Training Opportunities

Minimally Invasive Surgery

LVMIS-WPHC is the West’s preeminent resource for surgeons seeking proficiency with advanced minimally invasive techniques.

Surgeons from around the world travel to the LVMIS-WPHC training facilities at Centennial Hills Hospital in Las Vegas in order to discover the latest innovations in this rapidly growing discipline.

Instruction is led by Dr. K Warren Volker and his staff. All curricula adhere to rigorous standards of excellence.

Training typically takes the form of intensive multi-day sessions involving both lectures and hands-on instruction. All classes are lead by professionals who are worldwide leaders in minimally invasive techniques.

For more information please contact:

Sophia Grubbs
Director of Provider Relations & Medical Education
9260 Sunset Road, Suite 100
Las Vegas, NV 89148
P: (702) 255-3547

Training Opportunities

Resident Education

Minimally invasive surgery is a relatively new field of surgery, with rapid and continuing technological advances and the emergence of a new generation of MIS surgeons. The goal of this rotation is for the resident to understand that achieving and maintaining excellence in surgery is a continuing lifelong endeavor, requiring adaption to new and changing technology, and continued practice and training.

Harbor-UCLA Residency Program

Third- and fourth-year residents from Harbor-UCLA rotate through the LVMIS and Women’s Pelvic Health Center program for five weeks. This immersion program is designed to advance gynecology training in minimally invasive surgery by participating in the one-on-one mentorship program with master laparoscopists specially trained in MIS gynecology surgery under the direction of Dr. K. Warren Volker.

University of Nevada School of Medicine Residency Program

Third and Fourth year Residents from the University of Nevada School of Medicine rotate through the LVMIS Minimally Invasive and Women’s Pelvic Health Center Program for 4 weeks. This program is designed to advance gynecology training in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) by participating in one-on-one mentorship program with “master laparoscopists” specially trained in MIS gynecology surgery under the direction of Dr. K. Warren Volker.

Visiting Residents

Fourth-year residents from select residency programs rotate through the LVMIS and Women’s Pelvic Health Center program (rotation time may vary). These individuals are expected to have an interest in future fellowship training. Visiting residents are trained on specific minimally invasive surgeries, on a case-by-case basis. Assessment of surgical skill level is assessed at the beginning of the rotation. Deficits are identified and corrected during their time at LVMIS-WPHC. Residents will participate in a one-on-one mentorship with master laparoscopists specially trained in advanced MIS surgical techniques under the direction of Dr. K. Warren Volker.

MIS gynecology surgery under the direction of Dr. K. Warren Volker.

Fellowship

2-Year FMIGS AAGL Fellowship

Two Year Post-Graduate Fellowship

Nestled in the one of the nation's most dynamic cities, the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (MIGS) Fellowship Program at Las Vegas Minimally Invasive Surgery (LVMIS) is attracting international attention. Our program specializes in the latest minimally invasive surgical and non-surgical treatments for gynecologic and uro-gynecologic issues. Each faculty member of LVMIS has specialized skills that contribute to the overall fellowship learning experience, including vaginal surgery, traditional laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, pelvic reconstruction, and robotics, as well as minimally invasive office-based procedures. Through strategic collaboration with WellHealth Women's Specialty Care, residency programs including Harbor-UCLA and University of Nevada School of Medicine and local hospitals, our fellows are also able to operate with local expert surgeons in multiple disciplines, with the latest and greatest technology, in the most cutting-edge surgical suites. Additionally, through referrals to the Women's Pelvic Health Center, which generates an average of 5,000 surgeries on an annual basis, the LVMIS fellowship program is able to offer fellows a high volume and variety of cases.

Warren Volker, MD, PhD, FACOG, is the director of the LVMIS fellowship. He currently serves as managing partner of WellHealth Women's Specialty Care, CEO of WellHealth, assistant professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM) and Harbor-UCLA, president and medical director of Volker Medical Research Foundation, chief of staff at Centennial Hills Hospital, and the director of the minimally invasive surgery program at Southern Hills Medical Center. Dr. Volker is internationally recognized for his contributions to minimally invasive surgery in women's health and has a proven record of professional surgical education for post-graduate GYN surgeons for more than 12 years.

