Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology)
Dr. 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.
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Dr. 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.
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Radiology
Dr. 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!
Since 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 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 Specialists
Darlene 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.
Bio Coming Soon
Certified Veterinary Technicians
Luke 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.
Dina 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.
Danette 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.
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 (Ryder, Basil, and Myka), who fit into the family perfectly. Jessie joined Desert Veterinary Medical Specialists in 2012 and is a great asset to our team. 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, playing disc golf, and going to the pool or reading on the sideline.
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.
Bio coming soon
I 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.
Kenny, preferably known as Kenneth, was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He moved to Yuma, Arizona when he was 15. After high school Kenneth moved to Colorado to attend college where he graduated with his Associates in Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from Bel-rea. Kenneth's background consists of General Practice, Emergency, and Speciality Medicine. He had been certified on Colorado since 2013 and recently became certified in Arizona. He has been with DVMS since July 2015. In his free time he enjoys sports, traveling and visiting local breweries.
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. My husband Chris and I have 3 furry family members. Our dog Dodger, 1 Cat Spaztaztic, and 1 Guinea pig. In my free time I enjoy crocheting, hooping, reading, and practicing my violin. I have been with DVMS since July 2015.
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.
Nicole 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.