Lisa Ayala, MD
University of Kansas School of Medicine
As a small town farm girl & daughter of a veterinarian in NE Kansas - I learned medicine early working with my father. Through various community service projects & mission trips with my church I found working with & serving others is a passion I couldn’t ignore. I received a Bachelor’s in Human & Molecular Biology from College of the Ozarks in Branson, MO, I also found my husband & “partner in crime” Sergio. After college we returned to the flatlands for medical school at the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine in Salina, KS. We decided to join St. Mary’s Residency because of the broad scope of training, & the family oriented community between residents & faculty. The scenery definitely didn’t hurt our decision! My husband & I enjoy gardening, cooking, raising our 3 goldfish, & exploring the area.
Ryan Gillum, MD
University of Colorado School of Medicine
I was born in Fort Collins, CO & went to college in Boulder at the University of Colorado where I studied Anthropology. After graduating I moved to Costa Rica to work as a whitewater raft guide. I lived there for five years spending my free time volunteering in the local clinics where I developed a passion for medicine & helping underserved populations. I decide a career in healthcare was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life & came back to Colorado to study medicine at the University of Colorado. I’m excited to be in Grand Junction to continue my training & to spend my free time mountain biking, backpacking, & climbing around the Western slope of this state that I love & call home.
Kevin Johnson, MD
University of Utah School of Medicine
I grew up in Farmington, Utah then went to Brigham Young University to study Genetics & Biotechnology. I attended medical school at the University Of Utah SOM & looked for an adventure outside of Utah for residency. Grand Junction was the perfect place & I was excited to move here for residency. My wife & I have already enjoyed hiking around the Grand Mesa & Colorado National Monument with our two young children & are excited to explore all the exciting things that Grand Junction has to offer. I am passionate about providing collaborative & individualized care to empower each patient to achieve their own personal health goals.
Allison Marsh, MD
University of South Alabama
I was raised in rural Autauga County Alabama, where I spent most of my childhood exploring the woods with my sister, climbing/falling out of trees, riding/falling off of horses. I attend the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (roll tide). Spent 6 months in Lusaka, Zambia, as a preschool teacher’s aide at a home for orphaned children. Then I did an internship with Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama. These experiences were crucial in leading me to medicine, & especially to primary care. I graduated with a major in Social Inequality & Health. Medical school was at University of South Alabama, where I could be found binge eating seafood enjoying both the beach & New Orleans. I decided it was time for a new adventure & headed west for residency. I am beyond excited to be in Grand Junction, to train with the residents & faculty at St Mary’s.
John Nozykowski, MD
Albany Medical College
I was born & raised on a small farm outside Longmont, CO. Like most Coloradans my passions lie in the outdoors, but my particular interests are fly-fishing, backpacking & skiing. I attended the University of Northern Colorado for undergrad, & loved studying biology. My interest in science & desire to serve others led me into medicine. My adventure continued in Up-state New York, at Albany Medical College. Between studying & clinicals I explored the beautiful Catskill & Adirondack Mountains (hills compared to the Rockies but gorgeous in their own right). It was a combination of wanting to practice broad spectrum medicine & the desire to serve a small mountain community that led me into family practice. I am so excited to be a part of the wonderful community here in Grand Junction & to explore everything the beautiful western slope has to offer!
Kishan Patel, MD
University of Vermont College of Medicine
I grew up in India & moved to Farmville, VA at the age of 15. After adjusting to small town life, I moved to the suburbs of Northern Virginia to attend George Mason University for a degree in Business Management. After college, I headed to New York City for five years before embarking on a long but rewarding journey to Family Medicine. During college, I was introduced to the Shenandoah mountains, & have been chasing opportunities to play in nature ever since. I came to Grand Junction from Vermont where I was fortunate to attend a wonderful medical school, University of Vermont College of Medicine. Strong interests include feeding birds, researching campervans, & playing connect 4. I chose this residency for its fantastic location & an incredibly dedicated group of residents, staff, & faculty. I am thrilled to be in Grand Junction with my amazing partner, Christina, living our peak lives.
Bruce Sharp, MD
McGovern Medical School
I grew up on a small ranch in central Texas working cattle, doing other odd jobs country life entailed. I worked through undergrad at Texas A&M as a welder/ construction worker & continue to love working with my hands. I moved to downtown Houston where I attended McGovern Medical School. While training there, in the largest medical center in the world, I learned my love for rural medicine, preventative medicine & the effect consistent primary care can have on a community’s well-being. My first visit to the state of Colorado was my interview with St. Mary’s where I fell in love with the area. I love to hike & read novels in nature. When home, I spend time working on home improvement projects, watching college football & playing board games. I look forward to learning more about the area & the community of Mesa County.
