Orthopedic Physician Assistants

Muir Orthopaedic Specialists’ physician assistants are licensed healthcare professionals trained in performing comprehensive procedures and formulating treatment plans for orthopedic problems. Our physician assistants emphasize the prevention of illness and the promotion of health. In addition to health teaching and counseling, they can perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, assist in surgery, evaluate and clarify clinical conditions, prescribe and administer medication, and evaluate, screen and counsel patients on health maintenance. Physician assistants are individually licensed by the state in which they practice.

Brooke Aber, MS, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Lee

Brooke Aber

About Brooke

Brooke has been practicing as a surgical physician assistant for more than 15 years, initially joining Muir Ortho in 2002. She primarily works with Dr. Steven Lee in spine surgery. She graduated from Chicago Medical School in 2000 with a Master of Health Science degree and her physician assistant degree. Prior to that, Brooke earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

She is a caring and compassionate listener, and prides herself on her ability to put patients at ease with the stress of upcoming surgery or the unknowns of a new diagnosis. She treats her patients as she would treat her own family. In her spare time she can be found spending time with her family and friends, staying active with her kids’ baseball or soccer teams, as well as traveling, cooking and being in the great outdoors.

What patients say

"The PA Brooke Aber was amazing! I couldn't have had a more pleasant experience. She was so welcoming and addressed my medical concern in its entirety. I look forward to seeing her in the future!" — Jenny 
Office Locations: Walnut Creek & Brentwood Request Appointment

David Brand, MPA, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Kronick

David Brand

About David

At Muir Orthopaedic Specialists, David works primarily with Dr. Murali Moorthy, seeing patients in the Walnut Creek, San Ramon and Brentwood offices. Together they practice general orthopedic surgery with a special interest in foot and ankle orthopedics. David is also a first assist in the operating room with total joint replacements, revisions, open and arthroscopic procedures and fracture care.

David began practicing as a physician assistant in 2007 after completing his master's degree in the physician assistant program at Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, CA. David completed his undergraduate studies at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and received a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences with an emphasis in anatomy and physiology. His enthusiasm for sports medicine and orthopedics developed through his involvement in high school, collegiate and club sports. Compassionate and committed, David strives to provide excellent medical care, guidance and support to patients throughout the process of diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

What patients say

"David Brand, PA-C, took his time to listen to my reason for making an appointment about my foot. He explained the examination as he went through the analysis. He was patient with my questions and thorough in his explanation. I did not feel hurried and he was gentle in administering the shots I received. Most of all he was patient and kind." — Jeffry-Lynn Dunne
Office Locations: Walnut Creek & Brentwood Request Appointment

Jonathan Coniglio, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Tischenko

Jonathan Coniglio

About Jonathan

Jonathan received his physician assistant degree at Samuel Merritt University. He is also a certified athletic trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is motivated by being able to help people who are in need, and has always had an interest in how the body allows people to perform movements, from brushing their teeth to participating in physical activities. He is most proud of being able to apply his knowledge of the human body to help people stay as active as they can be.

Jonathan is an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends most of his free time enjoying the East Bay area. On weekends he can be found hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and taking road trips. He also enjoys seafood and all of the great restaurants in the Bay Area.

What patients say

"Very impressed with Jonathan Coniglio, Dr. Tischinko's PA. He really zeroed in on the cause of my knee ache." —Barb B.
Office Locations: Walnut Creek & Brentwood Request Appointment

Emily Crow, PA-C, MPAS

Care Team: Dr. Crow

Emily Crow

About Emily

Emily Crow received her Bachelor of Science and physician assistant certificate from St. Louis University and her master’s degree in physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Emily has experience assisting in the operating room, caring for patients in hospital and outpatient settings, and performing routine diagnostic exams and therapeutic injections. Emily works closely with her supervising physicians to provide the highest quality of specialty care.

