Medical Staff

Our medical staff is committed to providing high-quality care to the community — and focused on your overall health. Learn more about who we are and what we do. Better health together begins with a connection and learning more about each other.

Christina Lasich

Christina Lasich, MD Chief Medical Officer Pain and Addiction Medicine Specialist

Dr. Lasich joined Western Sierra Medical Clinic in 2016. She has been in private practice in Nevada County since 2001. Dr. Lasich is active in the community and is a frequent guest speaker at forums hosted by Stanford University, UCLA and elsewhere. She is a University of California, Davis School of Medicine graduate.

In addition to her responsibilities as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lasich oversees the health center’s expanded substance abuse treatment services, especially for residents addicted to opioids such as prescription pain medications and heroin – a growing concern in the region and nationally.

Dr. Lasich is a former Medical Director for Community Recovery Resources.

She grew up in Nevada County and graduated from Nevada Union H.S. When Dr. Lasich is not treating patients, she enjoys pheasant hunting, fly fishing in Northern California and Montana, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and camping. She also spends time gardening, cooking and relaxing with loved ones. Dr. Lasich is also the California Coordinator for the Pointer Rescue Organization.

Meet our new Kings Beach-Tahoe Team:

Seson Kahn

Seson Kahn, Family Nurse Practitioner

Seson Kahn, a Family Nurse Practitioner, has more than 10 years of experience in health care.

Seson received her clinical training in family medicine at the Placer County Medical Clinic in Kings Beach and Auburn, at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, in dermatology and San Francisco General Hospital in the emergency department.

From 2008-2013, she served as a Nurse Manager in the Intensive Care Nursery for Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, and has mentored nursing students and other employees.

Seson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Francisco State University. She received her Master of Science in Nursing, focusing on health care systems leadership, from the University of San Francisco, where she also received her Family Nurse Practitioner training and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Seson enjoys biking, hiking and skiing, as well as spending time with her family.

Tetsuya Shirasuka

Tetsuya Shirasuka, DDS

Dr. Tetsuya Shirasuka, D.D.S., has 30-years of experience as a dentist, providing patients of all ages with dental care in a variety of practice settings.

Dr. Shirasuka joins Westerns Sierra from Health and Life Organization, a Sacramento community clinic.

Dr. Shirasuka earned his dental degree from Loma Linda University and a Ph.D. in Endodontics from Showa University in Japan.

He enjoys skiing in winter and cycling in summer.

Meet our new Auburn Team:

Kristen George

Kirsten George, Physician Assistant

Kirsten George handles the health care needs of newborns to seniors. She joined Western Sierra in 2015.

Kirsten completed her Physician Assistant (PA) Training in 2015 from Midwestern University, a graduate school specializing in health sciences in Downers Grove, Illinois. Kirsten received her B.S. in Biology from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT in 2010.

Before becoming a PA, Kirsten worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a skilled nursing/rehabilitation facility and as a phlebotomist for a wellness center and a plasma center. Her PA training encompassed geriatric medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, general surgery, women’s health, family medicine and internal medicine.

While not caring for patients, Kirsten enjoys spending time with her family, running in the canyon, and doing anything in the outdoors. She especially loves living so close to the Sierra Mountains and the Auburn State Recreation area.

Natalia Orozco

Natalia Orozco, Family Nurse Practitioner

Natalia Orozco, a Family Nurse Practitioner, has more than five years of health care experience. She joined Mountain Valleys Health Centers in Burney as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2011 and more recently served as their Chief Medical Officer.

Natalia has also served as an Emergency Room Family Nurse Practitioner at Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding and as a Registered Nurse in the acute nursing unit for Mayers Memorial Hospital in Fall River Mills in Northeastern California.

Natalia earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, in 2006. She received her Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner from Samuel Merritt University in 2011.

When she is not working, Natalia enjoys spending time the outdoors, either camping, hiking or kayaking with her husband and their two children.

David Narita

David Narita, MD Family Medicine

Dr. David Narita, who provides care to adults and children, has extensive experience in primary care medicine in California and internationally.

