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Current TFM Faculty

Kerry Watrin, MD, Residency Program Director

Watrin, Kerry

Home Town: Kennewick, Washington

Special Interests: My special interests include adult learning styles, transition cycles, practical use of the EHR in prevention and chronic disease management, obstetrics and international health.

Program Director Thoughts: Family Medicine is where the magic happens. It is a gift to accompany you on the apprenticeship of the Family Doc journey. We learn, unlearn, and learn anew over a lifetime, and at TFM, we learn from each other. I am privileged to be a member of the TFM team with common goals of service and full spectrum training. I trust the collective wisdom of our village in decision making. We are each accountable to excellence while executing our individual roles. The work is fun on our well functioning team. Our dedication to achieving the best health for our patients allows for mutual healing and wellness.

Kerry was raised in Kennewick, Washington, and attended the University of Washington for both undergrad and medical school. He has completed the UW Faculty Development Fellowship as well as the National Institute for Program Director Development. His past experiences include working as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Shinyanga Tanzania, locums work in family medicine, and sabbatical work in a level 1 emergency department. He serves as the Program Director at TFM, the Vice President of the UW Network of Family Medicine residencies, a member of the MultiCare Quality Committee and Safety Council, and as Advisory Faculty for ALSO. Kerry’s most valued award is the Bill Downey Award of L’arche Tahoma Hope. He believes that it reminds him to be “little centered.” Kerry’s medical interests include newborn care, learning styles, and the process of learning. He looks forward to the two times every year when he gets the opportunity to eat Kansas City Barbeque.

Kerry lives in a log cabin on two acres of wooded paradise. There he can listen to the evening wind in the evergreens at sunset with his soulmate, their two wonderful young adult children, one dog, three sheep, and a passel of cats. Kerry enjoys hiking and gardening, and his play toy is a John Deere tractor in a large garden. Each October he and his wife host a pumpkin carving contest and Halloween party.

Joseph Angel, MD Joey Angel

Melinda Behrens, MD, PediatricianMelinda Behrens

Rebecca L. Benko, MD, Fellowship Program Director

Benko, Rebecca

Home Town: Croswell, Michigan

Medical School: Michigan State University of Human Medicine

Special Interests: Colposcopy OB, and Surgery Skills

Becky was raised in a small community in eastern Michigan called Croswell. Her first experience with the medical field was the local family doc that did everything, including delivering babies, making hospital rounds and taking care of all members of the family. After she decided to pursue a career in medicine she realized that what she really wanted to do was be a full spectrum family physician, much like the physician in her small town. She went to Michigan State University for her undergraduate studies and received a BS in Medical Technology before continuing to Michigan State College of Human Medicine for her M.D. degree. After residency she went on to practice in Newport, a small rural community in eastern Washington. In Newport she did everything from surgical obstetrics (including cesarean sections) to nursing home rounds to working in the emergency department to full spectrum outpatient care to serving as a liaison to the local public health department.

Becky joined Tacoma Family Medicine in 2002 to pursue a career in teaching, a position that allows her to continue to practice full spectrum family medicine while also incorporating her love for teaching. She still enjoys taking care of all family members and has a particular interest in women’s health and maternity care. She serves as the obstetrics liaison for the residency and serves on multiple OB committees, including Women’s Services, Perinatology Clinical Improvement Team, and the OB Collaborative. She continues to be passionate about rural health care and serving underserved communities.

In her free time Becky enjoys reading (everything), jewelry making, cooking, hiking, biking, swimming, running, and doing an occasional “mud run.” For a number of years she competed in triathlons. She is married to a pediatric surgeon, and they have two wonderful children and a dog. They lead very busy lives and are always working on balance, but Becky says they wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Paula Constance, ARNP

Contance, Paula

Home Town: Sidney, Iowa

Nurse Practitioner: University of North Dakota

Masters of Education: University of Nebraska

Masters of Management: Troy University

Areas of interest: Outdoor Emergency Medicine, Acute Care, Dermatology, Ortho, Women’s Health Care, OB, and CAM