According to Emily, the most rewarding part about her job is being able to watch patients transform from a disabling state to moving without pain. Emily enjoys being able to take the time to educate patients and their families about the details of orthopedic diagnoses and surgical procedures. In her spare time Emily enjoys competing in triathlons, running and cycling events. Most people don’t know that Emily has Type 1 diabetes and rides 100 miles in the Tour de Cure every year to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.

What patients say

"Dr.Crow and Emily are real people and demonstrate a real concern for your well being! Very well educated and a perfect fit for me!" —Bill Sardella
Office Locations: Concord Request Appointment

Michael Garcia, MHS, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Moorthy

Michael Garcia

About Michael

Michael joined Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in 2016 and is a Bay Area native. He is a certified physician assistant (PA) who specializes in general orthopedics, foot and ankle, sports injuries and fractures. Michael received his Master of Health Sciences and physician assistant training from Duke University and his Bachelor of Science in physiology from San Francisco State University.

Michael enjoys establishing relationships with his patients and watching them progress through their pain or injury and returning to their regular activities.

Outside of the office, Michael enjoys hiking and cycling. He also enjoys traveling whether that be an international trip or a long weekend on his motorcycle. Michael is also fluent in Spanish.

Office Locations: Walnut Creek & Brentwood Request Appointment

Jessica Garner Sonkin, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Michlitsch

photo-PA-jessica-garner-sonkin

About Jessica

Jessica Garner Sonkin joined Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in 2017 and primarily works with Dr. Michlitsch in the Walnut Creek and San Ramon locations. She earned her BA in neuroscience from Scripps College in 2009 and has been a PA since 2014.

Jessica grew up playing sports and chose to work in orthopedics because she believes feeling good when we move is a hugely important part of our everyday lives, and orthopedics helps us to be and feel our best. Jessica has a love of helping people get better, finding a solution to their problem and working together to improve their mobility. The most rewarding part of her job is connecting with her patients and bridging the gap between surgery and clinic visits.

In her free time Jessica loves to read, hike, cook, watch movies and enjoy the California sunshine. She is also a self-proclaimed travel junkie and has been all over the world, from Uruguay to Laos.

Office Locations: Walnut Creek & San Ramon Request Appointment

Gayle Fenner, MPA, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Fulkerson

Gayle Fenner

About Gayle

At MOS, Gayle primarily works with Dr. Eric Fulkerson in orthopedic trauma. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and a minor in biology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She completed her master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Samuel Merritt. Gayle understands the importance of doing everything she can to get patients back to their previous level of activity. She loves working with patients through the recovery process after having a broken bone or major trauma and coming up with a treatment plan that is tailored to their specific injury. Her enthusiasm and compassion for patients stems from a love of sports, having played in various team sports growing up and being treated for her own orthopedic injuries. Through these experiences, she developed a desired to treat injuries and help patients.

In addition to working at MOS, Gayle lives an active lifestyle. She volunteers in her free time to work with area youth and travels for volunteer medical trips. Gayle also enjoys snowboarding, dirt biking, wakeboarding, hiking and camping.

Office Locations: Walnut Creek & Brentwood Request Appointment

Bridget Garrehy, MPA, PA-C ATC

Care Team: Dr. Wiseman

Bridget Garrehy

About Bridget

Bridget joined Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in the spring of 2012 after completing her master's degree in the physician assistant program at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA. Bridget completed her undergraduate studies at San Diego State University, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and nutritional sciences/kinesiology with an emphasis in athletic training.

Bridget is a San Ramon Valley native and began her sports medicine career working at Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in the Physical Therapy department. Her passion for sports medicine and orthopedics continued to grow while working at her alma mater, Monte Vista High School, as the head athletic trainer for the football team. Bridget works primarily with Dr. Craig Wiseman, practicing general orthopedic surgery with a special interest in total joint replacement, trauma and sports medicine. Bridget used to play lacrosse and currently enjoys CrossFit and Pilates. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys watching professional sports.

