Alumni Association Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Teresa Ota, MD'88

Teresa Ota, MD'88

Title:  President, 2018 - 2020

Dr. Teresa Ota was raised in Wyoming. She attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO. She obtained her M.D. at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Concurrently, she obtained her Mrs. as she met and married her classmate, Peter Novak. They moved to Chicago where Dr. Ota completed her anesthesia residency at Northwestern University.

Dr. Ota practiced at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago for 3 years while her husband completed his orthopedic surgery residency and fellowship. They returned to Utah where she practiced at Paracelsus Hospital for a year. She now practices anesthesia at St. Mark’s Hospital, St. Mark’s Outpatient Surgery Center and Lone Peak Hospital in Salt Lake City. She has held the position of Anesthesia Department Chairman at St. Mark’s Hospital.

The Alumni Association Board of Directors and staff are organized into the following project committees. Each committee is comprised of a staff member, committee chair, and supporting board members. Each committee meets bi-monthly and then convenes jointly to discuss issues and strategies of collective merit.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee oversees all activities of the Alumni Association. The Executive Director relies on the Executive Committee for organizational direction, strategic planning, and fiscal oversight.

  • Past President, Bryan Stone, MD'86
  • President, Teresa Ota, MD'88
  • President-Elect, J. Eric Vanderhooft, MD'88
  • Secretary/Treasurer, Ronald Larkin, MD'75
  • Half-Century Society Representative - E. Bruce McIff, MD'68
  • Committee Chairs
    • Communications - Jennifer Coombs, Ph.D., PA-C
    • Education - Karen Miller, MD'80
    • Alumni & Student Programs - John Wood, MD'77., P. Daniel Ward, MD'04
    • Alumni Association Staff


Karen Miller, MD

Dr. Miller came from Oklahoma to Utah in 1982 for an internship in general surgery at the University. She then served as a General Medical Officer in the Indian Health Service on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, practiced industrial medicine in San Diego, and returned to the University in 1986 for obstetrics and gynecology residency. From 1990 to 2008 Dr. Miller was on faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine.

Since 2008 Dr. Miller has been an active volunteer at the Maliheh Free Clinic and serves on its Board of Directors. She has assisted Juneau Biosciences’s research into the genetics of endometriosis and traveled to Nepal with One Heart World-Wide, a nonprofit founded at the University of Utah in 1997.


Jennnifer Coombs, Ph.D., PA-C

Jennifer Coombs has been a Physician Assistant (PA) for over 25 years. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine Division of Physician Assistant Studies. She graduated from the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) in 1991. She received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College in psychology in 1986. She became a Licensed Midwife (LM) in the state of New Mexico in 1989. She obtained her Master in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) in 2001, and her Ph.D. in Public Health in 2010 from the University of Utah. She began her clinical practice as a PA in family practice at Northwest Community Health Centers (now Steven D. Ratcliffe). She practiced there for 14 years with a special emphasis on Vietnamese and Laotian refugees. She was the Director of Admissions at UPAP from 1998 to 2005 and is currently Director of Outcomes. Jennifer’s teaching includes the Pelvic and Breast Exams for PA students, the social medicine course for medical students and a doctoral-level public health course entitled, “Health Policy and Leadership”. 

Alumni & Student Programs

John Wood, MD'77






 P. Daniel Ward, MD'04

Dr. John Wood is a retired Family Medicine and Palliative Care physician. He and his wife Bonnie, a retired nurse, live in the beautiful Ogden Valley and enjoy snow skiing, water sports, and golf. Their two children, Sunee and Bridger, attended the University of Utah.

Dr. Wood grew up in Ogden Utah receiving his BA from Weber State University. He then attended the University of Utah School of Medicine graduating in 1977, going on to a UCLA affiliated residency in Family Medicine at San Bernardino County Hospital in San Bernardino, California. He entered private practice in 1980 at Herefordshire Family Physicians in Roy, Utah where he continued for the next twenty-five years. He currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Intermountain Homecare and Hospice.


Dr. Ward is a native of Utah and graduated from the University of Utah. He began practicing facial plastic surgery after completing residency and fellowship at the University of Michigan, which was then followed by a faculty appointment at the University of Utah. Although he still serves as an adjunct associate professor, he left the University in 2016 to start his own practice, launch FormRx skincare, and found Form Medical Spa. His surgical practice involves advanced techniques in rhinoplasty, facelift, hair restoration, brow lift, blepharoplasty, facial reconstruction following skin cancer, and facial reanimation surgery. He is a RealSelf100 Doctor (recognizing the top 100 plastic surgeons in the world), Castle Connolly Top Doctor, an internationally sought out speaker, and most importantly, a husband to Janie and father of four great children.

Education Committee

Education Committee

Oversees the planning for the CME Conference during Alumni Weekend. Select presenters and assures all topics comply with accreditation requirements. Encourages Health sciences and medical school department collaboration and hosts the residents’ program: Transitioning Into Practice.

Karen Miller, MD'90

  • Brent James, MD'78
  • Kim Mcfarlane, MPAS
  • Brian Shiozawa, MD., HS84
  • Ray Thomason, MD, HS84

Communications Committee

Jennifer M. Coombs, Ph.D., PA-C, MPAS

  • J. Eric Vanderhooft, MD'88
  • Kathy Pederson, PA-C, MPA
  • John MacFarlane Jr., MD'90
  • Jeremy Chidester, MD'11
  • Kristin Anderson, Exec. Director, UUSOM Alumni
  • Student Representative - one year term MSIII

Advises on the website and social media content. Recommends and reviews the editorial direction and content of the School of Medicine Alumni Association Magazine.

Alumni Programs & Student Programs

Alumni & Student Programs Committee

The Alumni & Student Programs Committee oversees all events of the medical alumni weekend and programs that connect students, house staff and alumni with the School of Medicine. A listing of these events can be found on the Student Programs pages. 

P. Daniel Ward, MD'09 & John Wood, MD'77

  • Stephen Warner, Snr. Director of HSC DevelopmentClass of 2006
  • Bob Bunnell, PA-C
  • Michael Chen, MD'16
  • Jeremy Chidester, MD'11
  • Ronald Larkin, MD'75
  • Bruce McIff, MD'68
  • Karly Pippitt, MD'06
  • Adam Stevenson, MD'01

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