About the School of Health Sciences

Common Vision

The School of Health Sciences will be widely recognized as a premier educator of health science professionals who are known for disciplinary excellence, multidisciplinary respect, cultural fluency and thoughtful leadership.

We want students of each profession to be at the leading edge of their discipline, to work with and respect the disciplinary knowledge of other health professionals, serve diverse human factors in different work arenas, and apply leadership principles in a values-oriented and needs-based way.

The School operates in a culture of assessment, dialogue and innovation to meet challenges and create necessary changes for developing quality health care professionals.



Faculty listing

Email information is followed by @css.edu unless otherwise noted.

Position: Assoc Prof/Dean, SHS
Department: SHS Admin
Phone: (218) 723-7033
E-Mail: bloppnow@css.edu
Position: Professor, EXP
Department: Exercise Physiology
Phone: (218) 723-6621
E-Mail: LBirnba3@css.edu

Academic Degrees

1999 M.A. (Exercise Physiology)
The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN.

1990 Ph.D. (Higher Education)
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.

1979 M.S. (Medical Technology)
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.

1976 B.A. (Medical Technology)
The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN.


Larry has been teaching at the college level for over 30 years, which includes two universities, a private college and a community college. Recent courses taught include ECG and Graded Exercise Testing, Cardiovascular Physiology,  Applied Exercise Physiology, and Biomechanics. Larry is the EXP Department Chair and Graduate Program Director. Larry has published five research articles in peer-reviewed journals and has written several articles for online journals.

Larry's teaching philosophy is to try to make course content real for students by including real life applications. If students can associate material with real life situations, they are more likely to understand it and remember it. His door is always open to students.

Larry is an outdoor enthusiast and thoroughly enjoys what the Duluth area has to offer in outdoor activities.

Position: Assoc Prof, Physical Therapy
Department: Physical Therapy
Phone: (218) 625-4938
E-Mail: aborstad@css.edu
Position: Professor & Chair, PT
Department: Physical Therapy
Phone: (218) 723-6523
E-Mail: jborstad1@css.edu

Dr. John Borstad has been a physical therapist since graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1993.  He spent 7 years in clinical practice before returning to the U of M and earning a PhD in Rehabilitation Science in 2004.  John joined the physical therapy faculty at The Ohio State University after graduation and remained there for almost 13 years.  Dr. Borstad's research evaluates soft tissue alterations at the shoulder and their effects on shoulder biomechanics and he is also studying the relationships among tissue tightness, motion and pain at the shoulder.  He has authored or co-authored over twenty-five peer-reviewed manuscripts, three textbook chapters and is an editor of Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques.  His teaching experience includes classes covering Biomechanics for Physical Therapy, Musculoskeletal Science and Applications, Evidence-Based Practice in Rehabilitation, and Advanced Therapeutic Progressions.  He is engaged in state, national and international activities related to the physical therapy profession including abstract and grant reviewing and continuing education assessment.

Position: Assoc Professor, HIIM
Department: H I M
Phone: (218) 625-2771
E-Mail: DBrinda@css.edu

Phone: (612) 325-9742

1. Introduction / Background

PhD, Capella University in Information Technology with a focus in Information Assurance and Security in 2015

BA in HIM from The College of St. Scholastica in 2003

BA in Computer Science/Information Systems from The College of St. Scholastica in 2003

MA in HIM from The College of St. Scholastica in 2006

PhD Candidate - Estimated Completion 2015

2. Current Roles, Associations, Affiliations

Danika started her career as a Director of Health Information in a LTC Facility in Minneapolis, MN. Next, she moved to Alllina Hospitals and Clinics where she worked as a HIM Supervisor, Manager of Revenue Cycle Improvement, and a Regional Manager of Health Information Management.  In 2010, she joined the CSS HIIM Faculty as an Assistant Professor and a HIT Consultant for the REACH Program.  Danika has served as the subject matter expert for healthcare Privacy and Security for The College of St. Scholastica and REACH.  The REACH program has been successful in educating over 200 individuals on privacy and security requirements in healthcare as well as supporting with different tools.  

