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Medical Director

Blake Newman

Blake J. Newman, MD

Dr. Blake Newman is an assistant professor of neurology and an epileptologist who focuses on treating medically refractory epilepsy. He has been on faculty in the epilepsy division since 2016. He currently sees patients at the University of Utah in the Clinical Neurosciences Center. He serves as the fellowship director of the clinical neurophysiology program. In addition, he is the medical director of the Utah Electroneurodiagnostic (END) Institute, a training and educational program for EEG technologists.

Dr. Newman attended the University of Utah as an undergraduate and completed a dual BS/MS program in biomedical engineering. He completed his medical school and residency training at Washington University in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He then returned to the University of Utah for his fellowship in clinical neurophysiology with an emphasis in EEG and epilepsy. He is ABPN board certified in neurology, clinical neurophysiology, and epilepsy.


Sindhu Richards

Sindhu Richards, MD

Dr. Sindhu Richards is an assistant professor of neurology and an epileptologist who focuses on treating medically refractory epilepsy. She has been on faculty in the epilepsy division since July 2019. She currently sees patients at the University of Utah in the Clinical Neurosciences Center.

Dr. Richards attended the University of Dayton as an undergraduate and completed a BS degree in biochemistry. She then completed medical school at the University of Cincinnati. She then went on to complete her neurology residency and epilepsy fellowship at University of Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western. She is ABPN board certified in neurology and epilepsy.

Clinical/Didactic Instructor

Amir Arain

Amir Arain, MD, MPH

Dr. Amir M. Arain is a professor and an epileptologist who focuses on treatment of refractory epilepsy. He graduated from Dow Medical College, Karachi and did his neurology residency and epilepsy fellowship at Vanderbilt University. There he served as faculty of the Department of Neurology as an epileptologist from 2000 to 2018. He joined University of Utah in July 2018 and currently serves as chief of the Epilepsy Division.

Dr. Arain has been involved in different research projects in epilepsy. He has done several antiepileptic drug trials including levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, pregabalin, lacosemide, retigabine, brivaracetam, carisbamate, eslicarbazepine, and cenobamate. He has published several peer-reviewed research articles and has presented data in different scientific meetings. He has trained more than 100 fellows in epilepsy over the years. His interests are in seizure semiology, SUDEP, disparity of care in epilepsy, and geriatric epilepsy.

Program Advisory Committee

Chris grew up in Star Valley, Wyoming and originally attended college at Utah State University. After meeting his amazing wife, he moved to the Wasatch Front and completed school at the University of Utah in a social sciences major. He originally worked in finance after completing two Bachelor’s degrees, but has been in the field of Neurodiagnostics for almost ten years now and loves what he does. He has worked in Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring (IOM) the entire ten years, did EEG and LTM for approximately a year and a half, and is registered/certified in all three fields through ABRET.

He continues to work as a technologist in IOM as well as being the Comprehensive Epilepsy/Neuromonitoring Department Educator and Program Director for the Utah END Institute. He has been working at the University of Utah Hospital since 2010. His interests include being outdoors, woodworking and carpentry, watching collegiate and professional football, and spending time with his wonderful wife and four children.

Nicole is a native Utahn who has worked at the University of Utah since 2012. Before working in the EEG lab, she was a physical therapy aide at Neilson Rehab for seven years. Nicole has an associates of science degree in art from Salt Lake Community College and holds a registration in EEG. Nicole loves the great outdoors and, in her spare time, can often be found in the mountains or playing sports with her husband and two stepsons.

Karen Martinez

Karen Martinez, BA, R EEG T, CLTM

Administrative Director

Karen Martinez was born in Honduras and moved to Salt Lake City at ten years old. She holds a bachelor's in integrated studies (health science, neuroscience, and neurodiagnostics). She has worked in the field of neurodiagnostics since 2007 and holds active registrations in EEG and CLTM. Before becoming an EEG technologist, she worked as a medical assistant. She has been working as the clinical operations manager and administrator director of the Utah END Institute at the University of Utah. Karen is a proud mother of one daughter and two labradoodles. She enjoys traveling, running, hiking, rollerblading, going to the gym, and spending time with family and friends.

Sam Pead

Samuel S. Pead, JD

Advisory Board Public Member

Sam D.F. Pead was born and raised in both Utah and Wyoming. Sam received a Bachelors of Science Degree in 2003, and a Juris Doctorate in 2007, both from Brigham Young University. Sam has been employed as an Assistant United States Attorney since 2018, where he prosecutes violent crime under federal law. Prior to this, Sam worked as a prosecutor at the Utah County Attorney's Office. During his 15 years as a prosecutor, Sam has handled every kind of criminal case imaginable, and conducted numerous trials in both state and federal Court. He loves his job and being part of the effort to protect our great communities and state. As a public servant and citizen, Sam approaches this world with the hope of making it a better, safer, and healthier place. He is happily married and loves (most of the time) his four children. He also loves the outdoors (camping, fishing, jet skiing, golf), music, and sports.

