86 W. Juniper Avenue
Gilbert, AZ 85233
Phone: 480-635-1110 ext. 7

Meet Our Team

Our Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists team looks forward to caring for your pets. Our entire staff of doctors, veterinary technicians and staff are animal lovers and we promise to care for each pet as they are our own furry family members. 

Doctors

Whit Church, DVM - Cardiology

Whit ChurchDr. Church earned his veterinary degree from Oregon State University in 2002. After graduation he completed a one-year internship at Cornell University followed by a cardiology residency and Master of Science degree at the University of Illinois. He finished the last year of his residency at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Church moved to Arizona with his family in 2006 to provide specialized cardiology services. He enjoys partnering with primary care veterinarians to care for patients and their families throughout the region. His special areas of interest include pericardial diseases, echocardiography, and interventional cardiovascular procedures. Dr. Church received a number of grants and awards which include: the ACVIM Cardiology Resident Research Grant, the University of Illinois Small Animal Departmental Research Grant, and the Salsbury Scholarship. He lectures all over the country at both national and local continuing education conferences. Dr. Church is also a founding member of the Cardiac Education Group.

 

Melissa Riensche, DVM - Internal Medicine

Dr. Melissa RienscheDr. Riensche received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University in 2004. After graduation she completed a one-year rotating internship at VCA Animal Referral and Emergency Center of Arizona. Dr. Riensche then continued her training in internal medicine with a residency at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Following her residency, Dr. Riensche relocated back to Phoenix to join the staff of Arizona Veterinary Internal Medicine, and is one of four partners in Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists. She has particular interests in nephrology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, respiratory medicine, and endocrine diseases. She shares her home with her husband Brian, 2 dogs named Hunter and Barrett Jackson, and 1 cat named Shelby. In her spare time she enjoys sharing a comfy spot with her pets while reading, hiking and biking, interior decorating, and art projects. 

 

Victoria L. Heffelman, DVM - Radiology

Dr. Victoria HeffelmanDr. Heffelman is a native of Colorado and received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University in 2004, where she quickly discovered her love for all things in radiology.  After graduation, she completed a small animal medicine and surgery rotating internship at a private practice in Colorado followed by an additional year in private practice as an associate veterinarian.  Dr. Heffelman then completed a diagnostic imaging residency at Michigan State University in 2009, and became board certified later that year. She and her husband moved back to the West for the mountains, sun, and great climate. She was excited to join Arizona Veterinary Specialists and, soon thereafter, to become a partner in Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists. Her special areas of interest include abdominal ultrasound, CT, and nuclear medicine. She lives with her husband Richard, Welsh Corgie named Quinn, and tabby cat, Piccolo, and enjoys traveling, spending time with family, movies, hiking, and enjoying all that Arizona and the southwest has to offer!

Administration

Kathy Wilson, CVT - Practice Manager

Kathy 150x225Since she was a child, Kathy knew she wanted to work with animals. In high school she was involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America) and grew up with a variety of family pets. As Kathy began her career, she found herself in management in the retail and food industry. But her passion for the animals motivated her to move into veterinary medicine where she has worked for 18 years. Beginning as a veterinary technician, Kathy continued to pursue additional training and responsibilities and now enjoys business administration by working as a practice manager. Outside of work Kathy enjoys playing softball, reading, and spending time with her husband and two daughters as well as her family pets, 1 dog and 2 cats (all rescues).

Ashley Kedrowski, MBA, MHA - Practice Manager

AshleyAshley a native of Minnesota got sick of the cold weather and moved down to sunny Arizona in 2012. She comes to DVMS with a strong background in healthcare on the human side but has worked in many unique healthcare settings from nursing homes to health insurance networking. Ashley attained her B.A. from St. Cloud State University, an MBA from MN School of Business and her MHA from University of Phoenix. She is very excited about her new journey with Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists as Co- Practice Manager. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys hiking, cooking and relaxing in the sun with her husband and two dogs Rusty (Jack Russell) and Lila (Pug) and new kitten Margo.                                     

Customer Care

Mikaela Esquivel

mikaela 150I was born and raied in Arizona. I have always had a love for animals since I was very little, I grew up volunteering for different rescues with my mom. I have been in the veterinary field for about 3 years now. I love being outside and around the water more than anything, spend most of my time out by the lake. I have a 7 year old Pomeranian, we got her when she was 9 weeks old.
I am happy to be part of the DVMS team!

