticut, Mary came to Stanford in 1980. She began as a staff nurse in the ICU and then went on to become an Assistant Nurse Manager for several years before taking on the role of Interventional Neuroradiology Nurse Coordinator in 1993. She has lectured on various cerebrovascular topics as well as published several articles in her area of expertise. Patient advocacy remains the most important part of her daily patient care responsibilities
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, NP
Abby Robertson, MSN, FNP
Abby is a family nurse practitioner providing care for complex spine patients. She obtained her Bacherlor of Science in Nursing at Western Governor's University in Salt Lake City, Utah, and obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Before becoming a nurse practitioner, she worked as a travel nurse in rural and urban communities. She joined Stanford in 2017 after working at a local urgent care center. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She volunteers with a local non-profit to provide health care to underserved communities. Abby is passionate about partnering with patients to achieve positive outcomes in their care.
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
Patricia Thompson MSN, RN, FNP-BC, APP IV
Pat received her Master’s of Science degree in Nursing at Rivier College, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at the University of Massachusetts. She has worked as a nurse practitioner since 1998. She joined the Stanford Neurosurgery service in 2013, and specializes in the care of patients with brain tumors, vascular malformations, aneurysms and neurogenetic disorders such as Von Hippel Lindau and neurofibromatosis. She is active in the meningioma, acoustic neuroma trigeminal neuralgia and brain tumor support groups at Stanford.
Ami Townsend, NP
Joli Vavao, MSN, ACNP, CNRN
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.
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.
Jesus (Jay) Navoa, PA-C
Lead Advanced Practice Provider for the Inpatient Neurosciences
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 13 years of neurosurgery and neurocritical care experience 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. Jay joined the team in 2016 and currently spends his clinical time providing care for patients in neurosurgery and in neurocritical care.
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.
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.
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.
Danielle Marck, PA-C
Danielle is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology and neuroscience. In 2017 she graduated with her master’s degree as a physician assistant from Pacific University in Oregon. Danielle also possesses a Master of Public Health degree from University of Colorado and has an extensive background in biomedical research. She has worked as a patient navigator at Denver Health Medical Center in primary care, and also worked as a nursing assistant at University of Colorado Hospital in Oncology and Hematology.
Angie Murkins, FNP-BC
Angie received her nursing degree from St. Luke’s College in Kansas City, MO and as a nurse practitioner from the University of Kansas School of Nursing in 2008. She previously worked in the CDU here at Stanford and has great experience with inpatient neurosurgery at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA. She started with the neurosurgery team in 2017 and although currently caring for patients primarily on the neurocritical care service, she still spends some of her time caring for patients on the inpatient neurosurgery service.
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