Dr. Narita’s background includes family practice, working for the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, and teaching at the University of California at Davis’ Stanislaus County Family Practice Residency program.

Dr. Narita is Board Certified in Family Medicine. He earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and completed his residency at Stanislaus Medical Center. Dr. Narita earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Health.

Dr. Narita also has been a clinical instructor in Cambodia and teaches at William Jessup University in Rocklin.

He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.

Zarlasht Fakiri

Zarlasht Fakiri, D.O. Family Medicine

Dr. Zarlasht (Zari) Fakiri is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, specializing in adult medicine.

Dr. Fakiri sees adults and teens at Western Sierra, and also works in Urgent Care.

She has more than 10 years of experience practicing medicine, including primary care, urgent care and as a hospitalist – all in the Bay Area.

Dr. Fakiri was most recently with Epic Care, providing comprehensive care for chronic conditions, and women’s health care and counseling, as well as working with John Muir Health in urgent care.

Dr. Fakiri earned her medical degree from the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo and completed her residency at Alameda County Medical Center. She earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Fakiri also practiced medicine in Dubai at Emirates Hospital.

She enjoys being outdoors and nature. Dr. Fakiri is always excited to learn new things and like challenges, whether a long hike or reading a long novel.

Kulvinder Boparai

Kulvinder Boparai, MD Family Medicine

Dr. Kulvinder Boparai has 25 years of extensive community clinic and internal medicine experience.

Dr. Boparai’s career includes more than a decade of emergency department experience and 25 years as an internal medicine and primary care physician. He has worked for Veterans Affairs (VA) centers and clinics in Bakersfield and Grand Rapids and Battle Creek, Mich.

He joins Western Sierra after three and a half years with Molina Medical Center in Citrus Heights, where he cared for patients with complex medical conditions. His patients are often dealing with disabling, persistent or progressively life-threatening conditions. Dr. Boparai focuses on supporting patients’ functional ability and their physical, social and mental health and well-being.

Dr. Boparai earned his medical degree and graduated with honors from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica.

In his spare time, Dr. Boparai enjoys traveling, taking walks in nature and nature photography.

Meet our new Penn Valley Team:

Heather Lucas-Ross

Heather Lucas-Ross, MD Family Medicine

Dr. Lucas-Ross served as Chief Medical Officer from 2016-2018. She served as Chief Physician beginning in 2015 and joined the health center in 2008.

She is happy to be practicing medicine in beautiful Nevada County, where she grew up. Dr. Lucas-Ross is a 1994 graduate of Nevada Union High School. She continued her education at Dominican College of San Rafael with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 1998.

In 2004, she earned her Medical Doctorate at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and completed her Family Residency in 2007 at Sutter Health in Sacramento. Dr. Lucas-Ross is enjoys spending time with friends and family in her “home town.”

Amy Quarre

Amy Quarre, Physician Assistant-Certified

Amy is a Certified Physician Assistant with nearly 15 years of experience in the medical field.

Amy worked as a Family Practice Physician Assistant at a community health center near Pueblo, Colorado managing chronic and acute illnesses and performing routine annual exams on children and adults. She also has experience in women’s health issues.

Amy earned her Physician Assistant certificate from UC Davis.

Amy and her husband are newcomers to the area, having recently moved from Colorado. So far, their favorite things to do on weekends are to take their dogs on a long hike at Independence Trail or head down to the Yuba River. And, snowshoeing is also in the mix.

Jennifer Hays

Jennifer Hays, DMD Dental

Dr. Jennifer Hays comes to Western Sierra from ACC Health in Albuquerque, NM, where she provided comprehensive mobile dental services for military personnel. Dr. Hays was awarded a Doctorate in Dental Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science from UC Davis.

Dr. Hays also completed a three-year residency in dental anesthesiology at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York.

Dr. Hays, who has experience in all phases of general dentistry, is working part time at the Grass Valley site until we open our new dental department at the Penn Valley this fall.