Professionally, Danika has served on the MHIMA Board of Directors in many different role, most recently Past-President of MHIMA from 2014-2015 and Past President from 2014-2015.  Danika was recently elected as a Delegate to the American Health Information Management Association's Board of Directors.

3. Interests / Specialties

Danika's interests include anything Privacy and Security related, specially related to HIPAA and HITECH.  She also is very interested Information Governance, EHR implementation and Optimization, workflow redesign, physician engagement with an EHR, project management and Meaningful Use.

4. Recent Publications, Presentations and Recognitions

Co-author with Janelle Wapola, MA, RHIA, of the chapter titled: Electronic Health Record: Applications in Practice.Health Information Management: Concepts, Principles and Practices (4th Ed) published by the American Health Information Management Association. This text is scheduled for publication in 2012.


2010 Recipient of the AHIMA Triumph Award in the Rising Star Category

5. Teaching philosophy

Danika's is still working on developing her teaching philosophy

A Personal Note

I married my college sweetheart in October 2004.  Together we are on the adventure of raising two little busy girls, Taylor (8) and Piper (6). I love watching my children grow and learn more each and every day.  Even when life seems too much and stressful, a hug from my babies is all I need! I am a lucky mommy.

Position: Asst Professor, ATR
Department: Athletic Training
Phone: (218) 723-6002
E-Mail: ABrugge@css.edu

Educaional Background:
Ed.D    University of Minnesota  
MS in Kinesiology      Indiana University
BS in Athletic Training      Minnesota State University, Mankato

Dr. Amy Brugge joined The College of St. Scholastica in July 2009 as the department’s first Director of Clinical Education and is tenured as an Assistant Professor.  In addition to teaching in the department and advising thesis research projects, she oversees and assess all phases of the clinical education component of the degree program.  Prior to her appointment at The College, Dr. Brugge was a Lectuer/Assistant Athletic Trainer at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she provided athletic training services to the men’s ice hockey and women’s soccer teams. 

Dr. Brugge is a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, a registered athletic trainer in Minnesota, and an American Red Cross Emergency Response Instructor.  She has also completed the Graston Soft Tissue Mobilization Module-1 and Module-2 courses and Kinesio Taping Levels 1 & 2.  Amy is passionate about the development of future professionals, and has previously served as the advisor for the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association (GLATA) Student Senate, for the Minnesota Athletic Trainers’ Association (MATA) Student Senate, and the St. Scholastica Health Interprofessional Program (SSHIP).  She currently serves as an accreditation site visitor for the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), as the Chair of the MATA Governmental Affairs Committee, and as a webmaster for the MATA Public Relations Committee.

Amy’s professional and research interests include clinical documentation improvement, electronic health records use in athletic training, and health informatics competence in allied health providers.  Her dissertation, Athletic Training Students’ Academic Preparation in Healthcare Documentation, investigated the instruction and assessment of the documentation-related competencies in athletic training education.  She currently is completing a graduate level certificate in Health Informatics in preparation for the Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) examination.  She is passionate about advancing the athletic training profession to the use of health information technology at the point-of-care across employment settings and athletic trainers contributing to health information exchange in the U.S. healthcare system.

Position: Administrative Asst, SHS
Department: SHS Admin
Phone: (218) 723-6289
E-Mail: DChriste@css.edu
Position: Medical Director, PA Program
Department: Physician Assistant Studies
Phone: (218) 625-4929
E-Mail: ccleary1@css.edu

Dr. Cleary is a family physician who has been in practice in Grand Rapids, Minnesota since 1997. She is originally from North Dakota. She attended Macalester College and the University of Minnesota Medical School, obtaining the first 2 years of her medical education at the Duluth campus. She completed her Family Medicine residency at North Memorial Medical Center and then spent several years in Boise, Idaho before returning to northern Minnesota. While in Idaho she worked in a small family medicine practice, and then as faculty at the Family Practice Residency of Idaho. She joined the PA program as Medical Director in 2015. Her interests incude longitudinal care and clinical teaching.