Alan Gill, MD

Gill, Alan

Home Town: St. Louis, Missouri

Medical School: University of Michigan

Special Interests: Developmental Disabilities and Rural Medicine

Alan followed a winding tour of “M” states before getting it right and landing in Washington. He grew up in Michigan and Missouri, completed undergrad and medical school at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), and did his residency at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Alan then worked for Indian Health Service with the Blackfeet in Montana, which was a marvelous experience. If you have not been where Glacier National Park meets the high plains, it is a must. He returned to Fulton, Missouri, for several years to teach at a rural teaching site for the University of Missouri. In 1999, his wife asked him, “Why are we living in Missouri?” Lacking a good answer, they moved to Tacoma in 2000, drawn by family and by TFM’s mission of training physicians to serve in rural and urban communities in need. They have certainly found their home, with great colleagues and residents, meaningful work, an ideal place to raise their now grown family, and endless outdoor opportunities.

For fun, Alan must be active, from running and weight training to camping, hiking, and back packing. Peaks still have a particular appeal. He likes occasional bucket listers, having tried spelunking (including vertical caves), sky diving, and the calculated risk of a hot air balloon ride with one of his sons, who has autism. He and his family enjoy travel, which they spice up by buying random trips at charity auctions. Alan also has participated in a yearly medical mission trip to Honduras since 2009, and he often takes residents with him.

Alan loves the entire breadth of family medicine. His greatest passions are caring for people with developmental disabilities and their families, and for supporting residents and fellows who plan to practice in rural areas.  In 2018, he helped open MultiCare’s Adult Developmental Clinic, and now dedicates part of his time to directing that clinic.

Yvette Gross, DOGross, Yvette

Home Town: Newport, New South Wales, Australia

Medical School: Michigan State University of Osteopathic Medicine

Special Interests: Medication Assisted Treatment of Addiction, Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, Obstetrics and Newborn Care Including C-Sections, Procedural Medicine

Yvette was born in Australia and life would eventually lead her to Michigan. She completed her undergraduate degree and then worked as a direct care worker for children with poor coping and communication skills in the respite foster care system. While working she found that there was a huge need for underserved primary care and was intrigued by the osteopathic philosophy of treating the patient as a whole so, she packed her bags for Michigan States University of College of Osteopathic Medicine.  During her time there she realized she wished to attend underserved populations by becoming a full spectrum family provider, caring from womb to tomb and went on to Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency where she started practicing rural primary care.

After residency Yvette moved on to Chicago to complete a Maternal Child Health Fellowship, which furthered her knowledge in high risk obstetrics, neonatal care and cesarean section training and allowed her to treat patients in an underserved urban environment. She then went on to become fellowship and residency faculty in Chicago, however, was lured away by the outdoors.

Yvette initially joined MultiCare working as a full spectrum FP/OB, though she soon realized she missed teaching, joined Tacoma Family Medicine in 2018 first as a preceptor for the OMT clinic and subsequently as a core faculty member.

Throughout both her residency and fellowship Yvette especially enjoined treating patients both pregnant and not in the field of medication assisted treatment for addiction and with her training in the osteopathic philosophy and manipulative therapy has been able to provide alternate treatments while supporting their sobriety from opiates.

Yvette has also made it a part of her practice to participate in medical missions with groups and on her own to Haiti, Guatemala, Peru and Honduras.

In her free time Yvette enjoys hiking, home improvements, eating out at new restaurants, travelling and getting into trouble with friends.

Janelle Guirguis-Blake, MD

Guirguis-Blake, Janelle

Home Town: Westfield, New Jersey

Medical School: Dartsmouth-Brown Medical School Program

Special Interests: Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), Health Promotion/Disease Prevention, and TFM Day

Janelle was raised in New Jersey and has spent most of her life as a fast-talking East Coaster. She received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Brown University in Providence, RI, and her medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School and Brown University School of Medicine. She attended the family medicine residency at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine before completing a primary care health policy fellowship at Georgetown School of Medicine.

Prior to joining Tacoma Family Medicine, Janelle served as program director for the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) program at the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ). Since coming to TFM, she has continued to work with AHRQ and the USPSTF in various capacities and currently spends half of her time as a principal investigator for USPSTF systematic reviews. She is on the leadership steering committee for the WPRN (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho state region Practice Research Network) and serves as principal investigator for several ongoing clinical trials related to prevention, guideline implementation and safe prescribing practices in primary care. At TFM she teaches full-scope family medicine while also providing an invaluable resource as an expert in epidemiology, evidence-based medicine, and research.