Alana Johnson
AlanaAlana has lived in Arizona her whole life. She has been in the veterinary field for 20+ years as a technician in general practice and also a client representative. She loves interacting with the clients and their pets and building a relationship with them. She came to DVMS in July of 2015 and has found her forever job here. Alana is married to Brent with 3 children, cody, Caitlin and Alexa. She has 4 dogs, Tavo, Lolam Coco and Diamond. She also has 3 cats, Demon, Booger and Luna her new addition. In her spare time, she loves spending quality time with her family, camping, swimming, anything outdoors and visiting with friends.
Darlene Wetzstein

DarDarlene is originally from East St. Paul, Minnesota, and moved to Arizona 15 years ago. Darlene has been a veterinary receptionist for 10 years and joined Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists in 2012.  We are happy to have her as part of our team as she is always smiling and enjoys assisting our clients and patients. She is married to Lyn, with two great girls, Krissy and Tina. She has a black lab named Shaynaynay, a chocolate lab grand-dog named Sadie, and has had the experience of owning and riding horses.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading and riding motorcycles.

 

Certified Veterinary Technicians

Danette Alley, CVT

DanetteDanette grew up in Montana and graduated from the University of Montana with a BS in Business Management. She moved to Arizona in 1994 and worked for several years as an Office Manager before deciding to change career paths. She attended and completed the Veterinary Technology program at Pima Medical Institute and has been working as a technician in general practice since 2004. She joined the Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists team in August of 2012 and thoroughly enjoys working in our Internal Medicine department. We are fortunate to have her on our team, as she always has a positive and determined attitude. Danette currently has 1 cat, Wyle, and 2 dogs, Moon and Starla. She enjoys walking and training her dogs, is an avid reader and likes to spend her leisure time with her friends or relaxing at home.

Dina Berriochoa, CVT

DinaDina grew up in Chicago and moved to Arizona in 2003 to escape the Midwestern winters.  She has been working as a veterinary technician since 1997, and originally joined Arizona Veterinary Specialists in Surgery.  Two years after Dr. Church joined Arizona Veterinary Internal Medicine, now Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists, we were lucky to have Dina join us to keep Cardiology running smoothly.  Dina is such an asset since she is organized, can handle a large workload, and is always positive.  She is married to Dave, and they have two wonderful children, Sophia and Jack, and 2 pit bulls, Petunia and Violet.

Amber DeOliviera, CVT

Amber

I was raised in the military and have moved around quite a bit. My family settled in Arizona, in which I attended Pima Community College in Tucson for my Associates in Veterinary Technology. I have been working as a Technician for about 10 years throughout the US. I just recently relocated back home to Arizona from New Mexico after being away for 8 years. I have two pets of my own, Dodger, a German Shepherd mix and  Spaztaztic, my cat. In my free time I enjoy working out/running,crocheting, hooping, and reading. I have been with DVMS since July 2015.

Brittany Foust, CVT

I was born in Kansas, but grew up in Arizona. I started out as a CNA, then got further educated as a secretary and an EKG technician in a hospital setting. I loved the medical field and decided I would love it even more if I could incorporate animals into it, so I decided to go and enroll in Pima Medical Institute. I got hired as a Veterinary Assistant after the first part of the program, and worked in general practice for two years before eventually completing the veterinary technician program.

I got the wonderful opportunity to work with DVMS, where I have worked for one year as the lab tech. At home I have four cats (Boober, L-O-L, Mister Kitten, and T.C.), four snakes, and a dog (Bozeman). I also have a two year old son who loves animals just as much as I do.

Nicole Lauer, CVT

NicoleNicole has been a technician for 6 years. She has 2 dogs (Max and Mya) and 3 cats (Lefty, Jade and Alice). I have lived in Arizona my whole life.  I enjoy hiking and indoor rock climbing. She is engaged and lives in Gilbert. She has been with DVMS since Jan 2014.

Jennifer Miller, CVT
JenI'm an Arizona native, grew up in Tempe. I went to college in Oregon but missed the sunshine so after 2 1/2 years, I moved back to Arizona. I love animals and decided I wanted a career working with them. I have been a veterinary technician since 2003. I currently have 4 dogs (Cosmo, Sage, Blackie and Foxy) and 1 cat (Buckaroo). I have a wonderful husband and son. When I have free time, I enjoy hiking, fishing, camping and off roading.
Megan Miller, CVT

Megan 150I have lived in Arizona for 6 years, lived in Colorado for 23 years where I was born and raised. I went to school at Colorado Mountain College where I got my associates in veterinary technology and graduated in 2009. Prior to that I worked in general practice for 2 years in Colorado, and then worked in general practice here in Arizona for 5 years before joining the DVMS team. I share my home with a chihuahua named beret, three cats ( Smokey,Penelope, and Maverick) and a boyfriend named Kyle. I have been with DVMS since Sept. 2014.