 April Eskelson

April Eskelson

Administrative Assistant

April is a native Utahn who has worked at the University of Utah since 2016. Before becoming an administrative assistant for the EEG lab, she started as a patient relations specialist in the neurosurgery outpatient clinic. She is passionate about her work in office management and is thrilled to be a part of the Utah END Institute team. April is a proud wife and mother of two children. She enjoys going on outdoor adventures, attending sporting events, spending quality time with family and friends, and practicing yoga.

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Julie Shaw

Student Member

Julie was born and raised in Oregon and moved to Utah in 2001 with her growing family. She and her husband have a blended family of eight children and two grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves to learn new things and meet new people, and she especially loves anything about the brain. She received her AS degree in Health Science in 2013 from Weber State University (WSU) and her BS degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from WSU in 2023. She currently works as an EEG Tech and is looking forward to becoming a Registered EEG Tech when she completes the END program. She’s also looking forward to earning more certifications in neurodiagnostics in the future. She would love to chat with current or prospective students about the program from the student perspective. Her motto in life is “keep moving forward.”

Steven Tew

Steven Tew, MBA, MHA

Financial Director

Although not a native of Utah, Steven claims it as his home and has spent the majority of his life here. He and his wife have seven wonderful children, and as much as they would like to freeze time, they are excitedly watching them grow and develop faster than either of them would have imagined possible. Steven loves spending time with his family and friends, whether that is out in nature or at home playing games. When he isn’t with his family, Steven spends his time in healthcare leadership and is currently the senior director for the Neuroscience Service Line at University of Utah Health. He is also a hobby entrepreneur and has started multiple businesses through which he has been able to raise/donate in benefit of ALS and the Neurosciences Clinic at the University of Utah.

Anima Varma

Anima Varma, R EEG T

Clinical Instructor

Anima has served at the University of Utah in neurodiagnostics for twenty years. She has advanced experience in conducting EEG, TCD, EP, EMG, and LTM tests and has developed multiple training protocols for the lab. She finds joy in listening to her patients’ life stories and the opportunity to be a part of their medical care and overall health. Originally from India, Anima has lived in multiple East Coast states since 1988, landing in Utah in 1997. She has two daughters who reside and work in New York City. As an active member of the community, she served on the Egyptian Theater Foundation Board for thirteen years and is a founding member, vice president, and treasurer of the All India Medical Society of Utah. She has degree in classical Indian music and is an avid gardener of a variety of organic vegetables in her backyard.

Alise Payne

Alise Payne, R EEG T

Clinical Instructor

Alise Payne grew up in Eastern Idaho and moved to Utah in August of 2015. She started as a Long Term monitoring tech and after 6 months transitioned to the EEG Lab where she worked as an EEG technologist. In the spring of 2017 she began working as a lead technologist in the Long Term Monitoring Unit and became the LTM Supervisor in 2019. She finished the Utah Electroneurodiagnostic Institue program in March of 2018 and obtained her R. EEG T. in May 2018. She is currently working on obtaining her CLTM registry. In her spare time, Alise enjoys hiking, concerts, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends.

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Sierra Peterson

Graduate Student Member

Sierra Peterson was born and raised in Murray, Utah. She has always had an interest in science and health. She attended Salt Lake Community College, where she was on the Dean’s List; a majority of her classes have been focused on preparing for a career in the medical field. She volunteered at Intermountain Medical Center for two years and was then asked to apply for employment there. She completed the University of Utah EEG program in 2023 and is now an licensed EEG technologist at Primary Children’s Hospital. Sierra swam competitively for eight years and has coached at the local swim club for two years. In the summer of 2022, she volunteered as an English teacher for underprivileged children in Costa Rica. She loves adventure, including anything from rock climbing to volcano surfing and paddle boarding.

James Neider

James Neider, MBA, BSN-RN

Advisory Board Public Member

James Neider is the director of the Heart Specialty Care & Transplant Center at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas. Formerly, he was the manager of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program and Neurodiagnostic Program at the University of Utah Hospital. James completed his undergraduate studies in nursing, and his graduate studies in business; he holds a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) and master of business administration (MBA) degrees from Brigham Young University. As a registered nurse, James specialized in heart failure, heart transplant, cardiac diagnostics, and medical telemetry. He has served as adjunct faculty at Ensign College. James is the co-founder of two neurodiagnostic organizations: Utah END Institute and Rocky Mountain Neurodiagnostic Society. He enjoys long-distance running, reading, hiking, camping, and especially, spending time with his wife and four children.

