Meet Our Specialists at Encina Veterinary Hospital

Peter Nurre, DVM
Diplomate, ACVIM

Education: San Francisco State University, majored in Biology and Nutrition, graduated in 1993. University of California Davis Veterinary School graduate of 2001. Completed rotating internship and internal medicine residency at Encina Veterinary Hospital.

Professional Interests: Internal medicine and cardiology.

Personal Interests: Outdoor and sporting activities.

Professional Organizations: ACVIM, AVMA, AAHA, CVMA, CCVMA

“I chose veterinary medicine because I love working with pets and their families. Internal medicine is like a puzzle, many pieces fit together to reveal what we can do to best help the pet.”

Jenifer Wang, DVM
Practice Limited to Internal Medicine

Education: Graduated form UC Berkeley with a BA in Anthropology and Integrative Biology. Graduated from Ross University, School of Veterinary Medicine in 2007, clinical year at University of Wisconsin, Madison. Internship and Residency at Encina Veterinary Hospital.

Professional Interests: Gastrointestinal disease, renal and liver disease.

Personal Interests: Hiking, mountain biking, cooking, and exploring the world.

Professional Organizations: AVMA, CCVMA

“veterinary medicine is a field that has always interested me. Even though it can be very challenging and complex, the ultimate reward is the satisfaction of helping the animals as well as their people.”

Stephen Atwater, DVM, MS
Diplomate, ACVIM (Oncology)

Education: Lafayette College, graduated with a BS in 1981. Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, graduated in1989. Completed Residency in Oncology and received Masters of Science degree in Clinical Sciences in 1993. Practicing Contra Costa County since 1996.

Professional Interests: Internal medicine, oncology.

Personal Interests: Family, gardening, cycling and cooking.

Professional Organizations: ACVIM, AVMA, AAHA, VCS, CCVMA

“I chose the field of oncology because I get to work with some of the most devoted and compassionate pet owners, helping them make the best decision for their animal’s cancer. This is an often satisfying aspect of a sometimes frustrating specialty. Often times, I can provide some hope, when none is expected. Although most of my patients are never cured of their cancer, they typically obtain good quality of life for the remainder of their time.”

Carl Koehler, DVM
Diplomate, ACVS

Education: Graduated from University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. Completed rotating internship in 1999 at the California Animal Hospital in West Los Angeles. Completed a surgical internship in 2001 from Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, Texas. Completed a small animal surgical residency.

Personal Interests: Biking, hiking and most outdoor activities.

Professional Organizations: AVMA, VOS, ACVS

“I have always liked the challenge of medicine and surgery, and working with animals has always been my passion.”

Katrina Hall-Essoe, DVM
Diplomate, American Veterinary Dental College

Education: Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine, graduated in 1995. Completed internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, MA. Dental Residency at Main Street Small Animal Hospital in San Diego, CA. Practicing at Encina Veterinary Hospital since 2002.

Professional Interests: Small animal dentistry, oral surgery and speaking locally and nationally about veterinary dentistry and oral surgery.

Personal Interests: Traveling, outdoor activities and spending time with her husband, 5 cats and 1 dog.

Professional Organizations: AVMA, AAHA, CCVMA, AVDS, IVAPM, National Society Phi Zeta.

“Becoming a veterinarian was a childhood dream for me. Animals have always played an important role in my life and I feel fortunate to be in a position where I can help them and their families.”

Marissa Berman, DVM
Practice Limited to Dentistry and Oral Surgery

Education: Graduated from University of Florida with a BS in Animal Science and minor in Zoology. Veterinary graduate of Western University of Health Science. Completed a 1 year Rotating Internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Long Island Veterinary Specialists in Plainview, New York.

Professional Interests: Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Personal Interests: Spending time with family and friends, Traveling

Professional Organizations: AVMA, CVMA, FVD

“Being a veterinarian has always been a passion of mine. Someone has to be able to speak for the animals when they can’t, and I enjoy being able to be that person.”

Molly Priest, DVM
Emergency Medical Director, Emergency Clinician

Education: UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine graduate of 2009. California State University Chico, sigma cumme laude BS in Biology 2005.

Professional Interests: Emergency and critical care medicine, management of head trauma and toxicological emergencies.

Personal Interests: Cooking, wine tasting, being outdoors with family and reading.

Professional Organizations: CCVMA, CVMA, VECCS

“Becoming a veterinarian was a childhood dream following a profound passion for animals. Emergency medicine quickly became my calling in part for the challenge but also the chance to help and console in an otherwise scary and critical situation for animals and their family.”

Sarah Vasend, DVM
Emergency Clinician

Education: UCLA Bioengineering 2008, UC Davis DVM 2013

Professional Interests: Emergency medicine, surgery

Personal Interests: SCUBA Diving, traveling, spending time with my family, friends, 2 dogs and 3 cats

Professional Organizations: AVMA, CVMA

“I wanted to become a veterinarian because I think medicine is interesting and I love animals. I enjoy emergency medicine because I like helping patients and their owners when they need it most.”

Jennifer Hamm, DVM
Emergency Clinician

Education: Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida w/a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1998; The Royal College of Veterinary Medicine in London, England, 2003

Professional Interests: Emergency and critical care veterinary medicine

Personal Interests: Traveling, yoga, baking, and gardening

Professional Organizations: AVMA, VECCS

“I was born an animal lover and fell in love with science at school. Becoming a veterinarian was a great way for me to combine these loves and I’ve never considered doing anything else. Working shifts at a local ER my 3rd year in practice led me to discover my passion for emergency and critical care medicine.”

Jennifer Lew, DVM
Emergency Clinician

Education: Animal Science, BS from UC Davis 2011. UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine graduate of 2015.

Professional Interests: Emergency medicine, surgery

Personal Interests: Spending time with family, cooking, traveling

Professional Organizations: CVMA

“I have always had a great love for my own pets and wanted to help other pet owners with their pets, when they weren’t feeling well. My goal every day is to do right by both the pet and the owner – the animal-human relationship is very important.”

Karen Sorenson, DVM
Emergency Clinician

Education: Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology BS from UC Davis in 2011; DVM from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2016

Professional Interests: emergency medicine, wildlife rehabilitation

Personal Interests: hiking, birding & spending time with family

Professional Organizations: CVMA

“I chose to become a veterinarian because I’ve always wanted to combine my love of animals and interest in medicine.”

Damion Walters, DVM
Emergency Clinician

Education: Bachelors Degree from California Polytechnic University in Pomona California; UC Davis Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine

Professional Interests: Emergency medicine

Personal Interests: Weightlifting, basketball, cultural dances (especially Salsa and Bachata)

Professional Organizations: CVMA

“I really enjoy the challenges and complexities of veterinary medicine. Ironically I only had small rodents growing up (chinchillas and rats) and it wasn’t until my 3rd year of vet school that I adopted my cat (who was also my first surgical patient).”

Jackie Russell, DVM
Emergency Clinician

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Colorado College; Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from UC Davis; small animal rotating internship East Bay Veterinary Specialists & Emergency

Professional Interests: Surgery, trauma, wound management, autoimmune diseases

Personal Interests: Long distance running, back country skiing, stand up paddle boarding, tennis, training dogs (Peat, Poncho, and Mazie), spending quality time with cats (Stanley, Satchel, and Gepetto)

Professional Organizations: CVMA, AVMA

“I have always been interested in medicine and I have always loved animals. I wanted to combine these two passions into a career that challenges me daily and allows me to help pet owners and patients alike. If you find the right career that brings you joy, you never have to ‘work’ a day in your life, and that is was veterinary medicine is to me.”