Jessie Pettit, MD, IBCLC, Assistant Professor

What do you do at FCM?
I’m the residency program director at the Alvernon Family Medicine Residency. I supervise residents in their continuity clinics and on the maternal child health service. I have a loyal following of patients that I continue to see at Banner – University Medicine Family Medicine Clinic at Alvernon. I’m a lactation consultant, so bring that aspect to my clinical practice and teaching, and have been thrilled to have our Banner lactation consultants recently referring into our lactation clinic.
What is one of the most meaningful aspects of your work?
One of the most meaningful aspects of my work is helping my residents grow during their time with us. I view my role as facilitative, matching residents up with opportunities that fit their passions and help them develop their skills. Their grants, scholarships, and scholarly presentations are a great reflection of their skills. I like to think that my eye for a good match and amazing letters of recommendation play a tiny role in the process!
What got you interested in family medicine?
My interest in family medicine grew out of a love of maternal child health. I completed the integrative medicine fellowship after having my first child. Those tough early weeks showed me how little we learn about breastfeeding and lactation in medical school and residency, and my mentor urged me to apply for a grant to start a breastfeeding clinic. I love being able to unite the realms on our maternal child health service and in the clinic—caring for moms, babies and their families in a holistic way that supports ideal feeding practices from the start.

What do you like to do in your free time?
For the past five years, my mornings have begun with 5:30 am CrossFit class. It’s great to start the day feeling accomplished, and I’ve been working out with the same people for the past five-and-a-half years. I love cooking, reading, gardening, and still attend yoga a few times per month when not laughing with my two kids and husband.


We are pleased to welcome Uma Nair, PhD, assistant professor, to FCM! We are so happy she has joined our department. As a cancer control and prevention researcher, with an emphasis on nicotine dependence and treatment, Dr. Nair's research focuses on developing evidence-based interventions for health promotion. Prior to joining FCM, she was the assistant director for the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Dr. Nair has a master's degree in clinical psychology and exercise and sport sciences. Her PhD is in kinesiology from Temple University (Philadelphia), and she completed a post-doctoral training at Temple University’s College of Public Health. 


Ronald Sorensen Joins FCM as Executive Director of Community Engagement  

Ronald Sorensen, MS, MA, has joined FCM as executive director of community engagement.
He will provide leadership, strategic direction and executive administrative support to the department’s community outreach programs and activities.
As a member of the department’s executive leadership team, Ron will help build and support effective relationships with internal and external stakeholders and collaborate with the leadership team to ensure optimal operations and strategic positioning of FCM’s outreach programs.
“We are thrilled that Ron has joined our team,” said Myra Muramoto, MD, MPH, FCM professor and chair. “With his impressive work history and expertise, I am confident he will take our department to the next level in community engagement.”

Ron previously was the director of community health partnerships at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., where he was responsible for starting an outreach program to serve homeless patients, developing a faith-community nursing program and started a community health worker/promoter program. He also brought area hospitals together to collaborate on a community health needs assessment and to address priority health needs within the service area. Read announcement
Allison Lange (Mondichuk) Begins in New Position as Senior Administrator, Primary Care Services

Welcome to Allison Lange (Mondichuk), who started on Oct. 28 in a new position—senior administrator, primary care services. This position was created to provide leadership for Banner's primary care service line, which includes FCM's clinical enterprise. This position takes the place of the department's administrator. Allison has 11 years of progressive experience in academic health care, with a focus on operational administration, project management and analytical reporting. She most recently served as the strategic analytics lead for the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Office of the Dean. Welcome, Allison!


Banner – University Medicine Invests in Tucson

Banner – University Medicine shared their 2018 Tucson Community Impact summary, and it's quite inspiring to see all of the areas where they have invested in our community. Thank you, Banner – University Medicine!
Dr. Kyle Meehan, COM – Tucson, 2019 Clinical Excellence Awardee

Congratulations to Elizabeth Kyle Meehan, MD, assistant professor, who was one of ten physicians awarded the 2019 Clinical Excellence Award by the College of Medicine – Tucson, that recognizes exceptional faculty members who exceed all standards of clinical excellence and inspire fellow peers on how to serve and care for patients. Nominees were evaluated for their consistency in delivering exceptional clinical care, outstanding ability to assist and share expertise with colleagues, encouragement of medical students and residents to express ideas and ask questions, and use of innovative methods to assure positive clinical outcomes.
Anne Ryan and Dr. Jessie Pettit Present about Medical-Legal Partnerships at Children's Health Fund Conference