Academic Affiliates

Travis Price

Travis Price, PhD

Academic Affiliate Weber State University

Travis Price has always had an interest in science and the way things worked. He tried to run from the nerdy stereotype, but as an undergraduate student at Weber State University, he finally accepted his destiny, earning a BS in medical laboratory sciences. He went on to earn a MS in laboratory medicine and biomedical sciences through the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah, studying cellular immunology and hypereosinophilc syndrome with Gerald Gleich. He received a PhD in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, from Utah State University. His doctoral dissertation explored emotional intelligence among medical laboratory scientists. Dr. Price has clinical experience as a behavioral health specialist as well as experience as a medical laboratory scientist. He has taught at Weber State since 2003 and is currently the chair of the Health Sciences Department. His interests include health science education, emotional intelligence, undergraduate research, and outdoor adventures that he can convince his wife and four kids to have with him.

Jim Hutchins

Jim Hutchins, PhD

Academic Affiliate Weber State University

Jim Hutchins has been interested in neuroscience since his 6th grade classmates started calling him "Brains," a nickname he hated at the time but now embraces. He grew up in Golden, Colorado, and received his BA in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. While he was there, he attached himself to a mentor, Mark Dubin, who guided his career path toward research and teaching. Jim received an MA in neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD in neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. His PhD dissertation was entitled Evidence for Acetylcholine as a Neurotransmitter in the Human Retina, and he helped collect and process 101 human eye donations for his dissertation research. He asked to change the name of his doctoral dissertation to 101 Donations, convinced it would be a best seller, but his committee would not let him. Jim did his postdoctoral fellowship with Vivien Casagrande at Vanderbilt University and took a faculty position in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he moved up the career ladder. By 2005 he was assistant vice chancellor for faculty development and was named teacher of the year by both medical and dental students. In 2005 Jim moved to Weber State University where he still teaches in the Department of Health Sciences and Neuroscience Program. Jim loves developing curriculum, running, and writing—especially autobiographical statements.

Employer Affiliates

Cherise Tekurio

Cherise Tekurio, R EEG T

Employer Affiliate

Cherise Tekurio is a registered EEG technologist who currently works as a supervisor for the EEG Department for Intermountain Health. She has worked in the field of neurodiagnostics since 2017.
She is passionate about the neurodiagnostic field and finds joy in helping others become the best version of themselves, while striving to deliver the best care to her patients. Cherise is a proud wife and mother of three children. She enjoys baking, Polynesian dancing, and spending quality time with her family.

Amy Dickson

Amy Dickson, AS, R EEG T

Employer Affiliate

Amy offers over six years of EEG experience from multiple Intermountain facilities, including McKay Dee, IMC, LDS, PMC, and a travel position in Washington at a children's hospital. Amy went to the UEI Institute while working in the field and is an R EEG T.  Amy is the inpatient EEG supervisor at PCH.  She is a people person who thrives on challenges, growing, and helping others. She received her associate's in applied science at Weber State University and wants to get her CLTM and bachelor's. She has her cosmetology license and has owned/operated a business for twenty-one years doing hair. Her hobbies include traveling, camping, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

Heidi Blanch has worked at Primary Children's Hospital for twenty-two years. She is the outpatient supervisor for Eccles, Riverton, Layton, Las Vegas, and the New Primary Children's Hospital in Lehi. Heidi graduated from WSU with an AAS degree and is registered in both sleep and EEG. She grew up in Heber City and now lives in Farmington. Out of her eight children, only two live in the state of Utah, so she enjoys traveling to Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Maui for visits. She enjoys the clinical setting and has a real love for her patients and families. 

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Amber Jones, R EEG T

Employer Affiliate

Amber Jones started at Intermountain Heath in 2002 as a critical care technician on the Intensive care unit, and as a Surgical Technician on the OB floor. In 2008, she transferred to the EEG Department as an EEG Technician. She became a R.EEG.T through the Utah END Institute. In 2019, she became the EEG supervisor over McKay-Dee and Logan Regional Hospital’s EEG labs. She has really enjoyed her time in EEG and is continuing to learn new things every day.

Headshot of Brittany O'Bryan

Brittany O'Bryan, R EEG T

Employer Affiliate

Brittany grew up in Boise, Idaho, and has been working in the Neurodiagnostic field since 2013 after graduating from the Institute of Health Sciences. She currently is the EEG manager at St Luke’s in Idaho where she works as a technologist and dedicates her time to teaching her EEG expertise to students and staff. She enjoys camping, boating, bike riding, skiing, and—most of all—her time with her son.

Contact Us

Area E. Lower Level 2, EEG Lab, Rm. B203

50 North Medical Drive

Salt Lake City, UT 84132


Phone: 801-581-3946