La Clinica’s senior leadership provides administrative direction and support as the organization pursues its mission of providing quality, affordable care to all.
Brenda Johnson, CEO
Chief Executive Officer
Brenda leads La Clinica to provide primary medical, dental, and social services for underserved residents across 17 sites in Southern Oregon. She began her career with the organization in 2000 and prior to joining La Clinica’s staff, Brenda was a public health nurse with Jackson County Health and Human Services.
Brenda earned a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Oregon Health Sciences University, and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Southern Oregon University. In 2016 she was appointed by the governor to the Oregon Health Policy Board, which sets the state’s health policy, and she is on the board of Jackson Care Connect, a coordinated care organization serving Jackson County. She also serves on the boards of the Oregon Primary Care Association and CareOregon.
She has been recognized by Southern Oregon University as a Distinguished Alumni of the Year, named an outstanding regionalist by the Rogue Valley Council of Governments and cited for exemplary leadership by the Oregon Primary Care Association.
Brenda is a Portland, Oregon, native who has lived in Medford since 1985. In her leisure time she enjoys singing, reading, spending time with her husband, and playing with her children.
Her intention with La Clinica is clear.
“I have a deep appreciation and understanding of the importance of diversity and the honor of providing true support and service to others. La Clinica offers me the gift and opportunity to live those values every single day,” she says.
Chief Information Officer
Danny Dugan is La Clinica’s chief information officer, responsible for the organization’s information systems. He is a former Harry & David executive who joined La Clinica in 2014 as the organization’s first chief information officer.
Danny came to La Clinica from Klamath Falls window maker Jeld-Wen, where he managed support systems, and spent most of his early career at Harry & David, most recently as chief technology officer for the organization. He also served as an aircraft maintenance technician in the US Air Force.
A native of Portland, he moved to Medford as a teenager, graduating from St. Mary’s School, and has lived most of his adult life in Medford. He has two teenage children, a son and a daughter, with whom he enjoys spending time.
Chief Dental Officer
Amy Fine leads La Clinica’s dental program and works as a general practice dentist at the East Medford Dental Clinic. Dr. Fine joined the La Clinica dental staff in July 2009.
She earned her dentistry degree from Oregon Health Sciences University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon’s Clark Honors College. Previously she worked as a biochemist for Invitrogen/Molecular Probes. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the Oregon Dental Association, and the Southern Oregon Dental Association.
Dr. Fine moved to Medford from Portland. Her favorite pastimes include spending time with her husband, Joshua, and their two children. Community work and volunteering are integral to Dr. Fine’s life. She is an advocate for SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and Friends of Trees, and she has been involved at the state level in improving access to health care.
Wings program director
Sherrie Frank leads Wings Seminars, a La Clinica program that provides seminar participants with opportunities for personal and professional growth.
La Clinica purchased the program in 2016 and continues to offer seminars publicly. It plans to incorporate seminars into its wellness program for patients by 2017, creating access to this education for people who traditionally have not been able to afford it.
Sherrie has a long affiliation with Wings and served as its vice president from 2000 and a facilitator from 2008 until the business sold early in 2016. She is a certified master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP, a communication approach, and has more than 1,500 hours of facilitation training. Under the Wings transition to La Clinica, she continues to lead seminars as well as the program as a whole.
A native Oregonian, Sherrie lives in Corvallis with her husband, Michael Frank. She has three grown children and four beautiful and brilliant grandchildren. She loves travel, reading, cooking, learning anything new, and being fully engaged in life.
Chief Quality Officer
As chief quality officer, Traci Fossen oversees organizational quality, safety, compliance, and risk management for La Clinica, including standards of care, clinical skills assessments, and emergency preparedness.
Before joining La Clinica, Traci was clinic manager and a case management nurse for the Community Health Center in Medford, and earlier she was part of the leadership team in the rehabilitation programs at Providence Medford Medical Center. She earned her associate degree in nursing from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and her bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Phoenix in Arizona.
Born into a military family in Maine, Traci moved a lot as a child but has called Oregon home for more than two decades. In her spare time, she enjoys golfing, reading, playing with her grandchildren, and spending time with her family.
Ken Rhee oversees medical leadership at all La Clinica centers. He has been with La Clinica since 2008.