Ryan Sullivan, MD
Albany Medical College
I grew up playing soccer & roaming the streets of Northern Virginia. I attended Virginia Tech majoring in nutrition & exercise physiology. I then went to Albany Medical College where I sub-specialized in Adirondack maple syrup & gravel riding. I fell in love with the Grand Junction program while completing a fourth year rotation at St. Mary’s. I’m excited to begin a career in primary care where I can use my background to promote better health in my patients in a place surrounded by people excited by endless outdoor opportunities. I spend my spare time running trails for distances longer than recommended, & have passions for ski touring, riding bikes, waking up in tents, eating peanut butter/banana combinations, semi-sarcastically listening to arguably bad 80’s music, & cooking.
Elizabeth Wright, MD
University of Washington Seattle
Growing up in the mountains, forests & rivers of Montana, I have always enjoyed the outdoors. My undergraduate degree was in biology at the University of Montana. I decided to learn German by living in Austria. After a year as an au pair I volunteered as a school teacher (math & physics) for Peace Corps Uganda. By the time I returned to Montana, I knew it was time to fulfill my life-long calling to become a doctor. The University of Washington was in Seattle - I chose clinical rotations in Montana, Alaska, & Wyoming. When it came time to pick a residency, I knew Grand Junction & the state of Colorado had everything I could want, including robust full-spectrum family medicine training, the privilege to work with underserved populations, & easy access to outdoor adventure. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, camping, floating/rafting rivers, live music, golfing, reading, & playing the piano.
Tiffany Chaloux, MD
University of Washington
As a native Montanan, I grew up camping, skiing, fishing, & enjoying everything the outdoors had to offer. Looking for a new adventure, I received my undergraduate degree in psychology at Willamette University in Salem, OR, where I learned the true meaning of rain. I headed back to the mountains (& a drier climate) for my graduate degree in research psychology at Montana State University. I worked for a software company before following my Grandpa Doc into medicine, attending the University of Washington. I enjoy working with underserved populations & learning broad-spectrum medicine. I am excited for my training to continue at St. Mary’s and am looking forward to exploring the Western Slope with my husband Alex and my dog Fitz.
Jeff Cochran, MD
Loyola University Chicago
I grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, learning to work hard on my grandparent’s farm & play hard while white water rafting, hiking, camping & playing sports. After high school, I served a two-year mission in Brazil learning Portuguese, Spanish, & most importantly - that I was happiest helping people one-on-one. After a brief career in construction management, I returned to Oregon State University to prepare for medical school. When I saw how difficult it was for my own family members to get the medical care they needed simply because they didn’t understand how to communicate with doctors, I developed a strong desire to help all people navigate the healthcare system. While at Loyola University, in Chicago, I chose to specialize in rural family medicine, hoping to practice full-spectrum care. My wife, Missy, & I are beyond excited to be moving to Colorado & to explore all the opportunities Grand Junction has to offer.
John Draminski, MD
University of Illinois
Corn fed, raised in the hog capital of the world, Kewanee, IL - I hadn’t left Illinois. I grew up hunting, fishing, camping, & playing every sport. I attended Augustana College in Rock Island, where I studied Pre-Med/Biology & played football for 4 years. I then moved on to the U of Illinois - Rockford for Med School as a member of the Rural Program. Four months in rural Illinois cemented my plan that Family Medicine was what I wanted. After 25 years of corn & beans a change of scenery was in order. My love for the outdoors & my passion for Family Medicine made St. Mary’s an easy choice. I’m most interested in preventative medicine, sports medicine & office procedures. I can’t wait to explore Colorado & try my hand at fly-fishing, elk hunting, & real mountain biking.
University of Colorado
I grew up in Westminster & Franktown, Colorado. He worked as a custom carpenter for several years building houses. Zeb attended Metropolitan State University of Denver majoring in Biology & Chemistry. Then he went to the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine. Every day he is grateful for the opportunity to be a physician. He genuinely loves people & is fascinated by medicine. He is most passionate about preventive medicine, diet & nutrition, as well as technology in medicine. He enjoys any outdoor activity, especially hiking, gardening, & botany. He is also an enthusiastic reader & is fond of music. He is married to a wonderful woman who immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine. He is close with his parents, three siblings, & his nieces & nephew.