What patients say

"Bridget Garrehy, PA-C was great in checking me out and then explaining what was the root cause of my pain and reduce motion. The cortisone shot was effective: my pain and range of motion has improved. I am completing my rehabilitation and expect to regain motion and strength very soon." — Jay C. Office Locations: Walnut Creek & Brentwood Request Appointment

Christine Martinez, PA-C, MPAP

Care Team: Dr. Toma

Christine Martinez

About Christine

Christine joined Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in February 2013. She primarily works with Dr. Louay Toma in general orthopedics with an emphasis on hip and knee replacement. She assists in surgery and also enjoys treating patients in clinic, providing thorough patient care and education.

Christine has been working as an orthopedic PA since 2007, assisting in total knee and hip replacements and knee and shoulder arthroscopy. Since 2008, she has focused on patient care in the clinic and assisting in shoulder arthroscopy for difficult rotator cuff repairs and shoulder instability, as well as total shoulder and reverse total shoulder replacements. She brings a wealth of experience to Muir Orthopaedic Specialists. Christine obtained her master's degree in physician assistant practice from the University of Southern California in 2004. Originally from the Bay Area, she received her Bachelor of Science in human development from UC Davis.

Christine played sports throughout her academic career and has a great respect for orthopedic medicine and getting patients back to their active lifestyle. She enjoys spending time with her family and continues to stay active with CrossFit exercise, volleyball and dance.

What patients say

"Christine is one of the best PA's I've had help me and this is my 4th surgery. She not only was knowledgeable but compassionate, easy to talk to, and obviously dedicated to her profession--more a vocation." — Rev. Gordon Kalil
Office Locations: Walnut Creek Request Appointment

Rick Nolley, PA-C, MSPAS, MPH, CF-L1

Care Team: Dr. Bader

Rick Nolley

About Rick

Rick joined Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in 2016 as an assistant to Dr. Semon Bader in sports medicine. He grew up in Oakland and is a certified physician assistant (PA) and CrossFit trainer/coach. He earned dual master’s degrees in physician assistant sciences and public health at Touro University California in Vallejo, California in 2010. He obtained his Bachelor of Science from Howard University in 1997 in Washington, DC. He spent six years in private practice as an orthopedics spine surgical PA before transitioning to sports medicine.

Rick, together with Dr. Bader, specializes in sports medicine with an emphasis on shoulders and knees, treating patients of all ages. He appreciates having the opportunity to interact with patients and their families during the treatment process. He also enjoys being able to directly help improve patients' conditions as a surgical assistant.

Outside of the office, Rick is an avid fan and participant in CrossFit. He has competed in several local competitions and recently become a certified trainer and coach. He appreciates and believes in the benefits of physical fitness and its impact on quality of life and longevity. Rick also enjoys music, traveling, dining out and spending time with family.

Office Locations: Walnut CreekBrentwood & Concord Request Appointment

Julie Pryde, MPA, PA-C, PT, OCS, SCS, ATC

Care Team: Dr. Miranda

Julie Pryde

About Julie

Julie has been working at Muir Orthopaedic Specialists since 2001 as a physician assistant with Dr. Ramiro Miranda. She sees patients in our Walnut Creek location and assists in surgery.

As a physical therapist, Julie was one of the first physical therapists in the nation to be board certified by the ABPTS in both orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Julie received her undergraduate degree from Saint Mary's College and her physical therapy degree from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After working for 10 years as a physical therapist and athletic trainer for a number of physical therapy clinics & local colleges, Julie returned to school to pursue her master's degree in the physician assistant program at Samuel Merritt University. Julie also worked in graduate education as an adjunct associate professor at Samuel Merritt University teaching a variety of courses in musculoskeletal medicine. She has written a number of chapters in orthopedic textbooks including those on tissue healing and inflammation, meniscal injuries, abdominal injuries, total joint replacement and fracture management. She was recently honored by her alma mater, Saint Mary's College, by having an award for the top graduating health science major named in her honor.

She has treated athletes at all levels - high school, collegiate, professional and Olympians - and has worked both at the Olympics as well as with World Cup Soccer. Julie enjoys travel, weight training and running with her Australian Cattledog, Jake.