A Sacramento native, Dr. Hays enjoys cooking, hiking and spending time with her family.

Family Medicine

Heather Lucas-Ross

Heather Lucas-Ross, MD Family Medicine

Dr. Lucas-Ross served as Chief Medical Officer from 2016-2018. She served as Chief Physician beginning in 2015 and joined the health center in 2008.

She is happy to be practicing medicine in beautiful Nevada County, where she grew up. Dr. Lucas-Ross is a 1994 graduate of Nevada Union High School. She continued her education at Dominican College of San Rafael with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 1998.

In 2004, she earned her Medical Doctorate at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and completed her Family Residency in 2007 at Sutter Health in Sacramento. Dr. Lucas-Ross is enjoys spending time with friends and family in her “home town.”

Amy Quarre

Amy Quarre, Physician Assistant-Certified

Amy is a Certified Physician Assistant with nearly 15 years of experience in the medical field.

Amy worked as a Family Practice Physician Assistant at a community health center near Pueblo, Colorado managing chronic and acute illnesses and performing routine annual exams on children and adults. She also has experience in women’s health issues.

Amy earned her Physician Assistant certificate from UC Davis.

Amy and her husband are newcomers to the area, having recently moved from Colorado. So far, their favorite things to do on weekends are to take their dogs on a long hike at Independence Trail or head down to the Yuba River. And, snowshoeing is also in the mix.

Amber Freeman

Amber Freeman, Physician Assistant

Amber is a Physician Assistant working in Urgent Care. She has nearly five years of experience working in community health centers, most recently serving as a Physician Assistant at Plumas District Hospital Rural Health Clinic in Quincy.

Her experience includes Urgent Care, management of chronic diseases, pediatrics and adolescent medicine and women’s health. In addition, Amber treated HIV patients in collaboration with UC Davis, and oncology patients via telemedicine with Tahoe Forest Cancer Center

Amber also worked as an Emergency Medical Technician for three years in Reno.

Amber has a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from the Red Rocks College in Lakewood, CO. She enjoys hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing.

Kristen George

Kirsten George, Physician Assistant

Kirsten George handles the health care needs of newborns to seniors. She joined Western Sierra in 2015.

Kirsten completed her Physician Assistant (PA) Training in 2015 from Midwestern University, a graduate school specializing in health sciences in Downers Grove, Illinois. Kirsten received her B.S. in Biology from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT in 2010.

Before becoming a PA, Kirsten worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a skilled nursing/rehabilitation facility and as a phlebotomist for a wellness center and a plasma center. Her PA training encompassed geriatric medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, general surgery, women’s health, family medicine and internal medicine.

While not caring for patients, Kirsten enjoys spending time with her family, running in the canyon, and doing anything in the outdoors. She especially loves living so close to the Sierra Mountains and the Auburn State Recreation area.

Lora Lee Grutkowski

Lora Lee Grutkowski, Family Nurse Practitioner

Lora Lee is a Family Nurse Practitioner and medical and emergency care provider at the Downieville site clinic.

Lora Lee previously provided primary care services from 2008 to 2012 at Western Sierra in Downieville, at its mobile clinic sites in Camptonville and Pike City, and at the Grass Valley clinic site.

Lora Lee brings 35 years of clinical nursing experience. Since 2012, she served as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley’s emergency room and as a Registered Nurse in the operating room, performing operating room nursing as well as

Lora Lee has expertise in illness diagnosis, urgent care, cardiac and pediatric life support, surgery practices, immunizations, physical examinations, acute care and treatment of chronic health illnesses. She also has experience in medical administration and legal consulting.

Lora Lee earned a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She has Board Certifications as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist through the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center. She also is Board Certified as an Operating Room Nurse, as an RN First Assistant in Surgery, and in Legal Nurse Consulting.

In Sonoma County, Lora Lee worked at Healdsburg District Hospital, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa.

