Skip to content

  • Print

Welcoming this year's new faculty - Physician Assistant and Public Policy Programs

Office of the ProvostJan 20, 2016

In December, Pacific welcomed the new faculty members who will be teaching in the new Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program planned to start January 2017 on the Sacramento Graduate Campus. Pacific's 27-month MPAS program will provide numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary education through collaboration between the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The Dugoni School of Dentistry is administrating the MPAS program, making it the first dental school in the nation to administer a physician assistant program. 

Mark Christiansen, PhD, PA-C, is an associate professor and founding program director of the MPAS program at Pacific's Sacramento campus. Dr. Christiansen has been a practicing physician assistant in family medicine and emergency medicine for more than 35 years. 

Prior to coming to Pacific, Dr. Christiansen was a faculty member at the UC Davis Medical Center and served as the program director of the Physician Assistant Master's Degree Program in the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. He received his PhD in Medical Sciences from UNMC in 2009.   Dr. Christiansen has been active in local, state, and national physician assistant organizations. For several years he has been a contributor to a national group that produces and provides continuing education programs for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. 

Tracey DelNero, MSPAS, PA-C, is an associate professor and the director of academics in the MPAS program. Prior to joining Pacific, Mrs. DelNero served for 10 years as the Director of Clinical Education at Touro University California's Joint MSPAS/MPH Program. In 2014, she earned a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) degree from Touro College.

Her clinical specialties include internal medicine and geriatrics. Mrs. DelNero was honored with the PA Education Association Clinical Educator of the Year Award in 2014.  She has also received the Touro University Joint MSPAS/MPH Program Above and Beyond Award in 2009. She has provided professional lectures at the local, state and national level for multiple PA associations.


Jessica Garner, MMS, PA-C, is an assistant professor and clinical coordinator in the MPAS program. Prior to working at University of the Pacific, Ms. Garner was a faculty member at the San Joaquin Valley College PA Program, where she served as clinical coordinator and taught several courses. 

Ms. Garner received her Master of Medical Science (MMS) degree in 2012 from Saint Francis University. She currently works in an Integrative Oncology practice, with a focus on cancer research and cancer epigenetics. She has coauthored several peer-reviewed articles in the area of cancer epigenetics and translational medicine.



Jed Grant, MPAS, PA-C, is an assistant professor and principal faculty in the MPAS program. He will also serve as the Admissions Coordinator for the program. Prior to coming to Pacific, Mr. Grant was a faculty member and program director at the San Joaquin Valley College PA Program. Mr. Grant began his medical career as a US Army medic and has been a practicing PA in family and emergency medicine for more than 15 years. He received his Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree with an emphasis in emergency medicine in 2008 from the University of Nebraska. He is currently serving in the California Army National Guard where he works as an aeromedical physician assistant.  

Mr. Grant was appointed to the physician assistant board of California in 2013 by Gov. Brown and currently serves as the vice president of the board. He is a frequent speaker on a variety of topics at continuing medical education conferences for PAs in California.

Rahnea L. Sunseri, MD is the medical director and a clinical assistant professor in the MPAS program. Her medical specialty is Internal Medicine. Dr. Sunseri brings over thirty-five years' experience in primary care clinical medicine in diverse patient populations and practice settings, including outpatient clinics, hospitals, emergency departments, and skilled nursing facilities. 

Dr. Sunseri is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has been elected to the American College of Physicians along with other professional societies. She graduated in 1976 with a Doctorate of Medicine from the School of Medicine, UC Davis.    Presently, Dr. Sunseri is focusing her career on medical education for students entering health professions, in particular, Physician Assistant candidates. Previously, she lectured at Internal Medicine and Grand Round conferences, employee health screenings, community health fairs, and Café Scientifique at the College of San Mateo.


Public Policy Program
Pacific's Sacramento Graduate Campus recently welcomed to the McGeorge Public Policy Program two new faculty members widely known for their expertise and who bring great depth to the program. The Public Policy Program is one of several new programs starting on the Sacramento campus as it continues to expand its graduate offerings.

Dr. Marcie Paolinelli joined Pacific December 1, 2015, as Associate Director, Public Policy Programs, and Adjunct Professor of Public Administration. Dr. Paolinelli is an experienced public professional, with over 25 years of management consulting services to public organizations. She has skills and expertise in strategic planning, management analysis, business process improvement, implementation, and change management. 

Dr. Paolinelli received her Doctor of Public Administration degree from USC, where she also taught courses. As a member of the American Society of Public Administration, Dr. Paolinelli has served as President of the Sacramento Chapter, National Board Member of the Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management, and National Council Member representing California.


Dr. Jeffrey Michael, already a familiar presence on the Sacramento Graduate Campus, will begin work as a Professor of Public Policy on January 1. Dr. Michael worked closely with Dean Jay Mootz and Professor Clark Kelso to propose and develop the McGeorge public policy programs, and has been working closely with the founding Director, Professor John Kirlin, since this summer.

Dr. Michael will devote approximately 40% of his time to the Program. He will retain his appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business, and will continue to serve as the Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research, which is housed in both Sacramento and Stockton. The Center will operate as a joint venture of McGeorge and Eberhardt.  

Dr. Michael's areas of expertise include regional economic forecasting and environmental economics including work on water resources, the Endangered Species Act, climate change, and regulation on land use, property values and employment growth.  His research has been published in scholarly journals and books such as the Journal of Law and Economics, Energy Policy, and Ecological Economics. He received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.





Tags for this article:

Join University of the Pacific on: Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Youtube