Executive Administration/Office of the Dean
John L. Hummer, MHA
John L. Hummer is co-founder, executive board director and president of BCOM. He earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Kansas State University under a United States Army scholarship and his master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Kansas. He has 20 years of executive leadership experience in the private, investor owned, healthcare industry as well as academic teaching hospitals. He held the CEO position in 12 of his 20 years in the hospital industry. He has developed, expanded, and led major hospitals in Las Vegas, NV, Washington, DC, New Orleans, LA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL., Las Vegas, NV and Las Cruces, NM. He is a past board member of The Federation of American Hospitals.
His experiences include several academic teaching hospitals. Hummer completed his administrative residency at Wesley Medical Center, Wichita, KS, a 760-bed teaching hospital for The University of Kansas Medical School. Early in his career, Hummer served as the chief operating officer for an osteopathic teaching hospital in South Florida providing him with an appreciation for osteopathic medicine. He served as the chief operating officer for The George Washington University Hospital (GW) a major teaching hospital located in our nation’s capital. Hummer led and negotiated all key provisions and shared service contracts between UHS, Inc. and George Washington University (GWU) under the joint venture with GWU. His professional experience with graduate medical education (GME) and its critical role within hospitals and communities, coupled with his network of hospital relationships, has and will continue to benefit BCOM.
John serves on the board of directors for the Borderplex Alliance, the regional economic development organization for Southern, NM, El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, MX. He is a director for First American Bank’s Board of Trustees. He is a past chairman of the board for the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA) and past chairman of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce. He is also a past president of The Rio Grande Rotary Club.
John and his wife Amy own the largest full service real estate company in Las Cruces – Steinborn Inc. Real Estate offering residential, commercial, property management, development and consulting services. John and Amy served as co-chairs of Mesilla Valley Hospice’s “Continuing the Dream” Capital Campaign which raised $6.5 million for expansion of hospice facilities.
John, along with his wife Amy and their two sons Alex, and Sam, enjoy New Mexico, active in St. Albert the Great Catholic Church and avid NMSU Aggie supporters.
William Pieratt, DO, FACP
Chief Academic Officer and Dean
Dr. William (Bill) Pieratt serves as Dean and Chief Academic Officer for the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dean Pieratt joined Burrell from Texas A&M’s College of Medicine where he served as the Associate Dean for the Bryan-College Station campus, as well as Interim Department Head for Primary Care and Population Health. In addition, Dean Pieratt served as the founding Physician Director of the A&M Integrated Medicine (AIM) Program. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M, Class of 1988, and received his Doctor of Osteopathy from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1992. He completed residency in Internal Medicine at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in 1995 and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 2010. Dean Pieratt has broad experience in both ambulatory and hospital-based medicine in rural as well as urban settings, in both private and system-based practice.
Dean Pieratt has held various leadership positions in both the practice of medicine and medical education. Dean Pieratt has been recognized for his contributions to medical education as Outstanding Internal Medicine Faculty from numerous College of Medicine classes, as well as the AIM Educator of the Year while he served at Texas A&M.
Don N. Peska, DO
Professor of Clinical Medicine, Vascular Surgery & Vice President of Academic Development
Don N. Peska, DO, MEd, FACOS, Vice President of Academic Development, 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 (2018-2020), Dr. Peska served as the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Dean and Chief Academic Officer, and before that (2009 – 2017) 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
Justin McHorse, MS
Assistant Vice President of Diversity and 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 (NMSU). 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 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 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 Burrell College establish a culturally diverse, supportive and inclusive environment where students, faculty, staff and administrators are valued members of the community. As of 2020, Justin continues to promote the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion to sustain a sense of belonging for all as the Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion.
Nina Nuñez, MAEd
Assistant Vice President for Compliance and Institutional Assessment & Title IX Coordinator
Nina Nuñez, MA Ed. joined the College in 2016 as an inaugural staff member and is currently the Director of Compliance and Institutional Assessment. In her current role, she provides primary leadership in matters related to compliance, accreditation and institutional assessment.
Ms. Nuñez has a Master of Arts in Education degree with emphases in Curriculum and Instruction and Technology Education, which was earned from New Mexico State University. She was a founding faculty member for the first early college high school in the state of New Mexico where she taught multiple mathematics and engineering courses. Ms. Nuñez also held an adjunct faculty appointment with the Dona Ana Community College where she taught mathematics and aerospace technology courses. She is a recipient of the Dr. Sandra K. Nakamura Professional Development Excellence award and was a finalist for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. She served as a panelist for the National Science Foundation where she was able to utilize her expertise in reviewing large scale grant proposals in their Advanced Technologies in Education program. Her initial role for the College was serving as an Educational Specialist where she developed and implemented a student support program for students. Ms. Nuñez also supported faculty, staff, and students as the College’s learning management system administrator.
As the College’s Director of Compliance and Institutional Assessment, Ms. Nuñez is able to utilize her twenty years of educational expertise to provide strategic leadership on assessment related activities and oversee the use of assessment results for institutional improvement and effectiveness. Ms. Nuñez has recently been recently been named a Harvard Macy Scholar and will attend the Harvard Macy Institute Course: A Systems Approach to Assessment in Health Professions Education in the Spring of 2020.
Elizabeth Howard, PhD
Assistant Director of Compliance and Institutional Accreditation & Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Medical Education