Monte Penner

Monte Penner, MD Family Medicine

Dr. Penner did his medical training at Loma Linda University in Southern California and has been in general practice (seeing patients of all ages) for almost 30 years. He has also worked as an Emergency Room Physician, a Staff Physician at a University Health Center, an Urgent Care Physician, and has held leadership positions at multiple hospitals, medical groups, and with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Most recently, he worked in and managed an Occupational Medicine Clinic in Sacramento.

Besides general medicine, Dr. Penner has a particular interest in nuclear medicine and diagnostic imaging.

For Dr. Penner, Northern California is hard to beat. He was born and raised in Auburn, CA, where his grandfather, Dr. David Kindopp, was a general medical practitioner from 1930-1980. Being close to family and friends is important to him and he loves all of the outdoor recreational activities Northern California offers: hiking, snow skiing, boating, golf, tennis and gardening.

Susan Shapiro

Susan Shapiro, Family Medicine

Dr. Susan E. Shapiro – who has practiced medicine for more than four decades, including 20 years in Auburn – has joined Western Sierra Medical Clinic as a primary care provider.

Dr. Shapiro, who will work in the Grass Valley health center, was most recently with the Salud Para La Gente clinic in Seaside and the Salud Clinic in West Sacramento, both of which are Federally Qualified Health Centers.

She worked at three practices in Auburn from 1990 to 2009 – including the former Foothill Family Medical Group and later Sutter Medical Group – before establishing a private practice in the community from 2000 to 2009.

Dr. Shapiro earned her medical degree from McMaster University Medical Center-Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, completed her internship in New Westminster, BC, Canada, followed by joint residency in family practice and occupational medicine at University of Arizona, Tuscon. Dr. Shapiro later received a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.

Away from work, Dr. Shapiro enjoys playing with her grandchildren, medical herbalism and homeopathy, reading and writing, learning languages, animal rescue, community service and laughing a lot!

Beverly Mayer

Beverly Mayer, Adult Nurse Practitioner

Beverly Mayer, an Adult Nurse Practitioner, has more than 30 years of experience as an RN and Nurse Practitioner.

Beverly most recently worked as a geriatric primary care nurse practitioner for a private practice in Grass Valley. Prior to that, she served as a Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner for Hospice of the Foothills in Grass Valley, and worked in Sacramento for Sutter Memorial and Mercy General Hospitals, for Stanford Hospital and Clinics, the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, and was with the University of California, San Francisco for 20 years.

Beverly’s clinical experience includes internal medicine, cardiology, pulmonology, hospice and palliative care.

Beverly earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Public Health Nurse Certificate from Samuel Merritt University. She received her Master of Science in Nursing, Adult Nurse Practitioner from the University of California, San Francisco in 2003.

In her spare time, Beverly enjoys hiking with her dog Wawona, yoga and Pilates. She also is a Nevada County master gardener.

Donna Tully

Donna Tully, Physician Assistant

Donna Tully, a Physician Assistant, works in the Grass Valley health center in Urgent Care and Family Medicine.

Donna brings more than 37 years of experience to Western Sierra, including clinical and academic teaching positions. She joins us from Santa Rosa Community Health Center, where she served for more than two years as Program Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner residency. Her most recent clinical position was at Petaluma Health Center.

Donna has worked in numerous health care settings, including urgent care, and emergency, family, rehabilitative and geriatric medicine. She also served for nearly 10 years as a Physician Assistant in the Women’s Health Department at the University of New Mexico Hospitals in Albuquerque.

She also has been a clinical volunteer internationally in Nepal, Kenya and South America, and served on several Boards of Directors for overseas organizations.

Donna earned her Bachelor of Science in Zoology/Microbiology from the University of Maine. She received a Master of Clinical Social Work degree from Smith College in 1995, and a Masters level Physician Associate program at Yale University School of Medicine in 1979.

In addition to providing medical care, Donna enjoys hiking all over California with her rescue dog Max or going whitewater rafting.

Natalia Orozco

Natalia Orozco, Family Nurse Practitioner

Natalia Orozco, a Family Nurse Practitioner, has more than five years of health care experience. She joined Mountain Valleys Health Centers in Burney as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2011 and more recently served as their Chief Medical Officer.