Mackenzie Hartman, DO
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
I was born in So Cal, & raised in FL. Undergraduate was at Central Florida in Orlando, then a degree in medical skin care from the Florida College of Natural Health. I worked with dermatologists & plastic surgeons before med school. It was my initial plan to become a dermatologist, but during my rotations I found my passion for rural family medicine. I realized I had much broader interests than just one specialty. My husband & I, were able to make our mutual dream come true - move to Colorado - where we spent the 4th year of med school. Colorado isn’t the beach but I have never felt more at home! The people, the scenery, & the endless opportunities for adventure! I am ecstatic to be part of St Mary’s team, working with a fantastic group of residents & faculty. My husband, David, & I, enjoy hiking, camping, biking, rafting, 4 wheeling, & snowboarding!
Joe Kanopsic, MD
University of Arkansas
I was born in the Great Smokey Mountains of E TN & after traveling the country for a few years my family settled in Hot Springs, Arkansas. College took me to the U of Arkansas - Fayetteville, where I earned a Bachelors in Biology. I married my high school sweet heart, Page, just before starting med school at U of Arkansas - Little Rock. I decided I wanted an education that would prepare me to practice medicine in any situation or environment. During this time I hiked 14,022, ft. Mount San Luis just south of Gunnison & fell in love with Colorado. I’m passionate about outdoor recreation & hope to incorporate aspects of wilderness, emergency, & rural medicine into my practice. St. Mary’s has a great balance of all of these & will prepare me for a rewarding career in Medicine. I enjoy woodworking, hunting, fly tying, fishing, & backpacking.
Kristy Puls, MD
University of Colorado
Emily Reinig, DO
I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. Then headed to the University of Portland for college where I became interested in social justice. I realized that I needed a wider world perspective. Upon graduation, my husband & I headed to rural Louisiana to teach. The two years we spent living & working in a small town there has forever shaped the way that I think about the world. I am passionate about the idea that change & growth must come from within a community, & I see my role as a primary care physician as someone who empowers her fellow community members by improving health through education & choices. I am thankful for my time at Touro University, which allowed for me to explore the intersection of health of body, mind & spirit, & underserved primary care, including the use of osteopathic manipulative medicine. In our free time, Zach & I love trail running, hiking, & camping with our dog, Jezebel. We are so excited to be moving to this beautiful place & becoming a part of this amazing community!
Danielle Trujillo, DO
Midwestern University Arizona
I grew up in Golden, in the gorgeous foothills of the Rocky Mountains & attended CU - Boulder: hiking the Flatirons, running trails, mountain biking, snowboarding & practicing yoga. I studied Integrative Physiology Neuroscience + worked in the Stress Physiology Lab. My research focused on the protective effects of exercise against the development of PTSD. I also earned a yoga teaching certification. Med school was in AZ at Midwestern University. My passion for family medicine became obvious during my pediatric rotation where I found myself wishing I could also counsel the parents on their health. I love that family medicine fosters relationships with the entire family, newborn to great-grandparents, with prevention & lifestyle interventions at the heart of every visit. It is my goal to inspire & teach every patient to live the healthiest life possible. Each time I came home, my appreciation for Colorado’s beauty & outdoor adventures grew. I’m thrilled to be back in beautiful Western Colorado!
Daniel Belatti, M.D.
University of Iowa
I grew up in Omaha, NE, but discovered my love for all varieties of outdoor pursuits in the Colorado Rockies. The son of the son of a doctor, I couldn't be more excited to hone my craft in such beautiful surroundings. I studied biology & business at Creighton University, & spent time studying economics at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. I received my M.D. from the University of Iowa, graduating with honors & distinction in research. My professional interests include sports medicine, medical economics, & office-based procedures. I enjoy spending my downtime exploring the American West with my wife, who is a registered nurse, & our black Lab.
Danyelle Fenner, M.D.
University of Minnesota
I grew up in Minnesota; completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, but returned for medical school at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. In my third year of med school, I completed a longitudinal rural rotation called RPAP in the small town of Ely, MN, (pop. 4000) nestled in the north woods near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It was in this beautiful setting that my interest in rural family practice bloomed I was able to indulge my love of outdoor and activities including canoeing, hiking, camping, cross-country skiing. I consider myself lucky to join the excellent family medicine residency program at St. Mary's to further my training in a wonderful area like Grand Junction! My other interests in medicine include preventive integrative health, and other recreational interests include cooking, reading, travel.
Rebecca Fulmer, M.D.
Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine
Growing up in South Carolina, I had relatively easy access to the beach & the mountains. I love anything outside, but my time at Clemson University solidified my love of both college football & the mountains. My desire to incorporate my extraverted personality with science took me to the beach to pursue medical school. During third year rotations, I found myself enjoying every rotation, however, I found my calling when I rotated through a family medicine clinic in the small town of Chester, SC (pop. 7100). Witnessing the relationships that develop through a lifetime of medical care fueled my desire to practice family medicine. I am excited to call Grand Junction my home & grow my medical & outdoorsy skills. When not in the hospital, I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee, horse back riding, hiking, & running.
Lisa Matelich, M.D.
University of Washington School of Medicine
I grew up in Vancouver, WA & have enjoyed traveling to many places around the region & around the world. I studied the History & Philosophy of Science at the University of Washington before spending a year doing health education at a community health center in southwest Washington. This was my first foray into speaking Spanish in a medical context. Again at UW for medical school, I discovered that my vision of what it meant to be a doctor fit in an uncanny way with the specialty of Family Medicine, in particular with the solid training in rural full spectrum family medicine at St. Mary's. Besides practicing medicine in a way that connects with patients serves those who are most vulnerable, I am passionate about running, hiking, cycling, backpacking, in general spending all the time outside that I can!
Anna Jones, M.D.
Creighton University School of Medicine
I grew up in the small town of Buena Vista, Colorado where my love for the great outdoors grew & my appreciation for community flourished. I followed my love of athletics to Colorado State Univ. (Go Rams!) where I majored in Health & Exercise Science & worked in a lab studying the effects of aging. Every summer found me back home guiding rafts down the Arkansas River. My sights were always set on medicine & attended Creighton University in Omaha NE, then their Regional Campus in Phoenix AZ for the last 2 years. I fell in love with full spectrum medicine the beauty of continuity of care. My medical interests are broad. I am beyond excited to be in Grand Junction with so many opportunities amongst wonderful co-residents and faculty. When not at work, you can find me in the great outdoors mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, laughing, with my partner in crime, Dr. David Stuart.
Justin McCarthy, M.D.
Creighton University School of Medicine
Baptized in Coors Banquet, I grew up playing soccer & adventuring 1-3 miles high. Just when it seemed like everyone was moving to Colorado, I took my leave & nestled down in the amber waves with the good people of Omaha, NE. I attended Creighton University for Undergrad and Medical School and have much to thank the Husker folk of Nebraska for: introducing me to my beautiful bride to be, Jesuit theology social teaching, & gravel riding. I picked St. Mary's after having the joy of spending a month here for a fourth year rotation. I felt at home amongst the faculty, residents, and gorgeous desert scapes. Rachel and I are so grateful for our new start nearer family on the side of the Rockies, surrounded by the color tranquility of the desert.
Rebecca Rueppel, M.D.
Sidney Kimmel Medical School College at Thomas Jefferson University
I was born and raised in St Louis, then went east for many yrs before landing in Grand Junction. After majoring in French & Linguistics at the Univ of Pennsylvania, I worked for several years in elementary education, pursued at Master's in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) at the Univ of Vermont, where I first got the bug for medicine. After full time SLP practice, I took the plunge & moved to Philadelphia to Bryn Mawr college, then Thomas Jefferson Medical College. From the first day of my family medicine rotation I new that I wanted to be a family physician with a focus on full spectrum, patient centered care. I am delighted to be continuing my medical training at St Mary's, to be closer to family, who all live out west. When I'm not studying or working, I enjoy snowshoeing, hiking, singing, hanging with my two kitties honing my post-apocalyptic survival skills in the form of knitting, sewing, gardening & cooking.
David Stuart, M.D.
Creighton University School of Medicine
Life began at the base of Colorado's Mountains in the town of Manitou Springs; a soulful community of artists, tourists, hippies, & folks who care a lot about each other. I'm a solver and followed my mind to the School of Mines in Chemical Biochemical Engineering. After a couple years as an engineer and rock climber, I refocused on my dream of becoming a physician at Creighton. For clinical rotations (better access to the great outdoors) I joined Creighton's Phoenix campus. Residency at St Mary's will allow me to continue pursuing my broad medical interests, and prepare me to guide the health of a community like the one in which I was raised. Within medicine I am passionate about connecting with patients, preventive medicine, healthcare quality policy. Outside, I live for rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and adoring Mother Nature with friends. Thrilled is an understatement for the opportunity to live and train in Western Colorado with my partner, the always inspiring Dr. Anna Jones.