Janelle moved to the NW to explore the outdoors and enjoys kayaking, biking and hiking with her family. She loves traveling and is fluent in Spanish, French and Arabic.

Kate Landy, MD

Katy Landy, MD

Home Town: Chevy Chase, Maryland

Professional School: University of Rochester School of Medicine

Special Interests: Women’s health / Gynecology.

Kate’s hometown is Chevy Chase, Maryland, and she maintains that the famous Chevy Chase named himself after her town, which is a suburb of Washington, D.C., and not the other way around. She completed her undergraduate at Columbia University in New York City, majoring in African Studies. She then headed to the southern city of jazz to earn a Master in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans. She completed her thesis by working on maternal/child health projects as a US Peace Corps volunteer in the mountains of rural Morocco, where she learned a dialect of Berber that no one else has ever heard (Tamazight). At one time or another she has also been capable of conversing in Spanish, French, and Swahili. Upon returning to the United States she headed off to the University of Rochester School of Medicine before completing her residency at Tacoma Family Medicine. She practiced full-spectrum family medicine for 7.5 years at Community Health Care (an FQHC in Tacoma) before joining the faculty at TFM. She volunteers on the Pharmacy & Therapeutics hospital committee, at Neighborhood Clinic for the local underserved, and as a classroom parent at her children’s school. She is married and has a son and daughter, a dog, a pop-up camper, and a tiny sailboat in the driveway. She enjoys cooking, knitting, crafting, skiing, and camping.

Enrique Leon, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in the UW Department of Family Medicine

Enrique Leon, MD

Home Town: Chimbote, Peru

Professional School: Howard University

Special Interests: Obstetrics and adolescent care, procedural medicine, point of care ultrasound.

Enrique was born and raised in the medium-sized port of Chimbote, Peru, to an American Peace Corp mom and Peruvian teacher father. He completed his undergraduate studies in biology at James Madison University in Virginia before attending medical school at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He then crossed the Unites States for residency at Swedish in Seattle before completing the Faculty Development Fellowship at the University of Washington.

Enrique cared for low-income families at a community health clinic in Tacoma for twelve years after residency and helped lead the community through a grant funding and new medical center development by partnering with many groups in Tacoma. He remains active in public health advocacy by serving on committees in public health, school tobacco prevention, and gun injury prevention. He devotes time to Physicians for Social Responsibility, safer gun laws, a state convention constitutional amendment aimed at getting big money out of politics, promoting improved services for the poor, and speaking in favor of the Affordable Care Act (after the single payer/ public option did not succeed). He is a past president of the Pierce County Chapter of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians and a member of the Pierce County Medical Society.

Further, international health is a calling that helps Enrique continue to grow in many ways. Residents are invited to visit his Peru to help teach workshops on different topics in maternal- infant health. They also see patients, learn tropical medicine, and plan public health projects on small budgets while coordinating 40 foot ship containers of donated medical supplies.

Enrique joined the Tacoma Public Schools Board of Directors in 2018 and is energized to improve the health and education of children in Tacoma.

His wife is a high school counselor and former math teacher from New Jersey who leads a Girl Scout troop. Enrique was an Eagle Scout so he knows how to tie knots, build zip lines, and make big fires. He and his wife have two children, 16 and 11years old, and a dog. They love to ski, camp, fish, surf, hike, play soccer, and spend time in nature. Enrique enjoys cooking, organizing pick up soccer games, coaching all of his kids’ sports, listening to his kids play music and perform in plays.
He enjoys teaching residents and medical students the art of family medicine and believes the specialty offers the best of the profession. One of his key messages is how to balance healing the body and soul of patients while remaining emotionally strong. He looks for opportunities to share his passion with aspiring college and high school students who want to see if medicine is their calling. He especially likes helping minority groups, and he hopes to encourage more people from minorities to enter the practice of family medicine. At TFM his curricular components are orthopedic and sports medicine, while his liaisonships include procedural training and gastroenterology.

Natalie Nunes, MD, Associate Director

Nunes, Natalie

Home Town: Tacoma, Washington

Medical School: Georgetown School of Medicine

Special Interests: Outpatient Family Medicine, Practice Management, Population Health, Quality Improvement, and Medical Informatics

Proud of her Tacoma hometown heritage, Natalie endeavors to bring an optimistic attitude to her work at TFM, tempered by real-life pragmatism that comes from growing up in a blue collar town. Her diplomas are from the University of Washington (BA Philosophy), Georgetown University School of Medicine (MD), Seattle Indian Health Board (UW residency affiliate; satellite program of Swedish at Cherry Hill), and the University of Washington Faculty Development Fellowship.

Prior to life as TFM faculty, Natalie practiced medicine at HealthPoint, a Federally Qualified Health Clinic, in Federal Way, WA, for ten years. For the last three years she was the lead physician of the eight provider clinic. In this role, she was able to work on various state collaborative and other quality improvement projects regarding population health issues.

Working with underserved populations to combat health disparities is what drew Natalie to medicine. Her interests lie in ethics, women’s health, adolescent medicine, and population health. She is actively involved with the WAFP and has served on various committees including advisory board work with the state immunization registry (CHILD Profile). She has also served as the medical director for the Renton Tech Medical Assistant Training program for many years as well. Her current curriculum areas at TFM include Family Practice Management, Quality Improvement, and General Surgery.

When she is not busy at work, Natalie enjoys spending time with her husband, two kids, and their extended families. She has a passion for traveling both within the US and abroad and enjoys playing the piano, training in Pilates, and reading. That is, when she is not catching up on some well deserved sleep. She also enjoys watching movies at the Grand and attending live theater and music performances. Natalie is also talented at knitting and holds monthly Knitting Club meetings at her house for residents and faculty.

Timothy Panzer, MD, MA

Panzer, Tim

Home Town: Weslaco, Texas

Medical School: University of Washington

Special Interests: Internal Medicine, Medical Urgencies and Emergencies

Tim grew up on the Texas-Mexico border. With an undergraduate degree in English, graduate study in Australia, and a master’s degree in geography, Tim’s plans for a career in academia veered in a different direction after leading an HIV/AIDS prevention project in South Texas and working as an administrator for a community health center in Washington State. With intentions to continue his work with medically underserved populations through clinical medicine, he attended the University of Washington School of Medicine and completed residency at Tacoma Family Medicine. After residency, Tim practiced full-spectrum family medicine for ten years at Community Health Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Pierce County, where he was able to use his Spanish working with a largely Latino patient population. He then joined Group Health Cooperative to form a group of family physicians with an active OB and newborn practice within a nationally recognized patient-centered medical home model. During that time, he also began work as part-time faculty at TFM, joining full-time in 2015.

Tim’s wife is a certified nurse-midwife, and they have two teenagers keeping them busy. They live in Tacoma’s North End, where they attempt to farm their small city lot. (Tim has figured out how to grow lots of tomatoes in the cool Puget Sound area climate.) They enjoy traveling, hiking, Nordic skiing, cooking (and eating), and learning about soccer, jazz, and photography from their teens.

Susan W. Rowe, PharmD

Susan W. Rowe, Pharm. D.

Home Town: Tacoma, Washington

Pharmacy School: University of Washington

Susan Rowe is the clinical pharmacist on the Tacoma Family Medicine faculty. She was born in Oceanside, California, but has lived in Tacoma most of her life. She received her BS Pharm. and PharmD degrees from the University of Washington. She enjoyed Texas briefly during her general hospital residency at Harris Hospital Methodist in Fort Worth. She also has a board certification from the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties in Ambulatory Care (BCACP). Prior to joining Tacoma Family Medicine, Susan was the pharmacist for the Critical Care units at Tacoma General Hospital. Her professional committee work includes the MHS Chronic non-cancer pain committee, the MHS CHF Collaborative, and the TFM Patient Centered Medical Home committee. Additionally, she is the current chair for the Washington State Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee. She was recognized as the hospital pharmacist of the year in 1989 by the Washington State Hospital Pharmacist Association. Her hobbies and interests include gourmet cooking, hiking, rafting, spectator sports in general, her family (including her dog), and traveling to anywhere. She volunteers for the Tacoma Mountaineers and her church.