Natalia has also served as an Emergency Room Family Nurse Practitioner at Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding and as a Registered Nurse in the acute nursing unit for Mayers Memorial Hospital in Fall River Mills in Northeastern California.

Natalia earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, in 2006. She received her Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner from Samuel Merritt University in 2011.

When she is not working, Natalia enjoys spending time the outdoors, either camping, hiking or kayaking with her husband and their two children.

Seson Kahn

Seson Kahn, Family Nurse Practitioner

Seson Kahn, a Family Nurse Practitioner, has more than 10 years of experience in health care.

Seson received her clinical training in family medicine at the Placer County Medical Clinic in Kings Beach and Auburn, at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, in dermatology and San Francisco General Hospital in the emergency department.

From 2008-2013, she served as a Nurse Manager in the Intensive Care Nursery for Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, and has mentored nursing students and other employees.

Seson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Francisco State University. She received her Master of Science in Nursing, focusing on health care systems leadership, from the University of San Francisco, where she also received her Family Nurse Practitioner training and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Seson enjoys biking, hiking and skiing, as well as spending time with her family.

David Narita

David Narita, MD Family Medicine

Dr. David Narita, who provides care to adults and children, has extensive experience in primary care medicine in California and internationally.

Dr. Narita’s background includes family practice, working for the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, and teaching at the University of California at Davis’ Stanislaus County Family Practice Residency program.

Dr. Narita is Board Certified in Family Medicine. He earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and completed his residency at Stanislaus Medical Center. Dr. Narita earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Health.

Dr. Narita also has been a clinical instructor in Cambodia and teaches at William Jessup University in Rocklin.

He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.

Zarlasht Fakiri

Zarlasht Fakiri, D.O. Family Medicine

Dr. Zarlasht (Zari) Fakiri is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, specializing in adult medicine.

Dr. Fakiri sees adults and teens at Western Sierra, and also works in Urgent Care.

She has more than 10 years of experience practicing medicine, including primary care, urgent care and as a hospitalist – all in the Bay Area.

Dr. Fakiri was most recently with Epic Care, providing comprehensive care for chronic conditions, and women’s health care and counseling, as well as working with John Muir Health in urgent care.

Dr. Fakiri earned her medical degree from the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo and completed her residency at Alameda County Medical Center. She earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Fakiri also practiced medicine in Dubai at Emirates Hospital.

She enjoys being outdoors and nature. Dr. Fakiri is always excited to learn new things and like challenges, whether a long hike or reading a long novel.

Kulvinder Boparai

Kulvinder Boparai, MD Family Medicine

Dr. Kulvinder Boparai has 25 years of extensive community clinic and internal medicine experience.

Dr. Boparai’s career includes more than a decade of emergency department experience and 25 years as an internal medicine and primary care physician. He has worked for Veterans Affairs (VA) centers and clinics in Bakersfield and Grand Rapids and Battle Creek, Mich.

He joins Western Sierra after three and a half years with Molina Medical Center in Citrus Heights, where he cared for patients with complex medical conditions. His patients are often dealing with disabling, persistent or progressively life-threatening conditions. Dr. Boparai focuses on supporting patients’ functional ability and their physical, social and mental health and well-being.

Dr. Boparai earned his medical degree and graduated with honors from Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica.

In his spare time, Dr. Boparai enjoys traveling, taking walks in nature and nature photography.

Dustin Caudill

Dustin Caudill. Physician Assistant

Dustin brings 15 years of experience in Emergency Room care to Western Sierra, including working at Stanford Hospital and in Trauma Hospitals. Dustin also has worked in Urgent Care in Folsom.

Dustin received his Master of Science degree from the University of California, Davis. He lives enjoys spending time with his family, hiking and skiing.

