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wellness partners editorial board

We are pleased to welcome the following distinguished health professionals to our editorial board.

Juli Aistars, RN, MS, AOCN

Juli AistarsJuli Aistars completed her BSN at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1982 and her MS in Oncology Nursing at Rush University in Chicago. Her work experience includes staff nursing in hematology/oncology, medical review, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Radiation Oncology and then Prostate Nurse Navigator at Northwest Community Hospital, Arlington Heights, IL.

Juli has published three articles in nursing journals and a book chapter on radiation oncology. She has presented posters at national and international conferences on her research in skin care for patients receiving radiation for breast cancer and on the development of her role as Prostate Nurse Navigator.

Her areas of expertise in oncology are fatigue, skin care with radiation, writing for publication, nursing research and prostate cancer.

Anthony Balchunas, MS, PA-C

Anthony Balchunas is a practicing Physician Assistant who has spent his entire career focusing on Urology and Sexual Medicine. After earning a Master's Degree from Baylor College of Medicine's PA program in 1995, he went on to complete a Surgical Internship at Montefiore Medical Center in his home town New York City. Having received specialty training in Urology, Anthony was recruited to join Central Texas Urology in Waco Texas in 1997. For thirteen years now, Anthony has remained focused on Urology and has worked to develop a Sexual Medicine/Andrology Clinic within his single specialty group practice.

In addition to office based patient care, Anthony is active assisting in the operating room and providing care to hospital inpatients. Well known for his dynamic and passionate teaching style, Anthony is involved in lecturing and mentoring Family Practice Residents. He has also participated in community education programs specifically focused on men's health issues. Anthony serves as an editorial board member for Journal of the American Association of Physician Assistants and has served as a speaker and/or advisor for Allergan, Astellas, Auxilium, GlaxoSmithKline, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer Inc., Lilly-ICOS, TAP Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Timm Medical, Urologix, and Watson Pharmaceuticals. He has also recently been appointed to the American Urological Society's Advanced Practice Professional membership committee. Other Professional memberships including the American Urologic Association, The Texas Urologic Association, The International Society for Impotence Research, The Sexual Medicine Society of North America, The American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and The American Academy of Physician Assistants. Having completed all educational requirements for a Ph.D. in Clinical Sexology, Anthony is now working on a dissertation which focuses on the role of Testosterone in men's sexual and global health.

Donna Canada, RN, CURN

Donna CanadaDonna N. Canada, RN, is certified in urologic nursing. She is currently pursuing certification in biofeedback by the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. Her career has involved pediatric, cardiac care, psychiatric and Rehabilitation nursing on the stroke team at a large teaching hospital. She is also an active member of Society of Urological Nurses and Associates (SUNA) where she attends both local and national conferences. She has been a presenter of continuing education on urodynamics for SUNA and for Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC. Canada spoke at the Friday Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill on Urodynamics from A to Z.

Canada is currently the continence nurse at Eastern Urological Associates in Greenville, NC where she performs urodynamics and biofeedback pelvic floor rehabilitation. She is involved in screening patients and collecting data for a research study on bladder cancer at her practice. She has a special interest in pediatric voiding dysfunction and prostate cancer.

When Canada began doing urodynamics studies with the pediatric population in 2002, she realized the need for a teaching tool to prepare children and their parents for this procedure so she developed and authored the education coloring book Learning about how the special pictures of my body are taken with assistance from the Child Life staff at Pitt County Memorial Hospital. She also wrote the article Treatment Modalities for Incontinence Patients for the hospital's publication of Perspectives on Patient Care. Canada was the recipient of SUNA.'s scholarship to attend the Pelvic Floor Symposium in San Francisco, CA in 2009.