 

Luke Morford, CVT

LukeLuke is from Connecticut with Midwestern ties and got his BS in Animal Science from Cornell University in 1995. He worked as a veterinary technician in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for 4 1/2 years before jumping into the culinary field.  After 8 years working as a professional chef, he happily returned to veterinary medicine with Arizona Veterinary Internal Medicine, now Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists, and couldn't be happier.  We are happy to have Luke as part of our team, as he is always willing to help, can anticipate what we need, and loves his clients and their pets.  He currently lives with two active 3 year old dogs - Deimos and Sherman.  He loves to travel and hike and has visited Russia, Italy, and spent a semester of college in Sydney, Australia.

 

Jessie Nelson, CVT, VTS (Nutrition)

Jessie

Jessie is originally from North Dakota but grew up primarily in Rapid City, SD. She graduated in 2009 with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science with an emphasis in veterinary technology. While in school, she acquired her first dog, Sage, who was a patient the students practiced on and Jessie formed a special bond with. After graduation, she worked in general practice in South Dakota and moved to Arizona in 2010 with Sage and one cat, Ivy.  She has since acquired 3 more dogs and 1 cat (Sadie, Basil, Myka and Lil' Petey Pablo), who fit into the family perfectly. Jessie joined Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists in 2012 and is a great asset to our team.  She has a special interest in nutrition and is considered our in-house nutrition guru. Jessie is outgoing, friendly, and her attitude and kindness really show that she loves what she does. In her free time she loves to be outside with her pets, riding her bicycle, and swimming with her dogs in the pool or reading on the sideline.

Jill Tiemens, CVT

Jill Jill grew up in Michigan and Utah, where she attended the University of Utah as a biology major. After relocating to Arizona, she earned her Vetrinary Technician Certification and has been working in animal hospitals ever since. Jill joined DVMS in 2013 and enjoys being in the Radiology department, continually learning new things with CT and ultrasound. In her spare time she enjoys swimming, hiking, walking her dog, reading and movies. She shares her home with her cats, her Shihtzu Charlie and her daughter, Sara.

Veterinary Technicians

Katie Herlehy

Katie Katie was born in Germany and, as a military child, has lived in many places throughout the U.S.  Her family eventually settled in Arizona. She has wanted to work with animals since she was a child when she discovered her dog loved her back rubs! She completed a nursing and veterinary technician program through her high school and began work as a veterinary technician in 2004. She joined Arizona Veterinary Internal Medicine, now Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists, in 2007. She has loved learning more about Internal Medicine every day and we love that she is so sweet and caring to our clients and patients! Katie and her wonderful husband, Sean, have 3 dogs, Red, Seamus and Camber, and 2 cats, Wesley and Butters.  Recently, they have added 2 new member to their family – a son, Izaak, and a daughter Khloe. We  are sure Izaak and Khloe will love animals as much as their parents. In her spare time, Katie enjoys going out to eat, watching movies, and riding dirt bikes with her husband.

Marta Garcia

MartaMy name is Marta; I was born and raised in California. I moved to Arizona in 2016 with my husband and our 3 boys. I aslo have 2 Pomeranians, Nuve and Teddy Bear as well as a Pitbull named Mocha. I have been in the veterinary field for over 7 years now and to me being a technician is not a job, but a passion. I am currently attending school to become a Certified Veterinary Technician as well. Having the blessing of being able to help patients as well as their families has been amazing. I have learned so much in this field and know there is much more to be learned. I have the joy to say Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists has given me the opportunity to be part of their family, which I am so thankful for. 

Contact Us

Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists
86 W. Juniper Avenue
Gilbert, AZ 85233

Phone: 480-635-1110 ext. 7
Fax: 480-365-0641

DVMS Logo 182x100

Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists
located in the Arizona Veterinary Specialists Building

86 W. Juniper Avenue
Gilbert, AZ 85233
Phone: 480-635-1110 ext. 7
Fax: 480-365-0641
Contact Us

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