Get to know our speakers and learn more about their backgrounds and areas of specialty.
Virend Somers, MD, Ph.D
Dr. Somers is a professor of medicine and a consultant in the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Nephrology and Hypertension at Mayo Clinic. He is also a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic. He is a world-recognized expert in sleep apnea and the physiology of sleep and cardiac disease.
Jon Tippin, MD, FAAN, FAASM
Dr. Tippin received his medical degree from the Oregon Health and Sciences University, and completed his Neurology residency and Clinical Neurophysiology fellowship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He is currently a Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa and serves as Director of the Sleep/EEG Laboratory at the Iowa City VACHS. Dr. Tippin is board certified in Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology and Sleep Medicine. His research interest is studying the impact of OSA on driving performance, and has co-authored several papers on the subject. When not working, Dr. Tippin can often be found sailing, either on local lakes, or more challenging venues, such as the Pacific Ocean, or Gulf of Mexico.
Casey Burg, MD
Dr. Burg is a native of South Dakota. He was born and raised in Wessington Springs. He attended South Dakota State University for undergrad and earned his medical degree from the University of South Dakota. He underwent pediatric residency at the Navy Medical Center, San Diego. Dr. Burg served as a flight surgeon and pediatrician in the Navy before moving to Colorado where he completed fellowships in pediatric pulmonary and sleep medicine. He retired at the rank of Commander from the U.S. Navy Reserve and joined the sleep and pulmonary staff at Children's Hospital in Omaha where he is the director of the Sleep Disorders Center. He is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and also serves as assistant director of the Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program there.
Jennifer James, RPSGT, RST, PHR
Jennifer James is the Managing Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Overland Park Regional Medical Center in Overland Park, KS. She is a Registered Polysomnography Technologist, a member of the BRPT and has over 20 years of clinical sleep medicine experience. She currently is a member of the board of directors for the Kansas Association of Sleep Professionals (KASP). She has worked in a number of settings including hospitals bases and independently owned Sleep Centers. She has functioned in a variety of roles in the sleep field including: an A-STEP program, providing accreditation oversight, DME, marketing and sales. She has hired and/or trained over 75 sleep technologists, most of whom went on to become registered and have successful careers in the field. She is a founding member of Sleep Review Magazine's editorial advisory board. She has written several articles about sleep and the sleep management field including: an original case study about PLMS, successful mentorship of the sleep technologist, and achieving CPAP compliance.
Jeffrey Boyle, MD
Dr. Boyle is the newest member of the Avera Neuroscience team. Dr. Boyle is from Dakota Dunes, SD. After attending medical school at The University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE., he completed his neurology residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, IA. He also spent one year of additional subspecialty training in Sleep Medicine. Dr. Boyle is board certified and joined Neurology Associates in 2014.
Scott Barth, RRT, RPSGT
Scott Barth has been in the role of ResMed clinical specialist for the upper Midwest for the past two years. Prior to working for ResMed, Scott worked as an RRT for 10+ years and also worked in sleep medicine for 10+ years.
Rizan Hajal, MD, FCCP
Rizan Hajal is American Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Sleep Medicine and Critical Care Medicine. He received his medical degree from Saint-Joseph University School of Medicine in Beirut, Lebanon. He completed his internship at the University of New York Stoney Brooke. He completed a fellowship in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at Columbia University St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, NY. He has been in private practice since 2005 at Pulmonary and Sleep Consultants in Sioux Falls, SD
The Sioux Falls Sleep Center is led by Dr. Rizan Hajal. Dr. Hajal has been actively involved in sleep medicine since 1999, taking part in more than 20,000 sleep studies. With his double board certification from the American Board of Sleep Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine Subspecialty Board in Sleep Medicine, Dr. Hajal has achieved one of the highest distinctions among sleep specialists.
Renee Fitzhugh, BA, RPSGT
Renee Fitzhugh learned EEG principles while attending Drake University in the research department in psychology. Her degree in Psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology then led her to begin on a career path in sleep disorders medicine in 1994. She has since worked as a night tech, lab manager, technical director, clinical sales staffer, business development director, and now lab owner. Through her years of experience she has been witness to many different types of patient reactions to the sleep study process and even more variation in the way technicians respond to them. She has had the privilege of learning from many technicians and managers. Renee hopes with this knowledge to bring some general principles that everyone can use to make our interactions with our patients have the best outcomes possible.
Jacquelyn Larsen, Ph.D
Dr. Larsen is a licensed psychologist with over 30 years of experience in diverse settings which include premier hospitals, multi-disciplinary clinics, residential treatment programs, private practice and both forensic and university settings. Currently, her practice focuses on working with adults who have trauma histories, those struggling with depression and anxiety as well as those challenged with infertility issues. She also enjoys her role as a consultant in a variety of capacities with others in the healthcare industry.
Dr. Larsen received her bachelors and masters degrees from Iowa State University and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa. With a strong background in cognitive behavioral therapy and an eclectic integrative approach, Dr. Larsen adapts the best treatments to suit the needs and strengths of each individual client.
Snigdha Sagar, MD
Snigdha Pusalavidyasagar did her residency in Internal Medicine. She worked for two years with Dr. Virend Somers in the Cardiovascular Physiology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN and completed a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Sleep Medicine. She is currently an Assitant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota in the Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care/Sleep Medicine. She is a medical director for the sleep center in Hutchinson, MN. Her research interests include sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease.