Heather Bennett RN, CNOR, CRNFA
Heather Bennett is a Certified RN First Assistant and President of First Assistant Associates, Ltd. She received her degree in nursing from Northern Arizona University. Post college, Heather worked as an operating room nurse in both the general and cardiovascular operating room and attained her Certification in Operating Room Nursing (CNOR). A few years after serving as a staff nurse, she became the charge nurse, then the manager of the cardiovascular operating rooms at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. After finishing her studies in First Assisting, Heather pursued her desire to start a business, and helped pioneer RN First Assisting in Arizona.
In 1993, Heather was part of the first group of registered nurses to be nationally certified in first assisting, designated as CRNFA. The following year she started her own business with three other associates, and together they founded First Assistant Associates, LTD. She was one of the first nurses to become a member of the Allied Health staff at St. Joseph’s (Dignity Health), Good Samaritan (Banner University), and Phoenix Children's Hospital as a first assist.
Heather’s involvement in the many facets of the operating room during her career has helped her become a helpful and valuable member of the operating room team. She has experience working with many different specialties and loves her work. She is married with 6 children and has been working in the Valley as a RN First Assistant for over 25 years.
Thomas W. LeBlanc RN, BSN, CNOR, CRNFA
Tom is a native New Englander and a die-hard Boston sports fan.
He is a cum laude graduate from Norwich University BSN Nursing program.
Clinically, he started in a surgical ICU for five years before heading to the OR. Beginning in General Surgery, then transferring to Orthopedics. Tom worked in Orthopedics for twelve years before transferring to plastics. In plastics he found his home. Starting as scrub/ circulator Tom help run/manage a very busy plastics division. After a brief time Tom was offered a newly created RN first assistant position. As the plastics first assistant he assisted an average of 400 cases per year for seventeen years. He also assisted with combination reconstruction cases with Orthopedics and ENT. As part of his job he taught the Dartmouth medical students suturing techniques and other functions in the OR.
Tom lives with his wife Terry here in Phoenix. They have two sons; one here in Phoenix and one back east in NH. They also have two adorable grandchildren.
Tom brings a great deal of experience to the OR. He always has a smile on his face and goes the extra mile for his patients.
Patricia Lowell RN, CNOR, CRNFA
Pat was born and raised in Maine. She graduated from Central Maine General Hospital School of Nursing. Her work experience includes Medical Surgical (Head Nurse), Psychiatry and Surgery.
She worked as a private scrub nurse for a Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon before completing the RNFA program at Preoperative Plus Associates in 1992.
Pat was one of the original four RNFAs who formed First Assistant Associates in 1994.
Pat has her experience in a variety of specialties including Cardiovascular, Thoracic, Orthopedics, ENT, General Surgery, Colorectal, and Plastics,. She also has experience in multiple laproscopic procedures including robotics.
Pat has volunteered many times with Rotoplast International. This is the plastic surgery operation sponsored by the International Rotary Club. This group sends medical teams to third world countries to preform cleft palate procedures.
Pat has expertise in many facets of the operating room and continues to enjoy working with many different surgeons in different specialties.
Mari Contreras PA-C
Marianne Contreras, PA-C is a certified physician assistant who is dedicated to the highest standard of patient care. Her current research in Platelet Rich Plasma therapy is on the cutting edge of technology. Mari’s dedicated skillset and outstanding academic record set her apart from her peers.
Mari graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelors degree in Microbiology/Chemistry as well as previously earning her Bachelors degree in Biological Science and Marketing. She received her Masters of Science in Physician Assistant studies from Midwestern University. Mari’s diverse medical and business experience includes work in corporate regional management, microbiology, orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, and family medicine.
Mari is active in community service, serving as the volunteer team physician staff for Boulder Creek High School, High Desert Football, and several youth sport teams. She is a current member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) and the Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants (ASAPA). Mari consistently strives for exemplary patient care.
Tara Lindsey PA-C, ADN, BS
Tara Lindsey is a Physician Assistant, PA-C, who was born and raised on a dairy farm in Minnesota. Her clinical work experience as a PA-C includes, but not limited too, orthopedics, interventional radiology and urgent care.
Tara received her degree from MEDEX Northwest through the University of Washington in Seattle. Prior to becoming a PA, Tara was an RN and worked at Seattle Children’s Hospital on the post surgical floor. She also holds a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science from Minnesota State University Moorhead.
In her free time, Tara enjoys spending time outdoors. She enjoys hiking, biking and fishing. Recently she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. She hopes to continue traveling in the future, along with volunteering to third world countries and helping those less fortunate.
M-F: 9am - 5pm