Pediatrics

Douglas Wagner

Douglas Wagner, MD Pediatrics

Joseph Lambert

Joseph Lambert, MD Pediatrics

Michael Curtis

Michael Curtis, MD Pediatrics

Michael E. Curtis, MD received his advanced training from the University of Pittsburg Medical School in 1983 and participated in the Residency Training Pediatrician program at the Naval Hospital San Diego. He is a Board Certified by the Americal Board of Pediatrics 1987.

He worked as a Medical Officer on the USS Ogden LPD-5 from 1984-85 and was a Staff Pediatrician at Naval-Marine Corps Training Center in Twentynine Palms from 1987-89. Dr. Curtis has had a private practice in Grass Valley since 1989 and spends most of his time there. He provides his expertise to Miners Family Health Center patients one day per week.

Sarah Woerner

Sarah Woerner, MD Pediatrics

“Dr. Sarah” grew up in Nevada City, has been a practicing pediatrician since 1982 and speaks fluent Spanish. She is especially interested in working in the specialized areas of blood diseases of children and children with developmental disabilities. One of her most memorable experiences is seeing a three year-old girl she diagnosed with Leukemia now grown with two children.

Dr. Sarah is dedicated to global health issues and completes an annual medical mission overseas in Nicaragua and Africa. Locally, Dr. Sarah volunteers her time weekly at the KARE Crisis Nursery, a respite and emergency shelter for young children whose families fall on difficult times. She is currently the community liaison there and conducts fundraising and support activities for the organization. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

When not working, Sarah enjoys gardening, biking, cross country skiing, traveling, cooking, quilting and soaking in a hot tub at 2 a.m. after a grueling day – which hasn’t happened in a long time due to the drought.

Polly Conley

Polly Conley, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Polly joins Western Sierra from 14 years of private practice in Roseville. She has a Masters in Pediatrics from University of California, San Francisco and she received her BSN from Brigham Young University.

Polly enjoys educating parents and teens about health and wellness.

Polly grew up in Nevada County. She enjoys hiking in the great outdoors and spending time with her two sons.

Maternity Health Unit

Christopher Genobaga

Christopher Genobaga, MD Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Dr. Christopher G. Genobaga has nearly 20 years of experience as an obstetrician and gynecologist.

Dr. Genobaga was most recently with Peachtree Clinic and Rideout Medical Associates.

He provides a range of services for women, from choosing the most appropriate birth control to prenatal care for mothers-to-be and their still-developing babies.

He earned his medical degree from Loma Linda University and completed his residency at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Genobaga is board certified from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Genobaga enjoys playing ice hockey regularly and a little golf. He spends most of his off time with his family, including four children.

Vanita Lott

Vanita Lott, Certified Nurse Midwife

Vanita Lott is an RN and Certified Nurse-Midwife with decades of experience in the field of maternity health. She received her BSN from William Patterson College in New Jersey, and has worked as a labor and delivery nurse in major medical centers and birth centers. She also had a professional home-birth private practice in Nevada County for 10 years. She also has delivered babies in a medical center and birth center.

Vanita considers maternity health care her passion. At 16 years of age, Vanita read an article about nurse-midwives serving in the Air Force and decided to become a professional midwife. She loves being a pregnancy and childbirth expert, working in Western medicine with a focus on wellness and prevention of complications. Vanita believes when midwives and obstetricians work together, women and their babies get the best care.

Dental

Juan Alberto Chavez

Juan Alberto Chavez, DDS Dental Director

Dr. J. Alberto Chavez graduated from dental school at the National University of Mexico. He took the dental boards at Loma Linda University, California in 1996. Prior to relocating to Grass Valley, he practiced general dentistry in the Los Angeles area for 17 years.

He grew up in Texas and Mexico City, and speaks fluent Spanish.

Being very health conscious, Dr. Chavez likes to help patients in their quest to keep good oral habits in order to maintain healthy gums and teeth. He has participated in Harbor Care LA as a volunteer dentist and enjoys taking part in health and medical/dental missions with his church.

In his spare time, Dr. Chavez likes reading, working on home projects, and spending time with his family and dogs in the great outdoors with activities such as hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing and snow skiing.

