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The Surgeons at Northwest Institute for Digestive Surgery are trained in the entire spectrum of benign and malignant digestive diseases. All of our specialists have completed accredited fellowship training programs. Fellowship training is beyond what is required in standard residency training and is the highest level of surgical training attainable. Our surgeons have completed this rigorous training in order to become the highest level experts in the medical and surgical aspects of gastrointestinal diseases.

John L. Pennings, MD, FACS, FASMBS

General Surgery, Bariatrics, Endoscopist, Foregut Surgery

Dr. John Pennings received his MD degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School, which was followed by a general surgery residency at Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, an institution noted for excellence in trauma and critical care.  He went on to complete a fellowship in advanced laparoscopic surgery and endoscopy at Oregon Health Sciences University.  He was one of the first eight fellows in the nation to complete this highly specialized training.

During this training, Dr. Pennings helped to develop new surgical techniques for esophageal, gastric and colon surgery, and was responsible for educating other surgeons in these new, minimally invasive surgical techniques. Dr. Pennings has also pursued advanced training in bariatric (weight loss) surgical techniques, surgical and endoscopic management of reflux disease, Barrett’s esophagus and  non-surgical management of hemorrhoids.

In his twenty year career as a community general surgeon, he founded Minimally Invasive Surgery Northwest, Surgical Bariatrics Northwest, Optifit, and currently is the founder and director of The Northwest Institute for Digestive Surgery.

Dr. Pennings has served in leadership roles as chairman of the department of surgery at Kootenai Medical Center and as chairman of the board of directors at Northwest Specialty Hospital. As part of his involvement at Northwest Specialty Hospital, he oversaw the development of a comprehensive bariatric surgery program and was awarded Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery status by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. He is board certified by the American College of Surgeons, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a fellow of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons, and an active member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.  He is committed to surgical excellence and compassionate patient care.

Medical School: University of Minnesota

Residency: Emanuel Medical Center

Fellowship: Oregon Health Sciences University

Certifications: American Board of Surgery

Memberships: Idaho Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, Idaho Chapter American College of Surgeons, Kootenai-Benewah Medical Society, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons, Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons

Cory Richardson, MD, FACS, FAFS, FASMBS

General Surgery, Bariatrics, Endoscopist, Foregut Surgery

Dr. Richardson grew up in Mammoth Lakes, CA.  He attended the University of Nevada, Reno where he was a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Alpine Ski Team.  He completed medical school and General Surgery Residency at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.  He then went on to complete an advanced surgical fellowship at the Minnesota Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery, the only fellowship program in the United States or Canada accredited in Advanced Gastrointestinal/Minimally Invasive/Bariatric Surgery and Flexible Endoscopy.

In addition to performing the entire spectrum of general surgical procedures, Dr. Richardson has extensive advanced training in foregut (esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, spleen) surgery, bariatric and metabolic surgery, colorectal surgery, and advanced hernia surgery.  He also performs complex revisional anti-reflux and bariatric surgeries, and is the first surgeon in northwest Idaho certified to perform magnetic sphincter augmentation as a treatment for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Dr. Richardson’s unique combination of advanced laparoscopic and endoscopic training allows him to diagnose and treat a wide array of medical conditions.  He is one of only a handful of surgeons in the world that perform ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography), an advanced endoscopic procedure used to diagnose and treat diseases of the bile ducts, liver, and pancreas.  Dr. Richardson has conducted years of research dedicated to the development of techniques that combine conventional laparoscopic surgeries with ERCP, and he has given numerous national presentations on the topic.  These techniques allow patients to have multiple procedures performed simultaneously, which results in earlier discharge from the hospital and a quicker recovery. These combined procedures also allow patients with altered gastrointestinal anatomy (i.e. gastric bypass) to have an ERCP if needed, which was previously not possible due to the changes in their anatomy.

Dr. Richardson’s other research endeavors have included: surgical education, surgical simulation, advanced endoscopic techniques, endoscopic and minimally invasive trauma surgery, anti-reflux surgery, and new technologies for diagnosing cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions of the esophagus.

