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The Department of Neurosurgery is supported by a dedicated team of nurse practitioners and physician assistants who provide information, education and care for patients and their families before, during and after surgery.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital: Inpatient Neurosurgery
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center: Inpatient Neurosurgery
Cerebrospinal Fluid Disorders
Peripheral Nerve Surgery
Kathy Gauthier, PA-C
Kathy Gauthier joined Johns Hopkins' Neurosurgery department as a physician assistant in 2015. Ms. Gauthier earned her PA certification through Anne Arundel Community College and a master's degree in medical sciences at St. Francis University. That followed an extensive career in the U.S. Air Force, much of it spent living, working, and studying abroad. She is proficient in Spanish and French, and active with her church's sister parish in Haiti and its "feed and educate" ministry. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Olmsted Foundation, a non-profit promoting globally focused military leaders.
Katherine (Katie) Jones, MMS, PA-C
Katherine Jones, MMS, PA-C, earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise science at McDaniel College and her master’s degree at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ms. Jones was first hired by Allegheny Health Network as a outpatient neurosurgical PA, then later transferred to Sinai Hospital to become an inpatient neuroscience PA. She started at Johns Hopkins in 2017.
Julianna (Julie) McCracken, PA-C
Julie McCracken, PA-C, is a physician assistant in the Department of Neurosurgery. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at College of the Holy Cross and a master’s of health science in physician assistant studies at Duke University. She joined Johns Hopkins in 2017.
Miraj Patel, PA-C
Miraj Patel is from Calhoun, GA and earned his bachelor's degree in biology at Dalton State College. He then went to Lincoln Memorial College DeBusk college of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, TN for his masters in medical science. He joined Johns Hopkins in October, 2017.
Jesse Sgaglione, PA-C
Jesse was born and raised on Long Island, New York. He earned a degree in movement and sport science from Springfield College and afterward completed prerequisite courses while working as a rehabilitation aide for the Northwell Health System of NY. From there he moved to Boston for the PA program of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS) University, earning a master's degree in physician assistant studies. He joined Johns Hopkins in the fall of 2017.
Karen Streelman, PA-C
Karen Streelman PA-C earned a masters of science in health science (MSHS) and physician assistant certification from George Washington University in 2002. She came to Johns Hopkins’ inpatient neurosurgery team in 2017 with 10 years of neuroscience experience. Karen is originally from Michigan but has made Maryland her home since 1992.
Jared Abay, PA-C
Jared Abay, MS, PA-C, is a senior physician assistant in the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview. He earned an undergraduate degree at George Washington University, where he also completed physician assistant training. Mr. Abay also earned a master of science with emphasis in neurosurgery at the University of Nebraska and completed a physician assistant surgical residency program at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.
Andrea Blaine, MPAS, PA-C
Andrea Blaine, MPAS, PA-C, is a physician assistant in the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
Jesse Bortell, MPAS, PA-C
Jesse Bortell, MPAS, PA-C, joined the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center as a physician assistant in 2017. After being honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corp., he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Towson University, followed by a master’s in physician assistant studies at Chatham University.
Helen Kindelan, MMS, PA-C
Helen Kindelan, MMS, PA-C, is a physician assistant in the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. After earning a bachelor's degree in biology at Barry University in Miami, Florida, she went on to complete a joint degree program at Miami Dade College and Saint Francis University, earning a degree in physician assistant studies and a master's in medical science.
Jill Anderson, PA-C
Jill Anderson, MS, PA-C, is the Neurosurgery Physician Assistant Manager and a Senior Physician Assistant in the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Physician Assistant studies from Saint Francis University in 1999, and proceeded to earn a master’s degree in physician assistant studies with emphasis in neurosurgery at The University of Nebraska. Jill has been working in neurosurgery since 2004, and joined the Johns Hopkins team in 2008. She works directly with Dr. Henry Brem, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital with a specialty in brain tumors. She was awarded the Miller-Coulson Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant Clinical Excellence Award in 2016.
Lacie Manthripragada, PA-C
Lacie Manthripragada is a nationally certified physician assistant specializing in neurosurgery. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, College Park and her masters of health sciences degree at Towson University. After working in general neurosurgery at University of Maryland’s Midtown Campus, Ms. Manthripragada joined Johns Hopkins in 2015, where she works with the Cerebral Fluid Center, treating adult hydrocephalus, pseudotumor cerebri, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks, Chiari malformations and various other CSF disorders. Ms. Manthripragada is a past student representative for the Board of the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants and is a current member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Association of Neurosurgical Physician Assistants. She is a member of the Pi Alpha Physician Assistant honor society.