Janet Casperson, BS, MSN, ANP-C

Janet CaspersonJanet Casperson, BS, MSN, ANP-C, is a board-certified nurse practitioner at Northeast Indiana Urology, where she is Sexual Health Director. For more than twenty years she has treated patients for cardiovascular disease and sexual dysfunction. She is actively involved in community education on sexual dysfunction and men's health issues. Ms. Casperson graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor of science in nursing degree and earned a master's degree from Ball State University. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She's also a member of the Sexual Medicine Society, and has been a presenter at their annual meetings as well as at national Nurse Practitioner meetings.

She has served on the clinical faculty of St. Francis University, Ball State University, and Purdue University and has been a guest lecturer on Sex and the Heart at the International Congress of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Rome, Italy and Dubrovnik, Coati. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Ball State University. Ms. Casperson has served as a consultant to patient support groups and to sexual health clinics across the United States; she has also been a medical advisor to national magazines. She is co-author of Sex and the Heart (First Edition, 2006) and the award-wining book, Sex and the Heart (Second Edition, 2008).

Tamara Dickinson, RN, CURN, CCCN, BCIA-PMDB

Tamara DickinsonTamara Dickinson is a nationally and internationally recognized authority in urodynamics, incontinence, voiding dysfunction, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Ms. Dickinson is board certified in urology nursing and continence nursing and is certified in biofeedback for pelvic muscle dysfunction. With over 17 years in the field, Ms. Dickinson is experienced in pelvic floor therapy (for continence, pelvic pain and dysfunctional elimination), neurogenic voiding dysfunction, and pessary fitting and management. She is a frequent national presenter on these topics.

Ms. Dickinson is the Senior Research Nurse in Continence and Voiding Dysfunction in the Department of Urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. In addition to her research role, she sees patients clinically for Urodynamics, pelvic floor therapy and pessary fitting and management. She is a Past President of the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA), a professional organization committed to excellence in clinical practice and research through education of its members, patients, family and community. She is also a member of the Continence Promotion Committee and the School of Urodynamics of the International Continence Society. She is also an advisory board member for the Simon Foundation for Continence, an advisory board member for Hollister Inc and a council member of the American Urological Association Foundation.

Ms. Dickinson is a past recipient of the SUNA President's Trophy for outstanding contributions to the association and the Past President's Lectureship Award.

Peggy P. Francis, DNP, RN, FNP

Peggy P. Francis, DNP, RN, FNP is certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and American Nurse's Credentialing Center and as a Urologic Nurse Practitioner from the Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates. Dr. Francis holds additional certification in Gynecologic and Reproductive Health Care and as a Menopause Clinician from the National Certification Corporation. For more than a decade, Francis has been caring for women's urologic and pelvic health issues. At Urology San Antonio, her current employer, she serves as the Director and Co-director of the practice's two specialty divisions, the Center for Urinary Control and the Center for Female Sexual Medicine, respectively.

At Urology San Antonio's Center for Female Sexual Medicine, the first clinic in South Texas dedicated to diagnosing and treating the medical causes of women's sexual concerns, Francis helps women understand and manage factors such as hormonal changes, pelvic nerve and muscle function, surgeries, childbirth, illnesses, medications, relationship issues, and aging that affect their sexual response cycle. An outspoken advocate for women's health care, Dr. Francis is often called on to speak to patients and professionals about treatments for common urologic conditions and female sexual medicine. Francis serves as a preceptor for Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurse Certification programs. She is also a member of the following professional organizations: San Antonio Nurses in Advanced Practice, Texas Nurse's Association, Texas Nurse Practitioners, American College of Nurse Practitioners, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health, American Urologic Association, Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates, North American Menopause Society, and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society.

Diane K. Newman, DNP, FAAN, BCB-PMD

Diane Newman

Diane K. Newman, DNP, FAAN, BCB-PMD,  is Research Investigator Senior and Adjunct Associate Professor of Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine, Univeristy of Pennsylvania. She is Co-Director of the Penn Center for Continence and Pelvic Health, Division of Urology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, in Philadelphia.