Before coming to La Clinica, Dr. Rhee practiced emergency medicine for 25 years both in private practice and in academic medicine. He held a number of administrative posts including medical director of emergency services at the University of Nebraska and at Rogue Valley Medical Center.
He and his wife, Donna, have two grown children and three grandchildren and live in Ashland. He is interested in Latin culture and Spanish and loves to fly fish.
Chief Financial Officer
Angelica Ruppe oversees La Clinica’s financial departments. She has led La Clinica’s financial department since 1994, coming to the organization from Kosmatka Donnelly, a certified public accounting firm in Medford. She also worked for Price Waterhouse in Mexico.
Angelica earned a master’s degree in general studies from Southern Oregon University and an undergraduate accounting degree from the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. A native of Guanajuato, she is a longtime Rogue Valley resident and a mother of two who lives in Medford. She enjoys dancing, parties, music, and traveling.
Angelica has served on the boards of the Ashland Rotary Club, St. Mary’s School in Medford, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Primary Care Association, and Community Health Advocates for Oregon. She also helps with housing needs for low-income Guanajuato families.
Chief Operations Officer
Ida Saito is responsible for the daily workings of all La Clinica health centers. She came to the organization in 2005 from the Oregon Department of Human Services, where she spent 27 years, including 17 in management.
She led the state department’s field staff through departmental reorganization and transformed the work of Adult and Family Services from a rule-based, eligibility focus to an outcome-driven, case-management focus. Ida earned a University of Washington Certificate in Community Health Leadership and completed the UCLA Health Care Executive Program.
An Oregon native, Ida has lived with her husband in Grants Pass since 1977. The couple has two sons and five grandchildren. She enjoys travel and family time.
Karen Sauer, MD
Medical Officer for Clinician Development and Support
Karen Sauer is a family physician at La Clinica Wellness Center and in her medical leadership role is responsible for recruitment and employment of La Clinica’s physicians, family nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
She earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, where she was given the Dr. Alexander Major Memorial Award. She completed her residency at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, California, where she was named chief resident her final year and received the Dr. Joseph R. Hannon Memorial Award. Dr. Sauer is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
Dr. Sauer first joined La Clinica in 1996 and returned to our staff in 2005 after a few years away. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, and has worked in migrant health and education since 1986.
Daniel Sengenberger, DO
Medical Officer for Operations and Outcomes
Daniel Sengenberger is a family physician at West Medford Health Center and in his medical leadership role works with teams to plan and manage operations of all La Clinica medical centers.
Dr. Sengenberger holds a doctorate in osteopathic medicine from Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona, and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of San Diego in California. He completed his residency in family medicine at the Naval Hospital in Bremerton, Washington. Before joining La Clinica in 2013, he served eight years in the US Navy. Dr. Sengenberger is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
A native of Portland, he now lives in Medford with his family. He enjoys playing the guitar, rowing, and camping.
Maria Ramos Underwood
Maria Ramos Underwood oversees La Clinica’s fundraising, from writing and tracking grants to working with donors and community partners dedicated to improving community access to health care.
Previously Maria served as the organization’s deputy director and wellness and prevention coordinator. Before joining La Clinica, she was Hispanic outreach advocate for Dunn House, a Jackson County shelter for women. Maria graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She is a member of the boards of the Health Care Coalition of Southern Oregon (HCCSO), Jackson County Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), and Medford’s Family Nurturing Center. She also serves on the steering committee for SO Health-E, our regional health equity coalition.
Maria, born in Mexico, was a child of seasonal farm workers and grew up using community-based health services similar to those provided by La Clinica. She relocated to Medford in 1997 from Tempe, Arizona, when her husband Verne was hired by Rogue Community College. The couple has two adult children. She is an avid reader and enjoys traveling, cooking, and watching movies with her family.
Julie Wurth oversees the organization’s communications with employees and the community.
She turned to La Clinica after a career in journalism, most recently for Medford’s Southern Oregon Media Group, where she was an editor and manager at the Mail Tribune for 18 years and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board for a dozen years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Washington State University in Pullman and has spent time in the community volunteering at schools to help students learn to read. She is a member of the Friends of the Multicultural Fair Planning Committee in Medford.
A Washington native, Julie moved to Southern Oregon in 1992 and lives in Medford with her husband and daughter. She enjoys the outdoors, books, family and friends, and periodic trips to the city.