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Director of Pre-Clinical Education and Clinical Assistant Professor

Jennifer Vonderau, MMS, PA-C is a physician assistant currently working in abdominal transplant and hepatobiliary surgery and has joined the PA program as a clinical assistant professor. She has worked at UNC Health in the division of abdominal transplant as an inpatient provider since February of 2016. Prior to her role at UNC Health, Jen worked in general and trauma surgery at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital in Lake Forest, IL, a position she started immediately following PA school at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

While working in the division of abdominal transplant, Jennifer has provided inpatient and outpatient care to liver, kidney, pancreas and islet transplant recipients, as well as patients with hepatobiliary diseases and chronic pancreatitis. Under the mentorship of Dr. Chirag Desai, she helped to establish a chronic pancreatitis program at UNC which offers pancreatic surgery and islet transplant to patients in need of surgical therapy. In joint effort with her division colleagues, Jen has published manuscripts regarding outcomes of hepatobiliary and tranplant surgery, management of patients with chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatogenic diabetes. Her research interests include hepatobiliary and pancreatic diseases, hepatobiliary and transplant surgery, and access to surgical care.

Jen is fluent in Spanish and plans for ongoing involvement in the Latinx kidney transplant clinic. She hopes to contribute to improvement of patient education for Spanish-speaking kidney transplant recipients and access to transplant care for this population. She also hopes to improve access to Spanish medical resources and clinical rotations for UNC PA students.

Jen is a recurrent resident of North Carolina, attending high school, undergraduate education, and now a post-graduate career in this area of the state. She lives locally in Durham with her husband, daughter, dachshund and cat. Her only other home has been Chicago, IL, where she grew up, became a PA and still visits frequently.

Jen is excited to transition to a role in education with the UNC PA Program, and she hopes her background in surgery, inpatient and outpatient medicine, and surgical subspecialties allow her to share a novel, evidence-based, patient-centric and outcomes-oriented perspective to students. She is humbled by the opportunity to grow in her career as an educator and appreciates the challenge and privilege of providing medical education to future PAs.


Office: Bondurant Hall room 3028


Bachelor of Science—Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009

Master of Medical Science—Physician Assistant Studies, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, 2013