Dr. Newman received a Doctor of Nursing Practice program from Thomas Jefferson University, a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from LaSalle University, and a Master of Science degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, all in Philadelphia. She is certified as an adult nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Newman is the Principal Investigator, University of Pennsylvania, Translating Unique Learning for Incontinence Prevention: The TULIP Project, R01NR012011, National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health. Dr. Newman has served as co-principal investigator on research studies on the treatment and management of urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction. She was a member of the planning committee of the State-of-the-Science Conference on Prevention of Fecal and Urinary Incontinence in Adults, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Office of Medical Applications of Research (OMAR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and presented at the December 2007 meeting. She was the Chairperson of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Committee on Continence Promotion, Education & Primary Prevention for the International Consultation on Incontinence. She was the Chair of the International Continence Society (ICS) Continence Promotion Committee (2003-2009).

Dr. Newman was a member of the panel of experts of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Scope and Severity of Nursing Care Deficiencies in long term care on “Guidance to Surveyors on incontinence and Catheters-Tag F315.” She was the Co-chair of the 1996 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Clinical Practice Guideline on Urinary Incontinence: Acute and Chronic Management. She served as a member of the Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel of the FDA. In 2002, the National Association for Continence (NAFC) presented her with the Continence Care Champion Award.

Dr. Newman is an internationally known speaker on the topic of urinary incontinence and the use of devices and products for the management of incontinence. She has been invited to speak in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Manila, Sapporo, Yokohomo, Florence, Monaco, Edinburgh, Monte Carlo, Halifax, Montreal and Bournemouth.

She holds editorial positions on several journals, including the International Urogynecology Journal,Neurourology and Urodynamics and Ostomy/Wound Management. A prolific writer, Dr. Newman has written and presented more than 100 scientific papers, chapters, and articles on the assessment, treatment, and management of incontinence with an emphasis on the nurse’s role. She is the author of the books The Urinary Incontinence Sourcebook and Managing and Treating Urinary Incontinence. She is the recipient of theAmerican Journal of Nursing 2002 Gerontologic Nursing Book Award for the 1st Edition of Managing and Treating Urinary Incontinence. She is the co-author with Dr Alan Wein of Overcoming Overactive Bladder, the 2nd edition of Managing and Treating Urinary Incontinence and co-author of Fast Facts: Bladder Disorders.

She has extensive experience in informing consumers about pelvic floor disorders and with continence promotion. Her “Incontinence Center” ( is a resource website for the lay public. Her AJN article on “Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women” was cited by the New York Times Personal Health Column, September 2003. She was interviewed in the August 2007 issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine and the January 2009 issue of Ladies Home Journal. Dr. Newman’s clinical practice was featured in the June 5, 2008 issue of USA Today. She was been appointed to WebMD’s Moderated Health Exchange on Incontinence and OAB (

Robert G. Pugach, MD

Robert PugachDr. Pugach is the medical director of Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center. The founding principle of this unique, specialized urology practice is to offer new, innovative, minimally invasive treatments for patients with urological problems. Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center offers a wide range of office-based and outpatient treatments for conditions such as:

  • Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH). Dr. Pugach is a pioneer in the use of Cooled Microwave Thermotherapy for this common condition. In 1998, he was responsible for bringing this technology to the Los Angeles area. Dr. Pugach has performed more Cooled Microwave Thermotherapy procedures than any other urologist in the western United States. He is actively involved in teaching other physicians throughout the United States about microwave techniques for treating diseases of the prostate.
  • Prostate Cancer. In place of radical surgery or external beam radiation, Dr. Pugach offers two remarkable, outpatient procedures that allow patients to return to normal activities quickly: HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound), a procedure where ultrasound waves superheat prostate tissue to destroy cancer and surrounding cells. It is completely non-invasive - no cutting or needles are used. Dr. Pugach also offers Cryoablation of the Prostate, which freezes and kills prostate cancer cells. Both HIFU and Cryoablation can destroy cancer while minimizing the side effects of surgery like urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction..
  • Bladder Control for Women. Dr. Pugach is proud to announce the opening of The Bladder Control Center for Women. This center is the first of its kind because it offers comprehensive, minimally invasive solutions for bladder control including in-office procedures like computer-enhanced biofeedback and the new Renessa procedure for stress incontinence. He also uses a variety of techniques including minimally invasive, outpatient procedures like the remarkable Interstim battery for overactive bladders and new sling surgical procedures to control bladder leakage.
  • No Needle/No Scalpel Vasectomy. Dr. Pugach is one of the most experienced physicians on the west coast in this remarkable procedure. A spray of novocaine is used in place of an injection and the entire procedure is done in his office without the need for cutting and stiching.
  • Microsurgical Vasectomy Reversal. Having received specialized training at Cornell University in New York, Dr. Pugach offers the latest microsurgical techniques to help achieve successful vasectomy reversals.

Dr. Pugach serves on numerous medical boards including the Board of Trustees for the California Medical Association and the American Cancer Society. He is the vice-chair of the AMA's OMSS Governing Council. Teaching appointments include Clinical Instructor for Urologix for cooled microwave thermotherapy. He also is an instructor and proctor for HIFU International, travelling internationally to treat patients and teach physicians how to perform this remarkable procedure. He is an instructor and proctor for Endocare for Cryoablation of the prostate and kidney.

Dr. Pugach has offices in Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach and Beverly Hills. His office phone # is 1-888-735-4336. He also has a vibrant, content-rich website:

Gladys Rentie, CMA

Gladys RentieGladys has always been drawn to the specialized areas of clinical nursing. While she focused a lot of her time in pulmonary medicine, when she had the opportunity to move into urology the choice was an easy one. “I was drawn to the blend of hands-on patient care, the technology of the field and the wonderful changes we can make in the day-to-day lives of our patients.” After mastering the basics and moving up quickly through the ranks of Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center, Gladys continued her educational journey by mastering the fine points of urological nursing including first assisting with office surgical procedures, No Scalpel/No Needle vasectomy, Microwave Thermotherapy and TransurethralNeedle Ablation for BPH. She then went on to receive training to perform Urodynamic testing and Biofeedback testing to help patients with urinary incontinence and other bladder control problems. Last year, she received advance certification as a programmer for Interstim© bladder neuromodulation.

As the lead nurse at Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center, she takes an active role in patient education. Her role encompasses pre- and post-op education and post-procedure patient follow-up. She has now branched out to become the practice’s HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) coordinator for this new, minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer that will soon be available in the United States. 

Gladys’ educational accomplishments include travelling to China in 2007 to teach Chinese nurses the techniques to assist their doctors perform Microwave Thermotherapy for BPH. She became a member of SUNA (Society of Urological Nursing Association) in 2006 to further her educational experiences.

Nancy Sullivan, CNM, MS

Nancy SullivanNancy H. Sullivan, CNM, MS, FACNM developed the Providence Continence Center for Providence Health System in Portland, Oregon, in October 2003. Currently, she is semi-retired and works as a clinician in the center three days a week, seeing patients for initial assessments, medication and surgery follow-up, conservative management, and patient education. She also coordinates referrals to physical therapists, urologists, urogynecologists, and colorectal surgeons who are affiliated with the center. She has a particular interest in pelvic floor and incontinence issues in postpartum women and on conservative therapies for these problems.

Prior to 2003, Nancy was an assistant professor in the nurse-midwifery education program and coordinator of the midwifery faculty practice at Oregon Health & Science University. Nancy also founded and maintains, a website for midwives and consumers of midwifery services. She received her nursing degree at Cornell and her master's degree at Columbia University. She is a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the International Continence Society. She has three grown children, two grandchildren, and one very old incontinent dog. She speaks French and Spanish, and is studying Italian and Arabic. She loves to travel and to play tennis.

Posted May 2010
Updated September 2011


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