Helping people gain better

control of their health

Our Physician Extenders

Dedicated to health, wellness and education

Physician Extenders play a critical role to help assure that patients are provided with the highest quality of care. Your Endocrinologist may work with a Physician Assistant (PA), Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). All three disciplines have completed bachelor’s degrees and most have a master’s degree.

The Physician Extenders at TD&E are licensed by the State of ** and can prescribe medication. All have had rigorous clinical training and have taken national board exams to certify them in their areas of expertise. They must complete a set curriculum of continuing education each year, just as your physician is required to do to maintain their license. In addition, all of our physician extenders are required to become Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE). This is done after they have acquired the required number of clinical hours to make them eligible to sit for the CDE exam.


Amanda Bonazzi


Amanda Bonazzi is an ANCC Board Certified Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Science from ** A&M University in 2003, then went on to study nursing and completed her Master of Science in Nursing at the University of ** at Austin in May of 2007. She has been a Registered Nurse since 2005 and she enjoyed working on the medical-surgical unit at Round Rock Medical Center for 2 years prior to earning her Master’s degree and joining the team at ** Diabetes &Endocrinology in January 2008. Amanda specializes in treating patients with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetes during pregnancy; she is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a certified insulin pump trainer. She also treats patients with Thyroid disorders and other endocrine pathologies. She has a passion for helping others and strives to help patients achieve optimal health and wellness.


Heather Cuevas


Heather Cuevas has been in nursing since graduating from Baylor University in 1998. She worked for several years as an Intensive Care Unit nurse in Dallas, and then as an ICU travel nurse in California and Florida. She returned to ** to attend The University of ** at Austin and finished her Master’s Degree in Nursing in 2003. She has been with Diabetes, Obesity, Thyroid & Hormone Research Center And Gynae Clinic since 2003 as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. She finished a PhD in 2013 and is an Assistant Clinical Professor at The UT School of Nursing. Heather specializes in Thyroid and hormonal disorders. She also treats patients with type 1 and type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes during pregnancy, and patients in need of insulin pump therapy.


Ashley Davila

MSN, RN, ACNS-BD, Clinical Lipid Specialist

Ashley Davila has been a registered nurse since 2003, and earned her Master’s degree in Adult Health Nursing from The University of ** at Austin in 2005. She is a licensed Clinical Nurse Specialist and joined Diabetes, Obesity, Thyroid & Hormone Research Center And Gynae Clinic in 2006. She earned the designation of Diplomate from the Accreditation Council for Clinical Lipidology and is board certified as a Clinical Lipid Specialist. Ashley also holds a Master’s Degree in Community Health and is very interested in cardiovascular disease prevention. She focuses on treating complex lipid patients and utilizes advanced lipoprotein testing as well as interprets the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) exams. In her free time she likes trail running and spending time with her family.


Seliece Dodds


Seliece is a board-certified Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. She has been in rotations at ** Diabetes & Endocrinology since 2012 as she completed her Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of ** at Austin. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a Registered Nurse in long-term care, rehab and urgent care. Her passion is seeing people effectively self-care for chronic disease. She has enjoyed her experience focused on metabolic/endocrine illnesses such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Thyroid disorders and vitamin deficiencies. She also has experience volunteering with various medical programs to reach underserved communities, including Austin’s Hope Clinic as well as overseas efforts in Kenya, the Sudan and Haiti. Prior to nursing, Seliece obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from the McCombs School of Business and has found her niche in the technical-sided aspect of Endocrinology (e.g. insulin pumps). As a native of **, she holds some Longhorn pride, loves the Austin outdoors (where the hills feel like mountains compared to Houston), and will take advantage of any opportunity to travel.


Holli Esteban


Holli Esteban holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of ** at Austin.She is a Clinical Nurse Specialist and a Nationally Certified Diabetes Educator. Holli works with patients with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, gestational Diabetes and is also certified in Insulin Pump therapy and in Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems. Holli is credentialed by ANCC as an Advanced Practice Nurse in Adult Health and worked as a Med-Surg nurse at St. David’s Hospital and with Seton’s Diabetes Education department before earning her Master’s degree. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society in Nursing and was a finalist for most outstanding graduate student in her graduating class. In addition, Holli is fluent in Spanish, which has proven to be very useful here with Austin’s Spanish-speaking Diabetic community. She has been working with ** Diabetes & Endocrinology since 2002. She has lived abroad in England, Belgium, France, Israel, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Spain. Her passions are traveling, exercise and spending time with her husband from Spain, their three daughters and extended family. She finally settled in ** in 1995 and appreciates the warmer weather and renowned friendliness of Texans.


Carole George


Carole George is a long-time resident of west ** and graduated from New Mexico State University with her Master’s Degree in Nursing. She is a credentialed Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist and a Certified Diabetes Educator. Her background includes emergency medicine, hospice nursing, hospital and Diabetes case management and Diabetes education. She specializes in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes during pregnancy, insulin pump therapy and glucose sensors. Since joining ** Diabetes &Endorcinology in early 2009, she also works with Thyroid and Adrenal abnormalities, bone loss, Hypogonadism, Hypertension and Lipid management. She is a small business owner in Dripping Springs and an avid lover of pets, with a history of many animal rescues.


Janet Gruhn


Janet has a Master’s degree in Genetics as well as a Master’s in Nursing from the University of **. Prior to her work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, she worked in clinical research at MD Anderson Center investigating genetic forms of childhood cancer. After moving to Austin, she ventured into education, teaching high school Chemistry, Human anatomy and Physiology. She is a board certified Clinical Nurse Specialist, a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. She works with patients with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, Diabetes during pregnancy, and other Endocrine pathologies including disorders of the Thyroid and Osteoporosis. She has a long-held interest in health promotion and wellness, and helps patients manage associated conditions such as Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, and vitamin D deficiency.

