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Joanne De Howitt, MD

Jennifer Gaston​Hometown: Maple Valley, WA
Medical School: University of Washington

I’m a West-sider turned East-sider through my medical school education. I grew up in the small town of Maple Valley, WA, in the same house for most of my life. When I was little, I was enamored with animals and wanted to be a vet or a cosmetologist. I loved playing The Sims with my sisters, trying my hand at makeup artistry, and feeding buffalo at the Olympic Game Farm with my family.

As I got older, I was witness to my mom’s chronic pain and her journey through medical care, which inspired me to switch to human medicine to help people cope with the complex realities of our seemingly delicate yet simultaneously resilient biology. I received my Neuroscience degree at Washington State University. After some time in military medical research, I attended the University of Washington School of Medicine here in Spokane. I explored my therapeutic interests through psychiatry electives, crisis lines, safe syringe exchange programs, and perinatal substance use disorder research. I have many passions in psychiatry: I am particularly interested in working with people through transformative life transitions, including emerging adulthood and pregnancy.

Outside of my career, I love playing horror video games with my friends, having Bob Ross paint nights, and spending time with my family, including my cat and chinchilla. I am so excited to complete my psychiatry training in Spokane. I could not and cannot imagine a more meaningful and exciting way to be present with patients.

Mike Messina, MD

Jennifer Gaston​​Hometown: Gardiner, MT
Medical School: University of Washington

My name is Mike, and I am originally from the small mountain town of Gardiner, Montana. I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home before pursuing my undergraduate degree in Microbiology from Montana State University. I chose to major in microbiology after learning about the impact of societal stigma caused by infectious diseases and this sparked my interest in HIV research. Upon completing my degree, I received a two-year Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award at the National Institutes of Health. During my time there, I conducted research focused on HIV vaccine development and monoclonal antibodies at the Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

After completing my research, I attended the University of Washington School of Medicine, where I earned my MD degree. During medical school, I enjoyed volunteering as an adaptive ski instructor for people with mental and physical disabilities and completed a research project on HIV DNA immunoconjugates. On my clinical rotations, I realized that the most meaningful encounters centered around how diseases like HIV, or traumatic life experiences impacted mental wellbeing, and I chose to specialize in Psychiatry.

When I'm not at work, I love to spend time outdoors skiing, hiking, and traveling with my wife. I'm also an avid plant enthusiast and would like to think that I have a green thumb. The other hobbies I enjoy are working on cars and playing the guitar.

What struck me the most about PRS was the warmth and enthusiasm of the faculty, staff, and residents during my interview. The goals and values of serving vulnerable people, emphasizing psychotherapy training, and fostering personal well-being matched what I was looking for in a residency program. It was apparent to me that the culture at PRS had created genuinely happy and well-rounded residents during my conversations. I am excited to call Spokane my new home and look forward to my Psychiatry training.

Monica Shannon, MD

Jennifer Gaston​​Hometown: Spokane, WA
Medical School: University of Washington

Monica (she/her) was born and raised in Spokane, WA. She attended undergrad at Oregon State majoring in biochemistry and biophysics and returned to Spokane to attend medical school at the University of Washington. She enjoys reading and spending time outdoors with her partner and golden retriever. Monica is passionate about mental health and substance use disorder treatment. She is dedicated to serving the greater Spokane community and meeting people where they are at.

Alexandra Kraft, MD

Jennifer Gaston​​​Hometown: Cut Bank, Montana
Medical School: University of Minnesota

Alex grew up in a small town in Montana 40 minutes from Glacier National Park before moving to Bozeman, MT to attend college. She then moved to Minnesota to earn her medical degree from University of Minnesota. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, downhill skiing, running, reading, doing puzzles, and spending time with her two dogs, family, and friends. She is excited to be back in the mountains.