School of Medicine

Physician Assistant Studies - Program

Leadership Team

Division Chief

Trenton J. Honda, PhD, PA-C

My major research interests include identifying and quantifying risk factors of cardiovascular disease. My work thus far has concentrated on quantification of associations of air pollution exposures and a number of burgeoning and novel clinical conditions that may represent causal intermediates between environmental exposures and... Read More


Associate Division Chief

Virginia L. Valentin, DrPH, PA-C

In February 2016 Virginia Valentin joined the Division of Physician Assistant studies with prior experience as a PA faculty at the University of Kentucky. She earned a Doctorate of Public Health with a focus in epidemiology from the University of Kentucky in 2017, Masters in PA Studies from Barry University in 2007, a BS in Psychology from the Univ... Read More


Medical Director

Richard L. Backman, MD

Richard Backman, M.D. is a board-certified Family Medicine physician and Assistant Professor at the University of Utah. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Chemistry from Pitzer College in Claremont, California in 1984, and obtained his medical degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, in 1994. Dr. Backm... Read More


Program Director

Jared Spackman, MPAS, PA-C

Born in San Francisco, CA before relocating to Salt Lake City, he completed the Physician Assistant program at Rocky Mountain College in Billings Montana in 2000. He obtained a post-graduate Master’s degree from the University of Utah in 2009. He has worked in several disciplines, including pediatrics, orthopedics/sports medicine, migrant farm ch... Read More


Associate Program Directors

Richard D. Bennett, PhD, MMSc, PA-C

Richard came to the University of Utah PA program in May of 2017 after practicing in orthopedics in Cody, WY. He started his academic journey at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, ID and completed a BSc. in Zoology at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID where he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Rod... Read More


Amanda Moloney-Johns, MPAS, PA-C

Amanda Moloney-Johns is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Amanda started at UPAP in 2009 as the Director of Clinical Development, and transitioned into her current position, Director of Clinical Education, in 2013. As the Director of Clinical Education, Amanda oversees all aspects of the clinical phase of... Read More


Sandra F. Stennett, MS, MPAS, PA-C

Sandra has been in PA education for just over five years and currently serves as the Director of Didactic Education in the Division of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She is originally from Charleston, WV and first came to Utah to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and later a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology, focusing her... Read More



Jennifer M. Coombs, PhD, PA-C, MPAS

ennifer 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 recieved her undergraduate degree from Colorado College in ... Read More


Dan Crouse, PA-C, MPAS

Dan Crouse, PA-C, MPAS, is a nationally certified physician assistant. He is an Assistant Professor (Clinical) in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. He graduated from the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program in 1981 and later received his masters degree from University of Utah in Physician Assistant Studies... Read More


Shaun P. Curran, MPAS, PA-C

Shaun Curran, PA-C is a board certified Physician Assistant who is currently an Assistant Professor with the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP). Shaun graduated from UPAP in 2014 and has been involved in educational and clinical projects at the PA program since his graduation He received his undergraduate defree from... Read More


Amanda Leigh Elrod, PA-C, MPAS

Amanda Leigh Elrod, PA-C is a physician assistant who specializes in family medicine and is an assistant professor at the University of Utah in the Division of Physician Assistant Studies. She received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and Physical Education from Berry College, Rome, Georgia in 1998. She became a Certified Athletic Trainer in... Read More


Constance Goldgar, PA-C

Constance Goldgar, PA-C, MS is the Director of Graduate Studies. She grew up in Chicago and graduated from Grinnell College with a BA in Biology. She attended the Child Associate Program at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center where she received her MS in Child Health in 1982. She has worked clinically in the areas of pediatric... Read More


Joanne Rolls, MPAS, PA-C

Joanne Rolls, MPAS, PA-C, is a Certified Physician Assistant and an Assistant Professor (Clinical) at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Division of Physician Assistant Studies. She is a Family Medicine PA who serves University of Utah students and patients as a PA educator and Family Medicine PA... Read More


Darin T. Ryujin, MS, PA-C, MPAS

Darin Ryujin, MS, MPAS, PA-C is the Director of Inclusion and Diversity for UPAP. Darin’s responsibilities as the Director of Inclusion and Diversity include: enhancing the program and university's commitment to diversity and equity by deconstructing intolerance, prejudice and marginalization, while contributing to the equal access, academic achievement... Read More


Grant R. Sunada, MPH, PhD

Grant has interests in Document Mediating and Moderating Relationships between Social Determinants, Health Behaviors, Provider Behaviors, and Mental/Physical Health Outcomes. Identify and Address Determinants of Health Inequities and Health Behaviors Through Community-Driven Research, Capacity Building, and Systems Change