Position: Asst Prof/Site Coord, SWK, TC
Department: Social Work Extended Studies
Phone: (651) 403-8631
E-Mail: rcoleman@css.edu

Former Child Protection Division Manager for Ramsey County Community Human Services for nine years. Seventeen years in child welfare services with Ramsey County. National presentations/ workshops in Washington, California, Missouri, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC and Maryland on disproportionality in child welfare, transformational systems change, kinship care, poverty and neglect issues and anti-racism leadership development, implementation and training. Interests include traveling, child welfare and  authentic race dialogue facilitation.

Position: Professor, OTH, Chair
Department: Occupational Therapy
Phone: (218) 723-5915
E-Mail: scope@css.edu
Website: View

Steve joined the Occupational Therapy Program at CSS as Program Director in the summer of 2013.  He earned his bachelor degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth (1980), MOT degree from Western Michigan University (1983), and ScD from Boston University-Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (1997).  Prior to coming to CSS, Steve was a Professor in the Occupational Therapy Department and Director of the Rehabilitation Science Program at Concordia University Wisconsin.  Steve is teaching courses related to evidence-based practice in occupational therapy.   Steve’s research interests include motor control and motor learning basis of pediatric interventions including constraint-induced movement therapy, motor imagery, and intensive interventions for children with cerebral palsy.

Position: Asst Professor, EXP
Department: Exercise Physiology
Phone: (218) 723-6601
E-Mail: JDargan@css.edu

Academic Degrees:

M.A. - Exercise Physiology
The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota; 2000

B.A. - Chemistry
The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota; 1979

Academic appointments:

2007 - Present: Assistant Professor
Department of Exercise Physiology, College of St. Scholastica

2003 - 2007 : Instructor
Department of Exercise Physiology, CSS

2000 - 2003 : Instructor
Department of Chemistry, CSS

1987 - 2000 : Assistant Instructor
Department of Chemistry, CSS

Courses Taught:

EXP 3323 - Sports Nutrition
EXP 3331 - Exercise Physiology
EXP 3332 - Physiological Assessment
EXP 3334 - Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation
EXP 4441 - Advanced Lab Research
EXP 6522 - Biochemistry, Nutrition and Exercise
EXP 6532 - Professional Development of Exercise Physiology
EXP 6540 - Psychophysiology of Health and Exercise
HSC 4700 - Health Care Interdisciplinary Leadership

Exercise Physiology Interest Areas:

  • Physiological assessment and evaluation
  • The impact of exercise and physical fitness on health
  • The use of exercise in the treatment and prevention of "lifestyle" diseases
  • The development and delivery of worksite wellness programs

Teaching Philosophy

John believes in recognizing students as individuals with unique abilities, skills and challenges. An outgrowth of this philosophy is to help them recognize and overcome their personal challenges while maximizing their knowledge and abilities and encouraging them to demonstrate the attitude and behaviors of a health care professional. This philosophy also leads to the recognition that learning takes place not only in the classroom but also in the lab and in interactions outside of formal learning situations. Programs such as the SHAPE UP personal fitness program which John developed and currently oversee, allows students to gain experience in a professional setting before their formal internship experience.

Personal Information

John was born and raised in Northern Minnesota and graduated with a degree in chemistry from the College of St. Scholastica. He spent most of the next decade working in chemistry labs in industry, government and academia before returning to CSS to teach and supervise labs in the chemistry department. After being diagnosed with diabetes, John entered the Master's program in exercise physiology to gain a better understanding of the disease and the affect that exercise has on it. Upon completion of the degree John was invited to teach several courses in the Department of Exercise Physiology which ultimately lead to a full-time appointment in EXP.