Dr. Chavez also is an avid photographer who captures the gorgeous sunsets in the area.

Elizabeth Miltner

Elizabeth Miltner, DDS Dental

Justin Pfaffinger

Justin Pfaffinger, DDS Dental

Dr. “Justin” received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the UCLA School of Dentistry in 2009, graduating with highest clinical honors. In 2005, he received his Bachelors of Science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, graduating Cum Laude. Dr. Justin and his wife grew up in Grass Valley and were valedictorians of Nevada Union High School, where they met. He and his wife have two children now and are delighted to be back in the Foothills to raise their family and enjoy the outdoors.

Dr. Justin is the founding dentist of the children’s dental clinic at the Miners Family Health Center. Along with his primary care of children, he routinely sees adults for emergency care. He is certified in pediatric oral conscious sedation to better serve those children who may be shy or afraid of dental care.

He never forgets the first tooth he extracted, putting all he had learned into practice while serving on a mission trip in Guatemala City. Dr. Justin removed the tooth without any trouble for a grandmother with a painfully cracked molar and still feels the hug from the elderly lady who had waited in line all day to receive care.

Dr. Pfaffinger also owns a private dental practice on S. Pine Street, Nevada City, where his scope of care is broadened to serve the entire family, from the very young to the young at heart.

Jennifer Hays

Jennifer Hays, DMD Dental

Dr. Jennifer Hays comes to Western Sierra from ACC Health in Albuquerque, NM, where she provided comprehensive mobile dental services for military personnel. Dr. Hays was awarded a Doctorate in Dental Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 and a Bachelor of Science from UC Davis.

Dr. Hays also completed a three-year residency in dental anesthesiology at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York.

Dr. Hays, who has experience in all phases of general dentistry, is working part time at the Grass Valley site until we open our new dental department at the Penn Valley this fall.

A Sacramento native, Dr. Hays enjoys cooking, hiking and spending time with her family.

Tetsuya Shirasuka

Tetsuya Shirasuka, DDS

Dr. Tetsuya Shirasuka, D.D.S., has 30-years of experience as a dentist, providing patients of all ages with dental care in a variety of practice settings.

Dr. Shirasuka joins Westerns Sierra from Health and Life Organization, a Sacramento community clinic.

Dr. Shirasuka earned his dental degree from Loma Linda University and a Ph.D. in Endodontics from Showa University in Japan.

He enjoys skiing in winter and cycling in summer.

Behavioral Health

Pain and Addiction Medicine Clinic

Kelly Miner-Gann

Kelly Miner-Gann, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Kelly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in the Behavioral Health field for more than 10 years. She specializes in working with at-risk populations in both urban and rural communities, such as those diagnosed with substance use disorders and chronic mental illness. Kelly believes in building supportive and trusting relationships with her patients to empower them to navigate through difficult life stressors.

Kelly received her Bachelor of Social Work in 2008, and Master of Social Work in 2010, both from San Jose State University. She later obtained licensure in 2017 after transitioning to Nevada County from the East Bay area.

In her free time, Kelly enjoys spending time with family, listening to live music, and spending time outside in nature.

Christina Lasich

Christina Lasich, MD Chief Medical Officer Pain and Addiction Medicine Specialist

Dr. Lasich joined Western Sierra Medical Clinic in 2016. She has been in private practice in Nevada County since 2001. Dr. Lasich is active in the community and is a frequent guest speaker at forums hosted by Stanford University, UCLA and elsewhere. She is a University of California, Davis School of Medicine graduate.

In addition to her responsibilities as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lasich oversees the health center’s expanded substance abuse treatment services, especially for residents addicted to opioids such as prescription pain medications and heroin – a growing concern in the region and nationally.

Dr. Lasich is a former Medical Director for Community Recovery Resources.

She grew up in Nevada County and graduated from Nevada Union H.S. When Dr. Lasich is not treating patients, she enjoys pheasant hunting, fly fishing in Northern California and Montana, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and camping. She also spends time gardening, cooking and relaxing with loved ones. Dr. Lasich is also the California Coordinator for the Pointer Rescue Organization.

