Institutional Leadership

Don N. Peska, DO
Dean and Chief Academic Officer

Don N. Peska, DO, MEd, FACOS, Dean & Chief Academic Officer, Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine at New Mexico State University is a highly respected educator and academic leader within the osteopathic medical school profession. Most recently (2009 – 2017), Dr. Peska served as the Dean of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Ft. Worth Texas (TCOM). He started his academic career at TCOM in 1982 as an Assistant Clinical Professor and was promoted to the positions of Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Dean for Educational Programs. He also served as the Chief Medical Officer for UNT Health. Dr. Peska also served as a Residency Director for Vascular Surgery. Dr. Peska’s honors include: Distinguished Osteopathic Surgeon from American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS), President’s Service Award from ACOS and the MeadJohnson Fellow in General Surgery. Prior to academia, Dr. Peska had a successful private practice in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery.

Dr. Peska received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Des Moines University, College of Osteopathic Medicine. He obtained his Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio). He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY. He completed residencies in general surgery and thoracic cadiovascular surgery. He is board certified in general surgery, general vascular surgery and thoracic-cardiovascular surgery from the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery. Dr. Peska is a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners. He has also served as a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the National Resident Match Program (NMRP) in Washington, DC and accreditation surveyor for the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).

An accomplished researcher and lecturer, Dr. Peska is a visiting faculty member at the Harvard-Macy Institute at Harvard University. The Harvard-Macy institute is an inter-professional, international incubator for innovators in health care education. The institute takes a collegial “think tank” approach to continuing professional development, bringing together diverse perspectives in health care education. It inspires participants to examine their own assumptions and behaviors in a new light, leading to fresh approaches to their careers and their capacity as leaders of organizational change.

Under Dr. Peska’s leadership at TCOM, he and his team successfully increased the overall class size and established the TCOM Academy of Medical Educators. The Academy provides protected time for faculty to attend to their teaching assignments and brings them together each week for their own development. They participate in a longitudinal curriculum that provides in-depth discussion in the learning sciences and coursework that includes theory, instructional design, assessment, skills training, technology, and other facets of curriculum delivery. Time is dedicated for reflective dialogue on outcomes of recent courses and sharing of best practices. The Academy members were responsible for modernizing and integrating the curriculum. The overall success of the academy and other leadership strategies contributed to achieving excellent outcomes for TCOM’s students and an increase in overall faculty and institutional pride. Since inception TCOM students have exceeded the national means for first attempt passage and total scores on all levels of COMLEX-USA, the licensing board exam required of all graduates of osteopathic medical schools. Additionally, the majority of TCOM students sit for USMLE Step 1 where they also performed at or above the national average of all allopathic medical schools.

Dr. Peska’s Perspective on Medical Education: “Although comfortable with and experienced in clinical practice management and oversight of a modest research enterprise, my core interests are in curriculum and instruction and team development. The application of evidence-based principles of learning to medical education has enhanced institutional effectiveness at TCOM. With several complimentary degree programs on the health science center campus and in the community TCOM has successfully partnered internally and externally to promote inter-professional practice. Our team has been invited to present its strategies and outcomes in the United States and overseas.” – Don N. Peska, DO, MEd, FACOS

Jennifer Taylor, MBA
Chief Financial Officer,
Vice President of Administration/Finance

Jennifer joined BCOM in January 2015 as CFO, following a career of over 30 years in financial administration and accounting. She began her career in public accounting, and held numerous positions of increasing responsibility at New Mexico State University, culminating in the position of Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration. Following her retirement from this position in 2010, she rejoined NMSU as a faculty member in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems. She holds a Bachelor of Accountancy and an MBA

Jeff Harris
Assistant Vice President of Administration/Chief Information Officer

Jeff Harris joined BCOM from the Las Cruces Public Schools, where he served as the Executive Director of Technology Support Services for the 2nd largest school district in New Mexico.  His career has been focused on the design and development of large scale data systems and the use of technology to enhance education. He has previously held leadership positions with NMSU, Region 19 Education Service Center (Texas), and in several large consulting projects across New Mexico & Texas with his firm Harris & Associates Technology Group, LLC. His recent focus has been leveraging technology for staff, student learning, and building safety systems.  He is the Past-President and an Emeritus member of the NM Council of Higher Education in Computing and Communication Systems (NM-CHECS) and a board member of the New Mexico Technology in Education (NM-TIE) group that hosts the largest educational technology conference in New Mexico.  He is an Electrical Engineering graduate of NMSU and a long-time resident of Las Cruces.

Robert Ketchum, PhD
Associate Dean of Pre-Clinical Education & Professor of Anatomy

Dr. Ketchum comes to BCOM from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of Rocky Vista University, in Parker, Colorado, where he served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and as Director of Research and Scholarly Activity. An accomplished researcher in the areas of diabetes, isolation of pancreatic islets, and cellular transplantation, having served as the Director of the GMP cell processing lab at the University of Virginia, which prepared insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells for clinical transplantation. Dr. Ketchum is a graduate of Brigham Young University (BS, Zoology, ‘82) the University of Minnesota (PhD, Anatomy, ’89). He was on the founding faculty of the Pikeville University, School of Osteopathic Medicine and was with Rocky Vista since its inception. Dr. Ketchum played a significant role in Rocky Vista University’s curriculum re-sequencing in 2010, which has proven to be very effective and successful in the training and placement of its graduates into residency training programs. (Rocky Vista University is the only other medical school to share BCOM’s proprietary status and tax structure.) As Associate Dean of Pre-Clinical Sciences, Dr. Ketchum will be accountable for the development and implementation of BCOM’s curriculum and assurance of student progress and success.

Oliver W. Hayes, DO, FACEP
Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education
Professor of Clinical Medicine, Emergency Medicine

Dr. Hayes is a nationally-known authority on clinical education of medical students and medical residents. He joins BCOM from the Genesys Healthcare System in Grand Blanc, Michigan, where he serves as the Designated Institutional Official and is accountable for the accreditation and operation of their graduate medical education programs, that is, residency training. Dr. Hayes has written extensively on development of graduate medical education and has been instrumental in the development of hundreds of new residency training positions in the US. Dr. Hayes is board- certified in emergency medicine and also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health Administration.

Tania B. Arana, PhD
Associate Dean of Student Success
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Tania Arana is a behavioral neuroscientist and joins BCOM from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine – Texas Tech University @ El Paso, where she was one of the founding faculty members and deeply involved in the development of the school. Dr. Arana most recently chaired their Admissions Committee as well as the Committee on Diversity. She received her PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Ottawa and is widely published in the area of educational methods and behavioral neuroscience. With relatives in Chihuahua, Mexico, Dr. Arana brings a wealth of local cultural experience to BCOM and is uniquely suited to help the school accomplish its mission of increasing the number and diversity of the local healthcare workforce.

Christa Vaudrey, MAEd
Vice President of Enrollment Services

Christa Vaudrey, MA Ed, is an Education Specialist and Vice President for Enrollment Services at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine where she has worked to support the students, faculty and staff since it’s inaugural opening in 2016. Ms. Vaudrey has degrees in Education and Educational Leadership and Administration earned from New Mexico State University. In addition, she participated in the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education and the UVA School Turnaround Program at the University of Virginia dedicated to establishing the school system conditions that set the stage for change and to building transformative leadership capacity to achieve that change. Her educational areas of emphasis include data analysis that leads to instructional and learning improvement, evaluation, observation and feedback, and supervision and leadership. Throughout her career, Ms. Vaudrey has been an educator, principal, specialist and director dedicated to the improvement of learning from both the educator perspective as well as the student perspective.

Cindy Funk, PhD
Assistant Dean of Student Assessment
Professor of Anatomy

Cindy Funk, Ph.D., anatomist and neuroscientist, joined Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2016 as one of the inaugural faculty members. Prior to her position at BCOM, Dr. Funk was a founding faculty member at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine where she served as member of the anatomy faculty and as Phase Director of the year 1 curriculum. As phase director, Dr. Funk contributed to the assessment, evaluation, and delivery of the medical curriculum. At BCOM, in her role as Assistant Dean of Student Assessment, Dr. Funk can continue to contribute to a culture of utilizing assessment data to make continual improvements to student learning and outcomes. Dr. Funk’s scholarly activity pursuits include the neurobiology of drug and alcohol addiction. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Texas A&M University and conducted postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute and at the University of Bordeaux.

Justin McHorse, MS
Assistant Vice President of Multicultural Inclusion

Justin McHorse is originally from Taos Pueblo, NM, where he graduated from Taos High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College where he double majored in Native American Studies and English. Upon graduating from Dartmouth, Justin participated in the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers at Phillips Academy Andover.

After his summer in Andover, MA, he served as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Proctor Academy in Andover, NH, and then as the Diversity Outreach Coordinator for The Advent School in Boston, MA. Justin then headed to West Lafayette, IN, to study at Purdue University. He graduated with a M.S. in Education with a specialization in Higher Education Administration.

Following his graduate study at Purdue University, Justin accepted a position offer from Cornell University where he served as the Assistant Director of Diversity Programs in Engineering. One of his noted roles was as the advisor for the university’s chapters of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

As it was always one of Justin’s goals to return to his home state of New Mexico, he welcomed the opportunity to serve as the Director of the American Indian Program at New Mexico State University. As the director, Justin strived to provide a positive climate that supports the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of American Indians in the pursuit of a higher education.

To highlight one Justin’s accomplishments as the director, he played a key role in facilitating the construction and completion of the new American Indian Student Center at NMSU, which opened its doors in early 2011. Upon being satisfied that he contributed to the advance of the American Indian Program for the benefit of the students, Justin was open to new opportunity for growth and advancement.

In 2015, Justin joined the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) team as the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs, Marketing and Communications. In his role, he employs the use of cultural knowledge and humility to help BCOM establish a culturally diverse, supportive and inclusive environment where students, faculty, staff and administrators are valued members of the community. As of 2018, Justin continues to promote the benefit of cultural diversity and sustain the sense of community BCOM has created as the Assistant Vice President for Multicultural Inclusion.

David Osborne PhD
Assistant Dean of Pre-Clerkship Curriculum
Professor of Physiology

A biography for Dr. Osborne will be provided soon.

Thank you for your patience.

Jennifer Eastwood, PhD
Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs
Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Jennifer Eastwood, Ph.D. joined BCOM in 2016 as an inaugural faculty member in the Anatomy and Cell Biology Department. Prior to her position at BCOM, she served as Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator at Stephens College with a primary role in development and accreditation of the new Master of Physician Assistant Studies program. She also served as a founding faculty member at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine as Assistant Professor and Discipline Director for histology. Throughout her career, Dr. Eastwood has conducted research and provided faculty development in the areas of medical and biomedical science education. She has served on institutional and national committees in the areas of curriculum, assessment, student mentoring, and faculty development. In her role as Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs at BCOM, Dr. Eastwood is committed to supporting a cohesive community of reflective educators and promoting the success of faculty in all areas of the College. Her educational background includes a Master of Science in Anatomy & Cell Biology and Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction (Science Education) from Indiana University and a post-doctoral position in science education research at the University of Florida.

Adela Lente, MD
Associate Dean of Clinical Education
Professor of Clinical Medicine, Surgery

A biography will be added soon. Thank you for your patience.