Emily Traupman, PhD

Traupman, Emily

Home Town: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Professional School: University of Utah, PhD in Clinical Health Psychology

Special Interests: Medical Psychology, Adjustment to Illness and Disability, Neurorehabilitation, Culturally Competent Healthcare

Emily was raised in Eastern Pennsylvania and attended Duke University as an undergraduate student and the University of Utah, where she obtained PhD in Clinical Health Psychology. She got her first taste of the Pacific Northwest completing here internship in behavioral medicine/neuropsychology at Harborview Medical Center through the University of Washington. She remained at the University of Washington where she completed a Rehabilitation Psychology fellowship.  Emily accepted a clinical faculty position at the University of Missouri Medical Center in the Department of Health Psychology, though the PNW called her back and she joined MultiCare in 2013 in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Emily has a passion for serving underserved populations and ensuring the provision of culturally competent healthcare. In addition to direct patient care, Emily has been involved in MultiCare's Cultural Diversity Committee, led a Community Partnership Council, and served as a liaison with the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington.  In each position she serves, Emily's goal is to bring education and support services to MultiCare and the larger community. She has completed diversity training through the Cross-Cultural Healthcare Program of Seattle and Adventist Health, and enjoys teaching didactics to many allied health professions on implicit bias, health literacy, and communication tools, such as tech Back.  Emily joined TFM in 2017 and is excited to be part of a program that values and emphasizes patient-centered care and training using the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model.

Outside of work, Emily can be found walking her dog in parks throughout Pierce County. She is a regular yoga practitioner and enjoys cooking healthy meals, baking, and travel. She loves both the water and mountains of the PNW, where she can ski, hike, boat and paddle board.

John VanBuskirk, DO

Van Buskirk, John

Home Town: Los Angeles, California

Medical School: College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, Pomona California

Special Interests: Urban Underserved, Palliative Medicine, and Medical Student Liaison

John grew up in Buena Park, California, which is located in the famous Orange County area of southern California near Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. As an undergrad at the University of Washington he received a BS in Environmental Health before becoming a member of the very first class at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California, (which is now part of Western Health Sciences University). John completed his osteopathic internship in Detroit and Farmington Hills, Michigan, before working four years at Puyallup Tribal Health Authority as a National Health Service Corps Scholarship recipient. He then entered Tacoma Family Medicine as a second year resident when the program expanded from four residents per year to six. He was honored to remain as Faculty.

John’s pre-medicine work experiences include working in a retail bookstore, spending a summer as a framer/carpenter, and as a “ditch digger” in landscape and maintenance gardening. He was the Hospice Medical Director for seven years and currently works part time doing consultations for Palliative Medicine Consultation Team. He is board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He serves on many hospital committees including Ethics, Peer Review, CME, Adult Medical Services, and Pediatrics.

His interests include a passion to improve access to health care and service for disenfranchised communities such as those with HIV, mental illness, and substance abuse. In the community John serves as a board member and medical director for the Neighborhood Clinic, which is a volunteer run free clinic serving the underserved for more than 25 years. He also is a former board member of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation and helped develop Project Access Pierce County. His dedication to others has been recognized by his peers, and John has been awarded the Community Service Award by the Pierce County Medical Society, the Washington Home Health Association Doctor of the Year Award, and the Tacoma Family Medicine Faculty Teaching Award.

John is a member of AAFP, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for a National Health Plan, Health Care for All, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. He has completed the UW Family Medicine Network Faculty Development Fellowship and the ALSO Instructor Course. A stalwart supporter of TFM’s monthly Humanism discussion group with interested residents and faculty. Frequently serves as mentor for pre-med students, offering shadowing and other exposures “to help fill the pipeline.”

In his free time John enjoys kayaking, hiking, Alpine and Nordic skiing, reading, gardening, and travel both at home and abroad (e.g. Tanzania, China, Italy, France, Netherlands, US National Parks) with his family. He has been married for 35 years to Kitty-Ann van Doorninck, now a Pierce County Superior Court Judge, and they have two magnificent sons. They have enjoyed living in Tacoma for over 30 years, (one mile from the hospital) and raising his family in this great community with its access to water, mountain activities, and great medical system.