Joy Brotherton, MD, FACOG, is the associate director of minimally invasive surgery in obstetrics and gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. She completed a MIGS fellowship under Steve McCarus in Orlando, and completed her residency at Stamford Hospital/Columbia University in Connecticut. She serves as faculty during our fellows' off-site rotations at Harbor-UCLA, and has a special interest in clinical research for underserved populations.

Melissa Gutierrez, MD, FACOG, is the assistant fellowship director, as well as the assistant clinical director of LVMIS Women's Pelvic Health Center, and a former MIGS fellow at LVMIS. Dr. Gutierrez received her medical degree from Boston University, and then completed her residency at St. Joseph's Hospital and Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix. Dr. Gutierrez is an expert in traditional laparoscopy and robotic surgery, as well as pelvic reconstructive surgery. She is passionate about improving women's health care through advanced MIS training of fellows and residents. She has a special interest in international health, and has been involved in various medical mission trips in Guatemala and Peru.

Jasmine Pedroso, MD MPH, FACOG, serves as assistant fellowship director and is a graduate of the LVMIS fellowship program. After completing her master's degree at the Harvard School of Public Health, she attended medical school at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and then completed her residency training at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Pedroso has a special interest in minimally invasive, cosmetic and fertility-preserving approaches to chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, female sexual dysfunction, incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. She is also especially passionate about increasing access to minimally invasive surgery for the underserved and patient and fellow education, both nationally and internationally.

Graduates from the LVMIS program will have the confidence and skills to perform advanced pelvic surgery, as well as the knowledge and preparation for the ever-changing business side of medicine. As a physician with the WellHealth Quality Care, the state's largest accountable care network, our fellows learn about the nuances of running a private practice, hospital administration, entrepreneurship and furthermore become involved in community outreach and patient advocacy. Interested fellows even have the opportunity to pursue an MBA through a special executive program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas during their fellowship. Whether our fellows choose to practice in an academic, hospital-based, large private group, or start his/her own MIS practice, LVMIS will provide the tools necessary to become not only a highly skilled surgeon, but also a genuine trailblazer in the field of women's health.

To apply for the LVMIS fellowship, candidates must have completed a four-year residency program and be in good standing with an accredited facility to apply.

Fellowship

AAGL Observership Program

LVMIS holds host to a highly sought-after observership program. Physicians get the opportunity to observe minimally invasive gynecologic surgery by master surgeons and in highly specialized practices. This program is designed for physicians who are currently experienced in minimally invasive surgery, committed to advancing their surgical techniques and increasing their skills to a higher level of performance. To apply, you must be in good standing with a current medical license.

For More Information, please see below:

  1. AAGL Observership Program information
  2. AAGL Fellowship information

FAQ

What is the purpose of the observership Program?

The AAGL board of trustees has established short, observational, educational programs for physicians who wish to observe the clinical practice and operative care of recognized leaders in gynecological surgery and minimally invasive gynecologic care.

Is there documentation of the observership program?

With the permission of the program director, a certificate of attendance may be provided by the AAGL office to participants.

What is AAGL's Administrative Responsibility?

The AAGL office will accept the observer's application and confirm to them the availability of a site. In tho way the Preceptor is insulated from declining an applicant.

What are the host preceptor's responsibilities?

The AAGL office only confirms the match once the preceptor has accepted the applicant as an observer in the program. Following the match, the preceptor will communicate all pertinent information to the applicant.

Is there funding available?

Funding is not available for either the observer or the host preceptor.

How do I apply?

You must go through an application process via the AAGL Observership Program website.

Fellowship

Faculty

LVMIS Fellowship Faculty

  • K. Warren Volker, MD, PhD
  • Melissa Gutierrez, MD
  • Jasmine Pedroso, MD, MPH
  • Tammy Kelly, MD
  • Erica Stockwell, DO, MBA
  • Yarini Quezada, MD
  • R. Marcus Vennart, MD
  • Sonia Ceballos, MD
  • Sheila Tack, MS, FNP

Subspecialty Faculty

Urogynecology:

  • Lance Betson, DO (Harbor-UCLA Campus)

Gyn Oncology:

  • Lynn Kowalski, MD, FACOG (Robotics)

Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility:

  • Said Daneshmond, MD
  • Bruce Shapiro, MD

Urology:

  • Mike Verni, MD

General Surgery- Minimally Invasive Surgery:

  • Sean Tsuda, MD, General and Bariatrics
  • Pankaj Bhatnager, MD, General Surgery

Oncology Surgery:

  • Dan Kirgan, MD, Oncology and Breast Surgery

Colorectol Surgery:

  • Leslie Browder, MD

Visiting Faculty:

  • Steven McCarus, MD
  • Joy Brotherton, MD
  • Andrew Brill, MD
  • Mickey Karram, MD
Fellowship

Current & Graduated Fellows

Current MIS Fellows

Senior Fellow – Dr. Jessica Sisto

Originally from California, Dr. Jessica Sisto has traveled all around the world completing her education. She received her undergraduate degree from Pitzer College, and obtained her master's degree at Drexel University.

While completing her medical training at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, she spent a year abroad in Central America working on a maternal health education project, which ignited her interest in international health. She then returned to California to finish her OB/GYN residency at University of California Irvine.

Dr. Sisto considers women's healthcare her passion and has always been interested in women's global health, focusing on underserved communities. She has worked in Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, and Tanzania, and plans to continue to fight for all women's access to healthcare around the world.

Junior Fellow - Nathaniel Klein, MD

Dr. Klein grew up in a small country town in Michigan before attending Michigan State University, where he double majored in human physiology and nutrition. He then continued his education at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, where he received his Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a research certificate for clinical sciences.

Dr. Klein then went on to obtain his medical degree from the Chicago Medical School, completing his OB/GYN residency at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. While in residency, he served as the chief resident as well as the administrative chief.

During his residency, Dr. Klein helped develop a new GYN training curriculum with an emphasis on simulation training regarding robotic and laparoscopic surgical techniques while integrating the latest minimally invasive surgery research. He developed a passion for treating patients with chronic pelvic pain, especially related to endometriosis, as he found this patient population to be dramatically underserved and often times inadequately managed.

He strives to make his patients feel comfortable and well-cared for and believes that the best way to do that is to listen to patients' concerns or worries so they can work together to find a personalized treatment plan. In addition to his fellowship, Dr. Klein is pursuing a Master of Business Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Lee Business School.

When he is not in clinic, Dr. Klein enjoys doing all things outdoors and eating good food. He is licensed in Nevada, California, and Washington.

Junior Fellow - Alyssa Small Layne, MD

Dr. Small Layne was born and raised in Canada with deep Caribbean roots, which sparked her interest in diversity and healthcare disparities. She graduated with honors from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience. She had varied interests that she satisfied with minors in both Caribbean studies and psychology. Her interests in science and community well-being led her to pursue a career in medicine.

She graduated from medical school at Meharry Medical College and then trained to be a women's health specialist with a residency in obstetrics & gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her medical career has focused on urban and underserved populations with projects in Canada, USA, Barbados, and Honduras.

While studying, Dr. Small Layne found time to mentor students from disadvantaged communities in science and math. In her spare time, she is an avid hobbyist who can be found exploring farmers' markets for her latest culinary adventures, hiking, snowboarding and even making her own hair care products.

Graduated Fellows

Graduated in 2014 – Dr. Melissa Gutierrez

Melissa Gutierrez is native to Albuquerque, New Mexcio. She received her Bachelor of Science at Oklahoma State University with a double major in Biology and Spanish. She then earned her medical degree at Boston University School of Medicine. Her residency was completed at Phoenix Integrated Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Joseph's Hospital and Maricopa Medical Center.

Dr. Gutierrez's professional memberships include American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and American Medical Association.

Dr. Gutierrez takes special interest in advanced pelvic surgery, laparoscopic and robotic surgery. Dr. Gutierrez is also actively involved in clinical research, and works with residents from UCLA Harbor and University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Dr. Gutierrez has also taken an interest in international health. She has traveled abroad on medical mission trips to Guatemala and Peru, where she worked with an organization affiliated with the International Cervical Cancer Foundation. Dr. Gutierrez hopes to continue being involved in women's health abroad in the future, as well as bring excellent care to the women of Nevada.

Graduated in 2015 – Dr. Jasmine Pedroso

Jasmine Pedroso grew up in sunny San Diego, California. She received her Bachelors Degree from the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in Integrative Biology and Socio-Cultural Anthropology. After working for multiple non-profit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, she attended the Harvard School of Public Health where she served as Harvard University Presidential Scholar and received her Masters Degree in Public Health with a focus on Society, Human Development and Health, and a concentration in Women, Gender and Health.

After working internationally on HIV/AIDS issues with Physicians for Human Rights in Uganda, and several Women's Rights Organizations in the Philippines, Dr. Pedroso attended medical school at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She then completed residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where she served as Administrative Chief and was awarded the Annual Resident Teaching Award three years in a row.

Dr. Pedroso completed the two-year AAGL-approved Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship with Las Vegas Minimally Invasive Surgery-Women's Pelvic Health Center in order to hone her skills in robotic and laparoscopic surgery, with a focus on female pelvic reconstruction. In particular, Dr. Pedroso has a special interest in minimally-invasive, cosmetic, and fertility-preserving approaches to chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, female sexual dysfunction, incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

As a first-generation Filipino-American with extensive experience serving urban communities, she is especially passionate about increasing access to minimally invasive surgery for the underserved, both nationally and internationally. As an Ob/Gyn and as a Minimally Invasive Surgeon, Dr. Pedroso will undoubtedly continue to teach and serve, as best she can, the millions of women who still needlessly suffer around the world.

Graduated in 2016 – Dr. Chirisse Taylor

Dr. Chirisse Taylor obtained her undergraduate and master's degree at Cornell University and Yale School of Public Health. She moved to Boston and attended Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Taylor's residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology was completed in Chicago. To continue to augment her training, Dr. Taylor accepted the Las Vegas Minimally Invasive Fellowship to train in advanced Minimally Invasive Surgical techniques.

She has dedicated herself to improving the lives of women by providing comprehensive, compassionate, and evidenced based care. Dr. Taylor is a member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG).

Graduated in 2017 – Dr. Erica Stockwell

When it comes to her patients, Dr. Erica Stockwell always goes above and beyond. Even at a young age, she was passionate about patient care and dedicated herself to becoming the most effective healthcare provider possible. To do this, she double majored in Biomedical Engineering and Physiology and double minored in Chemistry and Psychology. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree, she went on to earn her osteopathic medical degree from Midwestern University, where she earned the prestigious departmental award in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her residency training was then completed at the University of Minnesota, where she served as Administrative Chief and even developed a special robotic surgical training program for the residents.

Her remarkable talent and passion for patient care continued to earn her recognition, and she received the American Urogynecologic Society's (AUGS) Excellence in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery award in 2014, and also the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons' award (SLS) for Outstanding Laparoendoscopic Resident in 2015.

Today, Dr. Stockwell continues to go above and beyond. She is currently completing a two-year AAGL-approved fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery with the Las Vegas Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Women's Pelvic Health Center, while also concurrently completing her Master of Business Administration (MBA) through the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. With her background in biomedical engineering, she plans to create even safer and more effective innovations in surgical technology. She has also taken an interest in international health and has traveled abroad on medical missions to both Tanzania and Peru. She plans on continuing to travel around the world, helping women in need.

When she's not working with her patients, designing new surgical tools, or planning her next medical mission, Dr. Stockwell enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family, dancing, skiing, and hiking.

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