NEWS | July 29, 2020

New nurse practitioner residents begin clinical rotations

UC Davis School of Nursing program expands health care capacity in shortage areas


The first group of nurse practitioner residents from a new advanced practice residency program at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis began clinical rotations this week.

The 11 health professionals are part of the Advanced Nurse Practitioner Primary care Residency in Addiction, Chronic care, Telehealth, Improvement science, Collaboration and Equity initiative (NP-PRACTICE). The goal of the program is to equip new primary care nurse practitioners to provide excellent services to patients in under-resourced areas through education and clinical rotations.

“This program will provide these nurse practitioner residents opportunities to advance their knowledge and skills in providing care to more complex patients and in underserved settings to people with who may have had poor access to care in the past,” said Debra Bakerjian, School of Nursing clinical professor and principal investigator. “Ultimately, this will enhance the N.P. profession and expand capacity in provider shortage areas.”

The program is funded by a $3.5 million grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to prepare the next generation of nurse practitioner leaders in primary care services by increasing their competency in managing clinical and social complexities as well as developing skills in practice transformation, quality improvement and population health. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who complete either master's or doctoral degree programs and advanced clinical training beyond their nursing prepartion.

The 11 nurse practitioner residents bring a rich diversity of experiences and perspectives to the various clinical settings at UC Davis Health and several Federally Qualified Health Centers, such as the Sacramento County Health Center, Western Sierra Medical Clinic, ONE Community Health, CommuniCare and Peach Tree Health. During the 12-month residency, nurse practitioner residents are trained to provide advanced patient care in under-resourced areas through education and clinical rotation experiences.

The 2020 nurse practitioner residents include:

Crystal Barajas: Barajas has eight years of experience as a registered nurse in family medicine, community health, serving the underserved, quality improvement and leadership. Her first rotation is at Peach Tree North Sacramento.

Alison Berkeyheiser: An adult gerontological nurse practitioner, Berkeyheiser promotes disease prevention within underserved communities. She has worked in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic learning Spanish to better meet the needs of Latinos who lack access to care. Her first rotation is at the Sacramento County Health Center.

Claudia Canturin: Canturin’s nursing practice focused on an acute neuro/vascular unit. As a nurse practitioner, she wants to specialize in family medicine to serve medically underserved communities. Her first rotation is at Western Sierra Medical Clinic in Grass Valley.

Sara Delao: Delao has almost eight years of nursing experience working in geriatric care, palliative and hospice care, as well as skin and wound care. Her first rotation is at the Family and Community Medicine Clinic at UC Davis Health and the Sacramento County Pediatrics Clinic.

Jaspreet Dhillon: Dhillon most recently worked as a family nurse practitioner at an internal medicine clinic and previously was an Advice Nurse. Her first rotation is at Peach Tree Linda in Yuba City.

Victoria Jackson: Jackson brings experience in cardiology and interests in preventive care, health care quality improvement and nursing education. She will work in a geriatrics clinic at UC Davis Health.

Alexandra Peck: Before earning her nurse practitioner license, Peck worked as a nurse at an aesthetic practice in Oakland, which served a diverse transgender population. She has also served patients in Southeast Asia, as well as on the front lines of the novel coronavirus pandemic in New York City. Her first rotation is at CommuniCare Salud Clinic in West Sacramento.

Jessamyn Phillips: Phillips’ experience working with diverse populations in acute care settings across the country led her to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice — Family Nurse Practitioner degree. Her first rotation is at ONE Community Health in downtown Sacramento.

Mary Spernoga: As a registered nurse for 13 years, Spernoga worked in diverse settings to increase access to health care for all. A new adult gerontological nurse practitioner, she will serve her first rotation in general Internal Medicine at UC Davis Health. 

Hannah Spero: Spero is an adult gerontological nurse practitioner with interests in geriatrics and palliative care. Most recently, during her nursing career, she served as a Fuld Palliative Care Fellow at Emory University and a VA Nursing Academic Partnership Scholar at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. She will be working in a geriatrics clinic at UC Davis Health. She also joined the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing as a clinician educator.

Swe Tun: Tun is a family nurse practitioner, who previously worked as a nurse in primary care, school health and student health. She is interested in providing primary care to the immigrant and underserved community. Tun will serve her first rotation in the Telehealth Clinic at UC Davis Health and the Sacramento County Pediatrics Clinic.

A recent report by the California Future Health Workforce Commission called for increasing the number of health workers by more than 47,000 people and the supply of health professionals who come from and train in rural and other underserved communities. The UC Davis Health service area includes 33 mostly rural counties with 6.1 million ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse residents. This initiative addresses goals of UC Davis Health ultimately to reduce care disparities and work with others to form partnerships that solve underserved patients’ underlying care issues.

Applications for the 2021 cohort open October 2021. For details about the resident program and application requirements, visit residency program webpage or view an overview video. For more information on the School of Nursing and its programs, visit

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis transforms health care through interprofessional nursing education and research. Established in 2009 through a $100 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the school offers five graduate areas of study, including doctoral and master’s-degree programs in nursing science and health-care leadership and master’s-degree programs for pre-licensure nurses, family nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit