A certified registered nurse anesthetist, Laken Kittelson, CRNA, provides anesthesia care to patients across a wide spectrum of surgical cases. A Burlington, ND, native, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from North Dakota State University, Fargo, and worked as a critical care nurse in the ICU at Sanford Health and Trinity Health. Later, she completed her Doctorate in Nursing Practice at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. A member of the North Dakota Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Laken and her husband, Collin Kittelson, have two children.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Donna Verhasselt, PA-C
Donna Verhasselt, PA-C, is a board-certified physician assistant with nearly 20 years of experience caring for patients in clinic and hospital settings. She works with patients in Trinity Health’s Pre-Admission Testing Unit, providing pre-admission testing and education to ensure the health and safety of patients as they prepare for a surgical procedure. A graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Donna received her Master of Health Sciences in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of South Alabama in Mobile. She served patients in Ohio and Arizona, and from 2007 to 2019 was associated with Trinity’s orthopedics team, where she served as first assist in the OR and managed the care of new and post-operative patients. Prior to returning to Trinity Health, she worked at Altru Health System in Grand Forks in the areas of orthopedics and neurosurgery. Donna is originally from Williston.
Christian Eby, MD
A Diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology, Christian Eby, MD, has extensive experience in both adult and pediatric anesthesia. He is highly qualified to provide safe and effective anesthesia care to ensure the comfort of patients undergoing the full range of surgical procedures. A graduate of Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School, Dr. Eby completed a pediatric residency at the University of California, San Diego, and fulfilled his anesthesiology residency at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. His training also includes advanced clinical instruction in pediatric anesthesia and pediatric critical care, which he completed at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Eby has provided pediatric anesthesia care at hospitals in California and Nevada, and in 2014 began a lengthy association with Sanford Health, providing leadership for anesthesia and critical care programs at Sanford Health in Fargo and Aberdeen, SD. Most recently he served as medical director of anesthesia services at Sage West Healthcare in Lander, WY. Dr. Eby is a member of American Society of Anesthesiologists and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society.
Diane Schmidt-Krings, MD
A member of our anesthesiology team, Diane Schmidt-Krings, MD, provides safe and effective anesthesia care to patients undergoing the full range of surgical procedures, from elective surgeries to emergency and trauma care. Dr. Schmidt-Krings has extensive experience in the medical field, having spent more than a decade practicing in the specialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery before becoming an anesthesiologist. The Minneapolis native received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota in 1995 and completed a surgical residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. She completed her fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Cleveland Clinic and spent the next 13 years providing plastic and reconstructive surgical care to patients in St. Cloud, MN, Eau Claire, WI, Fargo, ND, and Jacksonville, FL. She received her residency training in anesthesiology at West Virginia University, where she was recognized for academic excellence. Dr. Schmidt-Krings enjoys painting, camping, and spending time with her family.
Maria Li, MDCM
Maria Li MDCM, MSc, FAANS is a board-certified specialist in neurosurgery. With over 20 years of experience as an attending neurosurgeon, she brings an abundance of expertise to help patients afflicted with a wide breadth of conditions affecting the brain, spine, and peripheral nerves. Dr. Li earned her medical degree, completed her neurosurgery residency including an enfolded orthopedic spine fellowship, and earned a Master of Science in neuroscience in Montreal. Following her training at McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute, she did a post-doctoral laboratory fellowship in neurophysiology at the University of California at San Francisco and later completed a clinical fellowship in skull base and cerebrovascular surgery at the Seattle Neuroscience Institute.
She has practiced general neurosurgery in the USA for a decade, trying to improve the services available to local patients, including recently implementing a cranial neurosurgery program where none existed. Her academic career practicing, teaching, and doing clinical research spanned almost a decade in Montreal teaching hospitals affiliated with McGill University and the University of Montreal. Her neurosurgical practice consisted of 50% cranial and 50% spinal surgeries, with a focus on brain tumors.
Dr. Li is dedicated to maintaining the highest, most up to date standards, participating in the annual maintenance of certification program of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, which fosters excellence and lifelong learning. Dr. Li is a member of several medical and neurosurgical organizations. She continues to serve as a reviewer for the journal Neurosurgery.
Julius Ngaile, MD
A member of our Anesthesiology team, Dr. Ngaile provides safe and effective anesthesia care to patients undergoing the full range of surgical procedures, from elective cases to emergency/trauma. Dr. Ngaile received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, and completed his four-year Anesthesiology residency at the UC School’s Department of Anesthesia, located in Aurora. Prior to pursuing his medical career he worked as a registered nurse in Colorado and Kenya. He’s a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the American Medical Association. He enjoys swimming, soccer, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Amber Stephenson, CRNA
A certified registered nurse anesthetist, Amber Stephenson, CRNA, provides anesthesia care to patients across a wide spectrum of surgical cases. A Minot native and Minot High School graduate, she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Minot State University and joined Trinity Health, serving as a staff RN in the ICU from 2010-2013. In 2015, she received her Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia from Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth, and has been a part of our anesthesia team since 2016. A member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Amber is certified by the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists. She and her husband, Branden, have three children. They enjoy going to the lake, spending time with friends and family, traveling, and playing games.
Kristi Syverson, CRNA
A certified registered nurse anesthetist, Kristi Johnson, CRNA, provides anesthesia care to patients across a wide spectrum of surgical cases. Originally from Sidney, MT, she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Mary in Bismarck and began an extensive nursing career, practicing at hospitals in Bismarck and Sioux Falls for 11 years. In 2012, she earned her Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia from Mount Marty College’s nurse anesthesia program in Sioux Falls. A member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Kristi is certified by the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists. Fishing and camping are among her favorite activities.
Charles Wood, MD
Charles O. Wood, MD, is a board certified neurosurgeon with extensive experience providing surgical care to people with brain and spinal disorders due to disease or trauma. A graduate of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Dr. Wood completed his internship and Neurosurgery residency at Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, where he also did a year-long fellowship in Clinical Neurotrauma. He founded North Georgia Neurosurgical Associates in 1985 and spent the next two decades serving patients at Gwinnett Medical Center and other area hospitals. During his tenure there he co-developed the hospital’s Neuroscience Center and began a longstanding interest in adopting innovative approaches to neurological surgery, including minimally invasive and image-guided brain and spine surgery. In 2008 he was appointed Director of Neurosciences at Greenview Regional Hospital in Kentucky, where he also served as co-director of the Greenview Stroke Center. He joined Trinity Health in 2016. He’s a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
Areas of Neurosurgical Practice:
- Brain and Spinal Trauma
- Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
- Image-Guided Brain and Spinal Surgery
- Intracranial and Intraspinal Tumors
- Reconstruction of the Degenerative Spine
- Extra- and Intracranial Vascular Disease
- Stroke Management
Denise Zahn, CRNA
A certified registered nurse anesthetist, Denise Zahn, CRNA, provides anesthesia care to patients across a wide spectrum of surgical cases. Denise earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and received her anesthesia training at the Mayo School of Health Related Sciences in Rochester, MN. She practiced at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis for seven years and spent a year at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital in Illinois before joining Trinity Health in 1995. A member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Denise is certified by the National Board of Certification and Re-certification of Nurse Anesthetists.