Laura Zieman

Laura Zieman, BSN, RN, PHN Nurse Manager, Addiction Medicine Program

Registered Nurse Laura Zieman has more than 20 years of nursing experience. Zieman has extensive experience in dealing with opioid dependence, a focus of Western Sierra’s medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program.

Laura has considerable experience in adult mental health, home-health case management, adolescent special education, internal medicine, infectious disease and obstetrics.

She provided and coordinated adult mental health care for Nevada County Behavioral Health, and was most recently with Sierra Mental Wellness Group and a member of its Crisis Stabilization Unit.

Laura, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Western Governors University, is active in the community as a member of the Penn Valley Chamber of Commerce (she is a past board member), Business and Professional Women of Nevada County, Penn Valley Rodeo Association, Gold Country Trails Council and other organizations

Doris Royer

Doris Royer, Substance Abuse Disorder Counselor

Doris has more than 15 years of experience counseling adults and adolescents with substance abuse disorders (SUD). She comes to Western Sierra from Community Recover Resources, where she has provided counseling through the Western Sierra medication-assisted treatment program, and worked as a SUD Navigator at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Doris has facilitated group meetings, performed one-on-one counseling and handled case management and referral services.

At Western Sierra, Doris is providing brief interventions and referrals to treatment and coordinate with our Medication-assisted Treatment team to provide education, counseling and Doris attended Sierra College and graduated from Breining College, Advanced Study of Addictive Disorders in Orangevale. She is an International and also California Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

In her spare time, Doris enjoys gardening and hiking, and loves going to the movies.

Trish Hartman

Trish Hartman, CADC II Substance Abuse Disorder Counselor

Patricia “Trish” Hartman provides substance abuse counseling at Western Sierra’s Placer County health centers in Auburn and Kings Beach (Tahoe).

She has been a Lead Residential Chemical Dependency Counselor for Community Recovery Resources (CoRR) in Grass Valley since December 2010. Trish is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC II), Certified Intervention Specialist and Recovery Coach. She graduated from Intercoast College in Roseville.

Trish enjoys working out, camping, hiking, and especially loves spending time with her grandchildren and family.

Case Management

Jenny Rivard-Voboril

Jenny Rivard-Voboril, Registered Nurse

Jenny brings almost a decade of health care experience to Western Sierra.

Jenny, a Penn Valley resident, was most recently with RN-Extra Help’s Placer County clinic in Auburn. She has also been an RN with Eskaton, a skilled nursing facility in the Sacramento region.

Jenny earned an Associate Degree in Nursing from Yuba College in Marysville. She has completed several certification programs, including an IV Therapy Program through the Sacramento State Division of Nursing.

Bridgett Morris

Bridgett Morris LVN, Emergency Department Navigator

Bridgett brings more than 10 years of experience in health care, including working in the Emergency Room at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and in private practice.

Bridgett helps Emergency Department (ED) patients access Western Sierra primary care services to help minimize their dependence on the ED for non-emergency care. She interacts with patients assigned to Western Sierra and those without designated primary care providers to make it easy for them to get quality care at Western Sierra.

Most recently, Bridgett worked as an ED Technician, supporting the registered nurses and doctors and performing a variety of patient services.

Bridgett earned her License Vocational Nurse certificate in 2015 and studied health sciences at Sierra College

Bridgett enjoys horseback riding in her spare time.

Dona Cusick

Dona Cusick, Registered Nurse

Dona started her career as a registered nurse in 2006. Her experience includes working in a family practice/urgent care in Truckee where she cared for patients of all ages and collaborated with health care teams in planning patient care. Dona has also provided nursing care in both ambulatory surgery and hospice settings, where she assessed patients to determine pre-operative and end of life needs, respectively.

Dona earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from California State University, Chico. She is Wound Care Certified with the National Alliance of Wound Care.

While not caring for patients, Dona enjoys long hikes with her dog and time at the river.