His dedication to surgical education and teaching has been recognized on numerous occasions, having been awarded the Outstanding Resident Teaching Award (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014) and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Richardson is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons, and American Foregut Society  He is also a member of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

Medical School: University of Nevada School of Medicine

Internship: University of Nevada School of Medicine

Residency: University of Nevada School of Medicine

Fellowship: Minnesota Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Certification: American Board of Surgery

Derek Dirks, MD

General Surgery, Bariatrics, Endoscopist, Foregut Surgery

Dr. Dirks grew up in Coeur d’Alene, ID. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID with a BS in Biology and a minor in Spanish. He attended medical school at the University of Iowa Roy J. & Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, IA. He completed the University of South Dakota general surgery residency program in Sioux Falls, SD. He finished his training with a fellowship in bariatric surgery at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon. During his fellowship he was trained in bariatric surgery with the Legacy Weight and Diabetes Institute and advanced foregut and colorectal surgery with The Oregon Clinic.

Dr. Dirks is board certified in general surgery by the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Dirks resides in Coeur d’Alene, ID with his wife and four daughters. He enjoys skiing in the winter and spending time hiking, running, and time on the water in the summer.

Medical School: University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine

Residency: University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine

Fellowship: Legacy Good Samaritan

Memberships:

Oregon State Medical License

Certifications: American Board of Surgery
ATLS Instructor Certification
FLS Certification
FES Certification
ACLS Certification
BLS Certification

Olga Lebedevskiy, MD

Olga Lebedevskiy, MD

General Surgery, Bariatrics, Endoscopist, Foregut Surgery

Dr. Lebedevskiy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, where she majored in Biology (Pathophysiology), as well as Spanish. Shortly after receiving her undergraduate degree, she attended Grand Canyon University where she was awarded a Masters in Public Health (MPH). Continuing her educational pursuits, she attended St. Georges University earning a Medical Doctorate (MD) degree, immediately followed by a General Surgery Residency at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, which is well known for its state-of-the-art level I trauma and burn center and boasts as the second busiest Emergency Department in the entire State of California. This residency also included training at Kaiser Permanente Fontana. She then went on to complete her subspecialty fellowship training in Advanced Gastrointestinal and Foregut Surgery at The Oregon Clinic/Portland Providence Medical Center, with focus on Minimally Invasive Foregut Surgery techniques, endoscopic treatment, as well as Bariatric Surgery.

Dr. Lebedevskiy is certified by The American Board of Surgery and is an active member in the American Foregut Society, Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons.

Dr. Lebedevskiy resides in Coeur d’Alene with her husband and two children. She enjoys being outdoors and can be found with her family skiing, hiking, boating or camping in her spare time.

Medical School: St. George’s University

Residency: Arrowhead Regional Medical Center

Fellowship: The Oregon Clinic/Portland Providence Medical Center

Certification: American Board of Surgery

Membership: American Foregut Society, Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons.

Brian Kazmierski, PA-C

General Surgery, Bariatrics

Brian E. Kazmierski, PA-C graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from the University of Washington School of Medicine. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies with a focus on General Surgery from the University of Nebraska Medical College in 2001. He has been with NWIDS since September 2001 and continues to provide excellent care for each of our patients.

Education: The University of Nebraska Medical College

Jonathan Saxe, PA-C, DSc

General Surgery, Bariatrics

Jonathan L. Saxe, PA-C, DSc, graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from the University of Illinois. He then received a commission in the U.S. Army where he served as a military police officer before attending the Interservice Physician Assistant Program earning him a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He later went on to complete a general surgery fellowship at Brooke Army Medical Center in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas and was awarded a Doctorate of Clinical Science with focus in General Surgery from Baylor University. He joined the surgical team at Northwest Specialty Hospital in 2019 after retiring from 20 years of active duty service.

Education: University of Nebraska Medical Center

Fellowship: General Surgery – Brooke Army Medical Center

Jennifer Ramsrud, MS, RD, CDCES, LD

Bariatrics

Specialty Areas:

  • Bariatric surgery
  • Weight management and obesity treatment
  • Diabetes management and nutrition
  • Oncology nutrition

Jennifer graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science from Michigan State University. She obtained her Master’s of Science in Education from University of Idaho and is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES). She has been a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) for over 14 years and is passionate about proactively helping patients manage their diabetes and other cardiovascular comorbidities with healthy lifestyle changes.

Education: Michigan State University

Master's of Science in Education: University of Idaho

Certifications: Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES).

Lyndi Bertman, RD, LD

Bariatrics

Specialty Areas:

  • Bariatric surgery
  • Weight management and obesity treatment
  • Nutrition for chronic disease
  • Nutrition for kidney disease
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