Rachel Kohls2

Rachel Kohls


Rachel graduated from the University of ** at Austin with a Master’s degree in Nursing in May 2015. As a board-certified Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Rachel specializes in treating Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, thyroid and other endocrine disorders, and is certified in insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitors. Prior to starting at Diabetes, Obesity, Thyroid & Hormone Research Center And Gynae Clinic, she was a registered nurse for CommUnityCare providing care to the under-insured and under-served populations. Before Rachel’s nursing career, she worked in the business and management arena for over 13 years. Her goal is to partner with her patients to individualize their care and provide them with the knowledge to successfully manage their condition. She is passionate about health promotion and wants to help her patients to be the healthiest version of themselves. Rachel has lived in Austin (or its surrounding areas) her entire life. She has two amazing children and loves to spend time with her family and friends. While not at work, Rachel enjoys camping, hiking, dancing, going to live sports games, reading, and watching movies.


Ben Pagano


Ben graduated from the University of ** with a Masters Degree in Nursing in 2012. And, after a year-long internship with the team, he joined ** Diabetes &Endocrinology full-time in 2012. He is a board certified Clinical Nurse Specialist and Certified Diabetic Educator. He’s always been passionate about helping others—working as a Peace Corps Health Volunteer, assisting with the relocation of those impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and providing skilled nursing care to Austin seniors. His combination of compassion and skill allows him to build strong partnerships with patients, which he believes helps maximize patient wellness. He specializes in treating all forms of Diabetes and Thyroid illness; and also treats Gonadal, Adrenal and Pituitary dysfunction. He loves living in Austin, especially, swimming, biking and the generous portion of sunny days.


Louie Riesch


Louie, a native Texan, obtained a Masters Degree in Nursing at the University of ** in Austin in the summer of 2009. Before completing his advanced practice nursing degree, he worked in the intensive care unit in the Seton hospital system. Before entering the field of nursing, he completed a Masters Degree in Public Health focusing on health education and health promotion. Louie has always been interested in helping people achieve optimal health and wellness. He has been working full time with ** Diabetes &Endocrinology since the summer of 2009, and his focus is on working with patients to optimize control of their Diabetes. His practice area also includes treatment of various, Pituitary, Adrenal and Thyroid disorders. He enjoys exercise, fishing, camping and spending time with his wife and daughter.


Jeffrey Shirley


Jeffrey Shirley joined the staff at ** Diabetes & Endocrinology in 2008. Jeff holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of ** at Austin. He is an Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist and is also a Certified Diabetes Educator. Before going into healthcare, he was an executive for a non-profit youth organization, serving children in Central **. After seeing the effect of Diabetes on many of his own family members, Jeff decided to dedicate his life to helping those with Diabetes take charge and manage and control their Diabetes rather than having Diabetes control them. Jeff sees patients with all types of Endocrine concerns but specializes in seeing patients with Diabetes He also is an expert working with men with low testosterone and with people struggling with Obesity. Prior to coming to ** Diabetes & Endocrinology, Jeff worked at the University Medical Center at Brackenridge specializing in treating patients suffering with long term complications associated with Diabetes. Jeff is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, the American Diabetes Association and the Endocrine Society.


Shannon Strathmann


Shannon holds a Master’s degree in the Science of Nursing from the University of ** at Austin and is board certified as an Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. Shannon completed two semesters of clinical training at ** Diabetes & Endocrinology before officially joining the practice in September of 2012. Prior to working at TD&E, she worked at University Medical Center Brackenridge for three years. Before beginning a career in health care, Shannon was an educator and taught in the United States, as well as, abroad in Costa Rica and Colombia. She speaks fluent Spanish and is a member of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi.


Michelle Ulrich


Michelle graduated from the University of ** with a Master’s degree in Nursing in May 2010.Prior to this she worked as a Cardiac Nurse at Seton Medical Center. She started at ** Diabetes &Endocrinology in the Fall of 2010, but completed a year-long internship at the office before starting her official employment as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Michelle is originally from California, where she attended California Polytechnic University and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology Sports Medicine. She worked for five years as an Exercise Physiologist in both El Paso and Austin. She is a Certified Diabetic Educator and is ACSM certified as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist. She has always had a passion for health promotion through a healthy lifestyle.


Ellen Walters


Ellen holds a Master’s of science degree in Nursing from The University of ** at Austin. She is a licensed Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (or CNS) and joined Diabetes, Obesity, Thyroid & Hormone Research Center And Gynae Clinic in 2007. Ellen is also a Certified Diabetes Educator and specializes in treating those with both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes as well as gestational Diabetes and Diabetes during pregnancy. She treats patients with Thyroid disease, bone disease and many other endocrine disorders as well. She speaks Spanish as well having lived in South America as a child and having travelled extensively throughout Central America and Mexico. She is a native Texan but grew up mostly in Maryland. She has been back in ** since 2001 with no plans to leave as she is big fan of Austin.


Brandy Wellmon


Brandy is originally from North Carolina, where she attended Lenoir-Rhyne College and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. She worked one year for The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research in Houston prior to attending Baylor College of Medicine. She graduated from Baylor with a Masters degree in Science and is board certified in Physician Assistant Studies. She worked one year in Internal Medicine prior to beginning her career at ** Diabetes & Endocrinology. She is an active member of The American Academy of Physician Assistants. She works with Diabetes, Thyroid, Pituitary, and Adrenal abnormalities, as well as bone loss. She enjoys Austin’s live music and is an outdoor enthusiast.

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