John tries to maintain his health and fitness through an overall exercise regimen that includes running, strength training and stretching. On a more recreational level, John stays physically active with year-round outdoor activities - in-line skating and kayaking on Lake Superior in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing when we have snow.

Position: Instructor, SWK
Department: Social Work
Phone: (218) 625-4924
E-Mail: CDonner@css.edu

Cindy teaches SWK 4441 Social Work with Communities, focusing on social work with communities/macro systems.  Cindi has worked for several years in community organizing projects, including East Hillside PATCH, is a CSS alumnus, and joined us in 2006.

Position: Admin Assistant, SWK
Department: Social Work
Phone: (218) 723-5981
E-Mail: tdriscoll@css.edu
Position: Asst Professor, OTH
Department: Occupational Therapy
Phone: (218) 723-6256
E-Mail: KErickso@css.edu
Website: View
Kelly Erickson joined The College of Saint Scholastica Department of Occupational Therapy as an Assistant Professor in 2010.  She has been practicing as an occupational therapist for 17 years with experience in management and all levels of client care.  Her teaching roles include Foundations in OT, Evidence-Based OT I and II, and Psychosocial OT.  Previous teaching roles include Biomechanics for Occupational Therapy Practice, Neurorehabilitation in Occupational Therapy Practice, and Level I Fieldwork On-Campus Clinic.  Occupation as the core of evaluation, task analysis, and intervention processes is a consistent thread throughout her courses.  Erickson is a calibrated rater of the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) through the Center for Innovative OT Solutions.
Erickson has a master's degree in occupational therapy and recently completed a three-year term on The College of Saint Scholastica Alumni Board of Directors.  She received her doctorate in psychology from Walden University with a dissertation titled “Perception of Stressors and Resources for Managing the Deployment Process as Predictors of Reservist Spouse’s General Wellbeing."  Erickson is a member of the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association (MOTA), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and maintains certification with the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc. (NBCOT).
Erickson’s practice focus includes occupational performance with attention to role performance patterns, behavior management, and sensory processing across the lifespan.  She has research interests that include use of everyday technology as assistive devices for occupational performance and as therapeutic media in the occupational therapy process.  A recent publication "Evidence Considerations for Mobile Devices in the Occupational Therapy Process" appeared in The Open Journal for Occupational Therapy in April 2015.  Ongoing research projects include preparedness for interprofessional learning among graduate students and long-term outcomes of an on-campus teaching-learning clinic in occupational therapy curriculum.  She has presented at various occupational therapy therapy conferences, the Minnesota e-Health Summit, the American Association of University Professors Conference on the State of Higher Education, and Assistive Technology Industry Association conference.
Erickson is currently serving as Co-Administrator of AOTA’s Evidence-Based Practice Evidence Exchange and is an approved Critically Appraised Paper (CAP) reviewer with AOTA.  She is also incomgin Editor-in-Chief of the AOTA Exam Prep Editorial Board, which includes overseeing item writing, establishing and completing timelines for product review, revewing the online exam prep product, and coordinating the writing of editorial board members.  
Erickson is the co-leader of the Duluth Area Special and Sled Hockey organization, which has been in operation since 2011.  The organization provides community hockey opportunities in both competitive and casual experiences for individuals of all abilities and needs.  She also serves as a member of the Visit Duluth Sports Advisory Council to advise accessiblity needs of sports programming and events in the Duluth area.
Position: Lecturer, SHS
Department: HIM Progression
Phone: (218) 723-7004
E-Mail: EFait@css.edu
1. Introduction / Background
Beth has a Masters of Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. 
She has worked in a variety of health care settings including consulting, physician clinics, community hospitals, and a health care system.  Areas worked in include administration, strategic planning and marketing.  She has been working at CSS since 2005 teaching Introduction to U.S. Healthcare and Change Leadership.  She has also worked at Kaplan University the past couple years teaching Academic Strategies for the Health Care Professional and Medical Office Accounting online.

