Organizational Unit: Medical Providers

Denise Plaisier, PA-C

My journey with Unity Care Northwest began in October 2020, and is an opportunity for which I’m grateful.  One of the many aspects I appreciate about community health such as UCNW is the diversity and inclusiveness characteristic of this setting.  It means so much to me to be able to express my skills and personality in a place where everyone is welcome and treated with respect and compassion.

Though new to UCNW, I am not new to this type of work.  My husband and I moved here from Michigan in 2003 when I began working as a primary care provider at Sea Mar Community Health Centers for 10 years and then on a nearby Indian reservation for 6 years.  Besides being a healthcare practitioner, other joys in my life include hiking, yoga, cooking, attending retreats for spiritual and personal growth with friends, doing video chats with my godson and spending meaningful time with my husband.  I enjoy an active, well-balanced life of work and play.

 

Gabrielle Worzella, DO

I received my BS in Biological Sciences, with a minor in Nutrition and Food Sciences, from the University of Vermont.  I received my DO degree from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA.  During my residency at Middlesex Hospital Family Medicine, I also completed a fellowship in Integrative Medicine through the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.  I worked as a Hospitalist at Middlesex, then worked in Urgent Care and Family Medicine at Virginia Mason in Seattle.

I like hiking with my dog, camping, going to the beach, traveling, and gardening.

I see all ages with interests in women’s health and sports medicine. I incorporate Integrative Medicine as well as Osteopathic Principles and treatment based on patient interest and need.  I enjoy making lifelong connections with patients and helping them live their healthiest life!

Muriel Handschy, ARNP

I first came to Unity Care NW (formerly Interfaith Community Health Center) in 1991 as a nurse practitioner student.  After I graduated in 1992 from the University of Washington with my Masters of Nursing, I came back to Unity Care NW and was the third provider employed by the health center.  I previously served as co-Medical Director and Quality Improvement Coordinator at UCNW. I also have experience working at an STD testing and treatment clinic and a Well Child clinic.

Lisa Benjamin, ARNP

I joined UCNW in July 2020. I am excited to work in community health with a team that is committed to providing high quality, accessible, and affordable health care to our community. Building relationships with patients is important to me, and my goal is to empower patients to be the healthiest they can be. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of British Columbia, and more recently, a Master of Science in Nursing from Frontier Nursing University, specializing in family practice.  I am a long-time Bellingham resident and previously practiced in a variety of settings with Peacehealth over the past 21 years.

Susan Kranzpiller, MD

I joined Unity Care NW in May 2020.

I started my career as a Registered Nurse in both the USA and Germany before and while attending medical school. I received my MD degree at Ruprecht-Karls-Universitate in Heidelberg, Germany, then completed my Family Practice residency at Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, WA. Since then I’ve worked in Family Practice roles in Washington, Oregon and California. My last position was at PeaceHealth in Bellingham, at the Same Day Care Clinic and the Family Practice clinic.

I enjoy working in community health because it provides the opportunity to fulfill my commitment and passion for health care for all patients.

Elisabeth Gehringer, DO

I started working at Unity Care NW in August of 2019.

I received my BS in biology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.  I received my DO degree from the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences-College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed my residency at the University of Wyoming Family Medicine program in Cheyenne.  I moved back to the Bellingham area to be near Skagit County, where I grew up.

I am board certified in Family Medicine and have special interests in osteopathic manipulation and women’s health.

I like working in community health because I enjoy working as a team to provide comprehensive, high-level care to families.

Sharon Junge, MD

I started working at Unity Care NW in November 2018, and specialize in Family Medicine.

I graduated from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and did my family medicine residency in Carbondale, Illinois.    I have worked for non-profit clinics in several states and in Australia as well as doing volunteer work overseas in St. Lucia, Brazil, and Tanzania.   I have taught with the University of Illinois, the University of Washington and the University of Dodoma.

I love working at a clinic that does not limit who can be seen and also goes the extra mile to help patients with many of the problems that affect health.

Eleanor Walker, ARNP

I joined Unity Care NW in June of 2018.  I received my MSN from the University of California with a focus on Family Practice that included HIV care.  My first job as an ARNP was as an HIV Clinician Consultant with the Clinician Consultation Center at the University of California where I provided clinical consultation through a national CDC-funded hotline on management of HIV, HBV, HCV exposure management & Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high risk patients.  Following that, I moved to Washington and worked almost 3 years as a Family Nurse Practitioner at Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic’s Miramar Health Center in Pasco, providing primary care services to all ages.

What I like about working in Community Health is being part of a larger community working towards the greater good, and also getting to work with diverse and interesting people and patients.

Jessie Wynne, ARNP

I earned my BS in Biology at Western Washington University and my MSN from the University of San Diego.  I came to Unity Care NW in 2012 as a Family Nurse Practitioner with experience in pediatrics and providing primary care to underserved populations and I currently work at our Ferndale location.  I have worked extensively with diverse populations, including mentally ill and homeless patients. Before joining UCNW, I worked at Yakima Neighborhood Health Services.

Kate Wojnicki, ARNP

I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and an HIV Specialist.  I joined Unity Care Northwest in 2014 as an opportunity to return home and serve the community I spent much of my childhood growing up in.  I hold a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Washington.  I spent 6 years working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University of Washington before earning my Masters of Science in Nursing/ Nurse Practitioner degree from Seattle Pacific University .  After spending time in the NICU and volunteering in Uganda, it became my personal belief that access to high quality primary care for all persons was the answer to many problems we see in medicine.   At that time I chose to complete a Community Health Residency in Tacoma, Washington with a focus on caring for persons living with HIV.  I earned my HIV credential through the American Academy of HIV Medicine in 2016.   I enjoy working with people of all ages and in all stages of life to promote health and well being.