Debra Bakerjian, Ph.D., R.N., F.N.P.
Vice Chair, Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Studies
Debra Bakerjian is vice chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine for Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Studies and an assistant adjunct professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Bakerjian has extensive experience as a family nurse practitioner; she has practiced in settings including ambulatory care, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and homes. For the past 15 years, Bakerjian's clinical practice has focused on providing care to nursing home patients through Bakerjian’s own private clinical practice. She was the first nurse practitioner to have an independent nurse practitioner group with a Medicaid Provider Number in the state of California. Bakerjian’s research is primarily focused on nurse practitioners and their role in improving quality in nursing homes; patient safety measurement; chronic disease management; comprehensive pain management; pressure ulcer prevention; and interprofessional education for health-care workers.
Previously, Bakerjian was a postdoctoral scholar with a specialty in Health Policy and System Change at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. She served as a Claire M. Fagin Postdoctoral Fellow, Atlantic Philanthropies and John A. Hartford Foundation, at UC San Francisco in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, where she was also an assistant adjunct professor. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Policy and Gerontology in 2006 and a Master in Science of Nursing in 1992 from UC San Francisco School of Nursing. Bakerjian earned a Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant certificate from the UC Davis School of Medicine in 1991 and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Phoenix in Arizona in 1983. She received an Associate Degree in Nursing from Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, Calif. Her doctoral study, “Utilization of Nurse Practitioners in Nursing Homes: A Comparison with Physicians,” received the 2006 Dissertation of the Year Award at UC San Francisco.
Mark Christiansen, Ph.D., P.A.-C.
Mark Christiansen joined the faculty of the Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant program in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in January 2011 and assumed the role of program director on July 1, 2011. He arrived at UC Davis after 16 years of service on the faculty of the Physician Assistant Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, where he most recently served as the associate program director. Christiansen has been a practicing physician assistant in rural family medicine and emergency medicine for more than 30 years and he currently practices as a physician assistant in the Family Practice Clinic at UC Davis Medical Center. He graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center Physician Assistant Program with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1977 and earned his Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1997. In 1999 he received his Master of Science degree in Health Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He earned his doctorate in Medical Sciences from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2009. Christiansen has been active in local, state and national physician assistant organizations and for several years he has been a major contributor to a national group that produces and provides continuing education programs for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
Virginia Hass, D.N.P., R.N., F.N.P.-C., P.A.-C., M.S.N.
Associate Program Director
Virginia Hass joined the faculty in July 1997, after she received her family nurse practitioner and physician assistant certifications from UC Davis. Hass earned an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1982 from Sacramento City College and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from California State University, Sacramento in 1992. Her nursing background is in the emergency department and critical care. Hass completed a Master of Science in Nursing at California State University, Sacramento in 1999. In 2008 she earned a doctorate in Nursing Practice from Rush University. Hass is chair of the Admissions Committee and serves as liaison with California State University, Sacramento for the Master of Science in Nursing track for UC Davis family nurse practitioner students. She practices as a family nurse practitioner in the Family Practice Clinic at UC Davis Medical Center. Her clinical interests include chronic illness and pain management and promoting self-care and wellness. Her creative and leisure pursuits include quilting, gardening, hiking and travel.
Kris Himmerick, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C.
Kris Himmerick joined the faculty of the UC Davis Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant program in 2009. She earned a master's degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Iowa in 2004, where she was a National Health Service Corps Scholar. As a student she was awarded the Association of Physician Assistant Programs Student Writing Award and the Marty Holmes Memorial Award for altruism in medicine. She began her physician assistant career in pediatrics in rural Colorado for two years before moving to California to work in family practice with the medically underserved and migrant farm worker population in Napa County at Community Health Clinic Ole. Currently, she practices as a physician assistant in the Family Practice Clinic at UC Davis Medical Center. She serves as a preceptor for physician assistant, family nurse practitioner and medical students in her clinical practice, works part-time in emergency medicine and publishes in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Prior to her career as a physician assistant, Himmerick earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Master of Science in Biomedical Basic Science from the University of Colorado. In her leisure time she enjoys road and mountain biking, visiting the library and exploring with her two dogs.
Michelle O'Rourke, F.N.P.-C., M.S.N.
Michelle O'Rourke received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1978 from San Jose State University and her Family Nurse Practitioner and master’s degrees in Nursing in 1999 from the University of San Francisco. In 2003, after 20 years experience in nursing and five years experience as a family nurse practitioner, O’Rourke began her teaching career at UC San Francisco in the Masters Entry Program in Nursing as an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing. She joined the faculty at UC Davis in October 2007. She practices as a family nurse practitioner in the Family Practice Clinic at UC Davis Medical Center, where she also teaches and precepts UC Davis family nurse practitioner/physician assistant students. She is a member of the Admissions, Curriculum and Testing Committees within the program and will be joining the Continuous Quality Improvement Committee in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. O’Rourke is excited to reconnect with her adult children who have relocated to the local area and to return to some of her favorite hobbies, sewing and gardening.
Shelly Henderson, Ph.D.
Shelly Henderson has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. After completing her internship and postdoctoral fellowship in Primary Care Psychology at UC Davis, she joined the Department of Family and Community Medicine faculty where she is the director of behavioral medicine. In 2012, she joined the family nurse practitioner/physician assistant faculty. Henderson enjoys interprofessional teaching of medical and family nurse practitioner/physician assistant students as well as residents. Her interest is in the integration of behavioral and primary care. She practices as a health psychologist in the Family Practice Clinic and uses motivational interviewing, among other approaches, to promote health behavior change in patients with chronic diseases. She emphasizes mindfulness in her work with learners and patients alike. Henderson completed her undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz and received a master’s degree in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College, where she also studied her lifelong passion, modern dance. Henderson maintains her own wellness through Inyengar Yoga and quality time with her partner and their two dogs and two cats.