Anne Ryan, JD, director of Tucson Family Advocacy Program (TFAP) and Jessie Pettit, MD, medical director of TFAP, presented at the Children's Health Fund conference in Phoenix, on medical-legal partnerships as a way to better meet patients' needs and promote health equity. TFAP invited Wendy Ascher, JD, of Southern Arizona Legal Aid who has started a medical legal partnership at El Rio, to highlight various models of medical-legal partnerships.
Dr. Lynne Tomasa Presents at Autism and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Resource Conference

Lynne Tomasa, PhD, MSW, assistant professor, presented "Our Future: Planning for an Inclusive Lifestyle" at the 2019 Autism and I/DD Resource Conference: Advancing Compassionate Care Through Collaboration on Oct 19 in Phoenix. The conference is sponsored by the Arizona Autism Coalition and The Arc Arizona.


Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Faculty Participate in Labor and Delivery Baby Shower Event

Banner – Women and Infant Services hosted a Labor & Delivery Baby Shower Event for Banner employees to learn more about the clinical services for women and newborns. The event included tours of the new labor and delivery unit on the 5th floor of the new Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. FCM's MCH faculty Krista Sunderman, MD, assistant professor, Shana Semmens, MD, assistant professor, and Colleen Cagno, MD, associate professor, and faculty from pediatrics and obstetrics, provided information about clinical services and encouraged members of the Banner community to keep their care within the Banner system.


GRAND ROUNDS: Marijuana Use in Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women

Alicia Allen, PhD, MPH, assistant professor, and Jessie Pettit, MD, IBCLC, assistant professor and program director of the Alvernon Family Medicine Residency program, discussed the latest statistics on the prevalence of use of marijuana, recommendations for screening for use and known health effects in pregnant and breastfeeding women. They highlighted new and publicly available resources and shared applicable case studies. View their presentation

MMI Opportunities for Faculty to Help Select Class of 2024

For FCM faculty interested in participating in the selection of the class of 2024 physicians, Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) will be held on the upcoming dates/times in January and February: Jan 10, 17, 25, 31; Feb 7, 14, 21. Session 1 is from 7:20 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. and Session 2 is from 9:30 a.m.- noon. Please email Megan Sorenson at to schedule.

Unlike traditional tools such as the MCAT or GPA, the MMI is designed to measure abilities such as communication skills, professionalism and ethical decision making, all important characteristics in physicians. In addition, research has shown it is a good predictor of future clinical performance among medical students. MMI can also be a more fair and just process for applicants, who will be rated by nine interviewers instead of just one or two. This can help minimize potential compatibility issues and unconscious bias that may be present in a traditional interview scoring system. Pictured here from left: Drs. Carol Galper, Karen Lutrick, Karyn Kolman, Myra Muramoto.

Team-Building 'On the Ropes': Alvernon Residency Faculty Mini-Retreat

The Alvernon Family Medicine Residency faculty held its annual October mini-retreat at the Pima 4-H High Ropes Course, while residents took their in-training exams. Taiwona Elliott, DO, clinical assistant professor, and Ravi Grivois-Shah, MD, MPH, MBA, clinical associate professor,  presented on applications of the Alvernon clinic's transgender care protocols to patient cases. Mari Ricker, MD, associate professor, presented, “The Graceful Art of Self-Promotion.” Faculty then completed the high ropes course. Thankfully, no injuries, lots of adrenaline, and a tightly bonded team emerged!
Dr. Patricia Wu and Lauren Wright Participate in 'Pathways to Success' Event

On Oct. 16, South Campus Residency's, Patricia Wu, MD, 3rd-year resident, and Lauren Wright, residency program coordinator, participated in the College of Medicine – Tucson's "Pathways to Success" health career event. The event introduces high school students to potential careers in the health care field.
Photo: Patricia Wu demonstrates a delivery simulation with "Mama Natalie."
Alvernon Residency Hosts University of Cincinnati Program to Share Best Practices

The Alvernon Family Medicine Residency program hosted The Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati Family Medicine Residency program, to share best practices on resident scheduling. Nicolette Barbour, MD, 2nd-year resident (and University of Cincinnati alumnae), was integral in connecting the leadership of both programs, where they met two years ago, through the Clinic First Collaborative. Kelsey Gender, program manager, coordinated the full-day site visit, which included discussions with residents, clinic staff, faculty, clinic and residency leadership.