2. Current Roles, Associations, Affiliations
Beth has been teaching Introduction to U.S. Health Care at CSS since 2005 online as well as on-campus on occasion. She also developed and teaches the course “Change Leadership.”

3. Interests/Specialties
Beth is especially interested in health care systems and operations, U.S. Health Care reform, and public health.

Position: Instructor/Soc Work Prgm Coord
Department: Social Work Extended Studies
Phone: (651) 403-8647
E-Mail: mfant@css.edu
Position: Asst Professor, OTH
Department: Occupational Therapy
Phone: (218) 723-6713
E-Mail: Ngabres@css.edu
Website: View

Nancy has been an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program at The College of St. Scholastica for 19 years. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, and her Master of Science degree in Therapeutic Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 2000 – 2008 Nancy worked as a consultant for the Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic Program in Duluth, MN. Prior to working at St. Scholastica, Nancy worked for 12 years as an occupational therapist with the Duluth Public Schools. Nancy’s teaching responsibilities have focused primarily on pediatric occupational therapy. In addition, Nancy has taught for four years in St. Scholastica’s Dignitas Program. Nancy’s scholarship and research interests include: the role of occupational therapy in addressing the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, occupational therapy intervention for children with handwriting needs, and occupational therapy intervention for children with sensory processing disorders.

Position: Asst Prof/Dir Curr Develop, PA
Department: Physician Assistant Studies
Phone: (218) 625-4894
E-Mail: sgarvey@css.edu

Shawn Garvey, MS, PA-C is a physician assistant originally from Michigan and has a degree in biology from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  She graduated from the physician assistant program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  She began her practice in pediatrics and then family practice in rural Minnesota.   Shawn joined CSS as faculty and Director of Curriculum in 2014. She has a special interest in patient education.  She continues to see patients one day a week in Allergy at Essentia Health with an emphasis on telemedicine rural outreach. 

"Eductation is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think. " Albert Einstein

Position: Assoc Professor, SWK
Department: Social Work
Phone: (218) 625-4430
E-Mail: cgunderson@css.edu
Position: Assoc Professor, SWK
Department: Social Work
Phone: (218) 723-7048
E-Mail: LGustaf3@css.edu
Website: View

Dr. Gustafson is the Social Work Department Chair and MSW Program Director.  Dr. Gustafson joined CSS in 2004 as the Department. Chair; special interests include addictions, group practice, research and program evaluation

Position: Admin. Asst. II, OTH
Department: Occupational Therapy
Phone: (218) 723-6099
E-Mail: KHatfiel@css.edu

First line of contact and manager of the day-to-day activities of the Department of Occupational Therapy, which has 6 faculty, 64 students and clients involved in an on-site OT clinic.   

Fax: (218)-723-6698.

alternate email: otclinic@css.edu (for on-site clinic clients and observers).

Position: Asst Prof, PA Studies
Department: Physician Assistant Studies
Phone: (218) 723-6119
E-Mail: cjahr@css.edu

Carolyn Jahr, MS, PA-C is a physician assistant who has served the Northeastern Minnesota patient population since 2008. Prior to becoming a faculty member, she practiced in general surgery, with additional experience in colorectal, vascular, and bariatric subspecialties. She was the first PA to be employed by her surgical practice, and served as the inaugural program coordinator for a local weight loss surgery program. She has additional practice experience in an urgent care setting. 


Throughout her clinical career, Carolyn has enjoyed serving as a clinical preceptor for physician assistant students, and as a mentor for individuals interested in pursuing the PA profession. Her special interests include team-based healthcare delivery and PA practice integration. She resides locally with her husband and two daughters, and is a graduate of the Springfield College Physician Assistant Program in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Position: OTH Assistant Professor
Department: Occupational Therapy
Phone: (218) 723-6744
E-Mail: mjohnson27@css.edu