What patients say

"J. Pryde, PA, took the time to listen carefully to my story. She heard when I stated how far I lived from their facility and made arrangements so I could have prompt care while I was in the vicinity. I really appreciated it, I have never experienced that compassion before. Truly moved by the initiative." — Dianna
Office Locations: Walnut Creek Request Appointment

Megan Smith, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Kou

Megan Smith

About Megan

Megan started at Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in November of 2014 after finishing her studies at University of California, Davis’ physician assistant program. Megan majored in kinesiology focusing in pre-physical therapy and exercise physiology at Sonoma State University. There she worked hard to receive the honor of cum laude.

She specializes in foot and ankle treatments, and loves using her knowledge of human anatomy to give people the proper tools to get back to their full potential.

She is an East Bay native who attended Miramonte High School. It was her work as a student athletic trainer with Mats football that led her to become interested in the healthcare field. In her free time Megan is found cheering on Giants baseball, in the kitchen experimenting with recipes or enjoying the outdoors. She competes in Hunter-Jumpers and looks forward to horseback riding more often now that she’s back in the Bay Area.

What patients say

"Megan was GREAT! She was very nice to deal with. She explained what was going on in an easy to understand manner and was very patient explaining to me and my daughter how to manage the problem." — Katya
Office Locations: Walnut Creek & San Ramon Request Appointment

Zachary T. Symmes, MSPA, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Qureshi

Zachary Symmes

About Zachary

Zachary joined Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in 2015. He primarily works with Dr. Abid Qureshi specializing in spine orthopedic pathology. He sees new patients, rechecks postoperative patients and assists in surgery.

Zachary has a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Western University of Health Sciences and a bachelor’s degree in biology from San Diego State University where he graduated summa cum laude.

A natural Mr. Fix-it type, Zachary loves human anatomy, building projects and working with his hands. This drive also extends to his interest in helping patients recover from surgery or injury and live healthy lifestyles.

His foundation for health began with personal training. He enjoys a variety of sports, including Tough Mudder runs, rock climbing, tennis and mountain biking. When not working, he can be found hiking with his wife and dog, cheering for the San Francisco Giants or working on cars in his garage.

Office Locations: Walnut Creek & San Ramon Request Appointment

Joe Torres MPA, PA-C

Care Team: Dr. Lewis

Joe Torres

About Joe

Joe Torres joined Muir Orthopaedic Specialists in 2005 as a physician assistant with Dr. Donald Lewis. He enjoys treating patients and seeing them quickly return to an active work and home life. Since he joined the team, he has gained valuable professional skills that will enhance his ability to assist with patient care. He is courteous and treats his patients with respect. Joe's enthusiasm and caring personality complement his expertise by adding a personal touch that is as reassuring as it is therapeutic. The challenges of orthopedic health care delivered in the 21st century bring opportunity for efficiency and great potential for creativity; Joe is up to the challenge.

What patients say

"Joe, like Dr. Lewis, always takes time to hear my concerns and answers them with eye/eye contact. Always offers options and explains each. Both are the best!!!" — Casilda Gonzales
Office Locations: Walnut Creek & San Ramon Request Appointment

Tiffany Waters, PA-C, MMS, ATC

Care Team: All Doctors

Tiffany Waters

About Tiffany

Tiffany has been working at Muir Orthopaedic Specialists since 2004 as a physician assistant. She is a first assist in the operating room with total joint replacements, revisions, open and arthroscopic procedures and fracture care.

Tiffany completed her Master of Medical Science degree in physician assistant studies at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona, before joining MOS. Her master's program was clinical studies based and focused on orthopedics. She completed her undergraduate studies at Azusa Pacific University and received a Bachelor of Arts in physical education with an emphasis in athletic training. Tiffany obtained her national certification as an athletic trainer in 2000; she utilizes this training to educate and assist patients in rehabilitation and prevention of injuries.

What patients say

"She took the time to explain X-ray results visually. Very thorough and understanding. Compassionate and a good listener. Answered all my questions completely." — Myra
Office Locations: Walnut Creek Request Appointment