Richard Szymanski, PA-C
Richard Szymanksi graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus and was certified through the Essex Physician Assistant program. Mr. Szymanski joined the department of Neurosurgery at Francis Scott Key Medical Center in 1981; the hospital became Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center four years later. He currently works with Drs. Judy Huang and Rafael Tamargo on surgical management of cerebrovascular conditions.
These advanced practitioners work with Drs. Al Cohen, Dody Robinson, Eric Jackson and Mari Groves, concentrating on all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery, including brain tumors, spinal cord tumors, hydrocephalus, spina bifida, Chiari malformation, syringomyelia, tethered cord, craniosynostosis, arachnoid cysts, moyamoya, vascular malformations, spasticity, encephalocele, epilepsy surgery, spine deformity and achondroplasia.
Stephanie Berry, PA-C
Stephanie Berry earned her bachelor's degree at Johns Hopkins and a master's degree in health science at George Washington University where she also earned her physician assistant certification. She joined the staff of Johns Hopkins in 2009. She speaks French and Spanish in addition to English.
Judy Gates, PA-C
Judy Gates was in the first graduating class of Alderson-Broaddus University’s physician assistant degree program, the first of its kind, in 1972. She was the first P.A. hired at New York City's Mt. Sinai Hospital, where she worked in general surgery, followed by a short time in the hospitals department of OB/GYN-Infertility. Ms. Gates then spent 15 years working for Baylor College of Medicine in community medicine, with patients ranging in age from newborn to 101 years old. As her career evolved, Ms. Gates concentrated in prenatal care and pediatrics. She moved back east and was hired to work in correctional medicine; after six months she was promoted to Chief PA at the Baltimore City Jail where she supervised a team of 28, including 16 PAs. With her help, the jail was medically accredited for the first time in 18 years. From there, in 1992, Ms. Gates joined Johns Hopkins where she is now the senior physician assistant in the Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery.
Kelly Hartnett, PA-C
Kelly Hartnett attended Duquesne University both for undergrad and graduate school. She earned a bachelor’s degree in health science and a master’s degree in physician assistant studies. Ms. Hartnett joined Johns Hopkins in 2015 starting in the adult inpatient neurosurgery team, after which she transitioned to pediatric neurosurgery in 2015.
Heather Kerber, PA-C
Heather Kerber earned her bachelor's degree in biological sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and her master's degree in medical sciences at St. Francis University. She received her physician assistant certification through Anne Arundel Community College's physician assistant program.
Leslie Morgan, NP, CRNP
Leslie Morgan is a nurse practitioner in the Peripheral Nerve Center within the Department of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Mrs. Morgan joined the John Hopkins team as a registered nurse in the inpatient unit of the Department of Neurosciences in 2007 and began her work with Dr. Allan J. Belzberg as a nurse practitioner in 2012. Mrs. Morgan currently works in pre- and post-neurosurgical care and actively participates in research with nerve sheath tumor disorders. Her areas of expertise include nerve tumors, nerve injuries, nerve compressions, cervical spine disorders, and lumbar spine disorders. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a bachelor's degree in nursing in 2007 and a master's degree in nursing in 2011, she is accredited and certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is a member of the American Nursing Association (ANA). As a former Peace Corp volunteer who served in Peru for 2 years providing health education to underserved residents, she is bilingual in Spanish.
Laura Blanchfield, NP, CRNP
Laura Blanchfield earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at LaSalle University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the University of Maryland where she also earned her MSN and CRNP. Ms. Blanchfield joined Johns Hopkins as an NCCU nurse and worked in that capacity from 1992 through 1997. She worked as a nurse practitioner in neurosurgery from 2000 to 2002 and began working at the Neurosurgery Spine Center in 2002. As of July 2016 she has joined Dr. Ali Bydon’s neurosurgical spine team, providing both medical care and education for patients in the preoperative and postoperative outpatient setting.
Alex Minda Zhu, PA-C
Alex Minda Zhu completed his bachelor's degree at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, where he majored in cell biology and neuroscience. Mr. Zhu earned his master's degree in medical science at Arcadia University, after which he joined the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center's neurosurgery team in 2016. In 2017, he transitioned and became a part of Dr. Nicholas Theodore's spine team. He is involved in all aspects of patient care including surgery, and participates in clinical research projects. His current interests include degenerative spine diseases, spinal deformity, neurotrauma, and spinal oncology.
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