Susan Voiral Represents Sonoran UCEDD at Civil Rights Briefing

On Oct 18, Susan Voirol, MSW, program manager, Sonoran UCEDD, represented the Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities at a briefing hosted by the Arizona Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the topic of sub-minimum wages for disabled persons. The briefing was held in Phoenix at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and was conducted to view perspectives on the topic of sub-minimum wages under Section 14(c) certificate program, analysis of its efficacy or impact in the state, and any recommendations for changes to the law.
ArtWorks’ Artists Participate in the Flinn Foundation Buffmire Lecture

ArtWorks artists participated in the Flinn Foundation Buffmire Lecture "Evening Reception" at the Health Sciences Innovation Building (HSIB) on Oct 29. Historically, the fall Buffmire lecture focuses on medical humanities, and they were invited to showcase their art and collaborative art projects. ArtWorks artists had a great time interacting with community participants, medical students and health science professionals.


'Take Charge Diabetes Mellitus’ Study Recruiting Research Volunteers

The research study, “Take Charge Diabetes Mellitus,” led by Susan Schembre, PhD, RD, associate professor, is recruiting adults with Type 2 diabetes to participate in a study involving diabetes management and blood sugar control. The study will pilot test an evidence-based weight-control program called “Hunger Training.” Hunger Training teaches people to eat according to their blood sugar levels, which will be facilitated by the use of continuous glucose monitors (CGM). To learn more about the study, or enroll, please contact Kari Maranokkoerner@arizona.edu626-9274.


Sean Maiolo, MD, 2nd-Year Resident, South Campus Family Medicine Residency Program

Why did you choose South Campus Family Medicine Residency?: I chose the South Campus program to be part of the inspirational culture focused on providing cooperative, holistic, and full-spectrum care throughout our underserved, rural, and global communities.
What do you like most about Tucson?: I like the sunrises and sunsets over the mountains.
Tell us about your family (including pets.): My immediate family consists of my mother, father, and two younger brothers.
Tell us some fun facts about yourself:
1: I love to cook and explore new cuisines.
2: I recently learned to scuba dive.
3: I’ve traveled to 17 countries.
Shohei "Sho" Shima, DO, 3rd-Year Resident, Alvernon Family Medicine Residency Program

Where are you from?: Aiea, HI
Why did you choose Alvernon Family Medicine Residency?: I chose the Alvernon program because of the warm and supportive people and atmosphere I experienced on interview day. Also, the weather and the hiking reminds me of Hawaii. The diversity of people and cultures here in Tucson are also absolutely wonderful.
What is your favorite thing about living in Tucson?: My favorite things are the awesome hiking scene and the "winter" season.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of medicine?: Hiking, craft beer, Phillies baseball, live music, travel, trying different cuisines
What are your professional interests within medicine?: Veterans health and homeless medicine
Favorite way to spend a day off?: Getting lost at Sabino Canyon
Favorite restaurant in Tucson?: Calle Tepa
Favorite outdoor activity in Arizona?: Seven Falls


Brian Abbott, started on Nov. 18 with the Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities, as a work-based learning specialist. Brian earned his bachelor's degree from the UA in political science and history and earned a master's degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. He enjoys restoring and judging classic Corvettes, riding motorcycles, reading historical and political books, swimming, martial arts, playing musical instruments, hiking, traveling, meditating and cooking. He also enjoys time with his family and pets. Welcome, Brian!



Ivo Abraham, PhD Alicia M. Allen, PhD, MPH Julie S. Armin, PhD Francine C. Gachupin, PhD, MPH Uma S. Nair, PhD Myra L. Muramoto, MD, MPH Susan Marie Schembre, PhD, RD

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UA Department of Family and Community Medicine · 655 N. Alvernon Way, Ste. 228 · Tucson, AZ 85711 · USA

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