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New Employees - November 2019

Dec 13, 2019

New Faculty - November 2019


Candace Chow, PhD, MA
Assistant Professor - General Internal Medicine
Director of Education - Office of Curriculum 

A native of New York City, Dr. Chow has over fifteen years of experience as an educator and has worked in both P-12 and higher education settings. The racism she encountered as a teacher spurred her to pursue a PhD and study issues of race and racism in education. She completed her postdoctoral training with the Center for Clinical & Translational Science (CCTS) and the Office of Health Equity and Inclusion (OHEI) at the University of Utah. Her research examines how practitioners, both in medicine and education, understand their social identities and how these self-perceptions influence professional identity development and professional practice. In her current role as Director of Education Research, she supports Core Educator faculty in their development as educational scholars. In her free time, she enjoys baking and hiking with her husband and two young children.

Dr. Chow earned her PhD in Education from Cornell University, where she was a 2012 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow, an M.A. in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University.


Robin Shaw, MD, PhD
Professor - Cardiovascular Medicine
Director - Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research & Training Institute (CVRTI)

Dr. Robin Shaw completed his undergraduate training in Bioengineering at Brown University, and medical school (M.D.) training as well as his graduate training and doctorate (Ph.D.) in Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. His internship, residency in Internal Medicine, fellowship in Cardiology, and postdoctoral fellowship in the Lily Jan Lab were at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He joined the faculty at UCSF Department of Medicine and became an Investigator at UCSF’s Cardiovascular Research Institute in 2007. In 2013, he moved to the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and, in 2019, he became Director of the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI) at the University of Utah.

New Staff - November 2019

Alexander Anderson
Lab Aide


Jennifer Arena, PA-C
Physician Assistant/Hospitalist
General Internal Medicine

Jennifer is a physician assistant from outside of Pittsburgh, PA. She has been working in hospital medicine for 7 years, and moved to Salt Lake City with her husband for his fellowship. Jennifer and her husband have a four-month old daughter and two dogs. She enjoys running an being outdoors.

Desdene Chacon
Dialysis - Utah
Clinical Nurse

Izabela Dziedzic
UU Student - Admin/Clerical

David Fixler
Physician Assistant

Jacob Foringer
Research Assistant/Analyst

Ziwei Fu
Postdoctoral Fellow

Alexandra Ortiz
Dialysis Technician
Dialysis - Utah


Nicole Heaps, FNP-C
Nurse Practitioner
Cardiovascular Medicine - Farmington Health Center

Nicole grew up in Bountiful, Utah and has been a nurse for the past 10 years at the University of Utah. She has worked in CVMU, CVICU, as a VAD Coordinator, and finally on the SICU. Nicole recently graduated from Westminster College with a degree as an FNP and is excited to be working in General Cardiology. In her free time, she loves traveling the world, spending time with family and friends, or being outdoors.


Nicole King, MPAS, PA-C
Physician Assistant
General Internal Medicine/Sleep Medicine - South Jordan Health Center & Sleep-Wake Center

Nicole was born and raised in Southern California. She moved to Salt Lake City and graduated from the University of Utah Physician Assistant Program. She is currently a licensed Physician Assistant in Sleep Medicine but has previously practiced in ENT, therefore has a special interest in managing sleep-related breathing issues due to nasopharyngeal disorders.

During her spare time, Nicole enjoys snowboarding, hiking, yoga, and trying new places to eat. She also takes every opportunity to travel somewhere new each year.


Kadie Kovach, MPH, CPH
Clinical Research Assistant
Cardiovascular Medicine

Kadie is excited to be joining the Cardiovascular Medicine team as a Clinical Research Assistant. She is originally from Colorado but received a Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Utah. Her previous work experience includes working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Respite Care Aide, and as a Histology Research Assistant. In Kadie's free time, she can often be found with a book in her hands or painting a picture from her travels abroad.


Jennifer Makuakane, MPAS, PA-C
Physician Assistant
Hematology - Huntsman Cancer Institute, Outpatient BMT

Jen was born in Long Beach, California but was raised in Brigham City, Utah. She joined the military in 2001, where she received her associate degree in clinical laboratory science from The George Washington University. After being discharged from the Army, she returned to Utah. She then earned a Bachelor of Science in clinical laboratory science from Idaho State University and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, where she is also currently enrolled to complete a Doctor of Medical Science.

She and her husband have 5 kids. They enjoy taking the kids on staycations around Utah and watching them play sports. When they have some extra time, they enjoy traveling to Hawaii to soak up the sun while also spending time with family.

Emma Mendez
Community Health Worker
Infectious Diseases

Mauree North
Clinical Nurse


Brian Orleans, MS
Epidemiology SDBC

Brian grew up in South Florida, but has been bouncing around since childhood. Since, he has lived in Vermont, Copenhagen, Chicago, Idaho, Vermont again, Maryland, North Carolina, and now Utah. Most recently, he completed an M.S. in Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he tried to emphasize accurate methods for observational research. During his time there, he conducted research with the UNC School of Medicine’s Surgery Department and the School of Dentistry. Previously, he also has worked as a survey statistician for a federal government contractor and the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

A number of his adventures have included recreating in mountains, so he is especially excited about outdoor adventures in the Wasatch Range and across Utah. When not in work or the mountains, you might see him at a public library branch or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Naga Paritala
UU Student - Research


Brynn Parsegov, PA-C
Physician Assistant
Hematology - Huntsman Cancer Institute

Brynn is a new graduate Physician Assistant. She is originally from Washington State, but Salt Lake City has been her home for many years. Brynn started her professional career in medicine as a registered nurse at Primary Children’s Hospital. She has experience with, and a love for, critical care pediatrics, hematology, neurology, and cardiovascular medicine! She joined the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Utah in 2017 and is honored to be starting her career as a PA with her new team. A few interesting facts: Brynn can speak some Russian, she loves mountain biking, and in her free time you’ll find her hanging out with her husband and her dog. She also has a 13-year background in competitive figure skating and coaching.


Deborah Passey, PhD
Research Associate
Epidemiology - SLC VA

Dr. Passey is a Research Associate with the VERITAS research group. In this role, she serves as the program manager for the Veterans on Anticancer Medications in Community and Rural Environment Support (VA CARES) Program. Dr. Passey grew up in northern Utah and southern California. While attending the University of Utah for her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Dr. Passey worked as a Study Coordinator at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. She holds a doctorate in Health Services Research from the University of Washington, School of Public Health. As a doctoral student, she received a traineeship from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and completed her dissertation research with the Health Promotion Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Before joining VERITAS, Dr. Passey was a Clinical Scientist at a tech start-up in San Antonio, Texas. In her free time, she enjoys travel, gluten-free baking, and hiking and camping in the mountains with her husband and their two dogs.

Kathryn Stokes
Lab Technician

Anna Tang
Lab Aide

Na Zhou
Postdoctoral Fellow