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405 Saddle Dr
Helena, MT 59601

Phone 1-855-200-6822
Fax (406) 206-0304

Mon - Fri 7:00 am - 6:00 pm 

Saturday 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Meet the Providers

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants:

Click HERE to learn about Wellness Coaches.


Nathaniel Buffington

Nathaniel Buffington, Exec MD 

Nathaniel Buffington was raised in Great Falls, Montana.  He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences from Montana State University. He attended the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and completed his residency in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Dr. Buffington is Board-Certified in Family Medicine.

Dr. Buffington’s areas of medical interest include preventive medicine, sports medicine, pediatrics, and diabetes management. He has a wife and two teenage boys and enjoys fly fishing, hiking, camping, and hunting in the great outdoors. 

Joe Gassenberg, MD

Dr. Joe Gassenberg is a family physician raised in Butte, Montana.  He attended Carroll College for his undergraduate work, and later Creighton University School of Medicine.  After completing residency in Spokane, Dr. Gassenberg worked in Helena at the Leo Pocha Clinic.  He has been in Missoula the last five years, and is happy to be back in Helena.

Dr. Gassenberg enjoys all aspects of family medicine, but particularly pediatrics, chronic disease management, and psychiatry. Preventive care is an important emphasis for family medicine.

As a native Montanan, Dr. Gassenberg loves the outdoors.  He particularly enjoys hiking and fly fishing. When not working, you may see him at Carroll College Athletic events, or floating the Blackfoot.  He is looking forward to being involved in the Helena Community. 

Richard Sargent, MD

Dr. Richard Sargent has been practicing in Helena for the past 25 years. He served on the Physician Assistant's Committee of the Montana Board of Medical Examiners from 1991 to 1998, on the Medicaid Drug Utilization Review Committee from 1999-2011, and was Chairman of Quality Assurance at St. Peter's Hospital for two terms. He was a leader in the effort to make Helena, and eventually Montana, smoke-free. Dr. Sargent co-authored a study, with Dr. Robert Shepard, demonstrating the rapid reduction in heart attacks in Helena following passage of Helena's Clean Indoor Air Ordinance.  He presented the study at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Assembly in 2003. Dr. Sargent has received numerous awards for his work in tobacco control and was named "Family Doctor of the Year" by his peers in the Montana Academy of Family Physicians in 2010. He is married and has three children who are enrolled in, or graduated from, Helena's Public School system. 

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants:

Kari Cunningham

Kari Cunningham, NP

Kari Cunningham was born and raised in Colorado, where she received her Nursing degree at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. She worked as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse for five years in Colorado and Idaho. Kari married a Montanan and moved here 10 years ago. She received her Master’s in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner (NP) Degree from Idaho State University.  She worked in the Emergency Room and Urgent Care for four and a half years and has been practicing as an NP for CareHere for the past four years. She and her family love to enjoy the great Montana outdoors!

Lisa Kenny, NP
Lisa graduated from Gonzaga in 1998. She is married and has two children. She has lived in Montana her whole life. Lisa's practice has focused on Women's health care, Mental health , Substance abuse and Internal medicine. She has worked for the last 12 years at Cooperative Health Center in Helena running the Health Care for the Homeless program at the local shelter. During this time she also worked with the Department of Corrections providing medical and mental health care at a 9 month substance abuse treatment program for women.

Lisa enjoys cooking, gardening, canning, knitting, felting, calligraphy, bird hunting and hiking.

Ed Leas

Ed Leas, PA
Ed has over 13 years of medical experience practicing as a Physician Assistant. After high school, he enlisted in the US Coast Guard as a Corpsman working on the Great Lakes and at an air station in Port Angeles, WA. Upon leaving the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Washington and completed his undergraduate degree at UW and attended the Physician Assistant program at Oregon Health Science University where he graduated with top honors in 1999.

Since then, Ed has been working in Family medicine including occupational health and most recently in Emergency medicine in Conrad and Polson, Montana. While in Polson, Ed was recognized for his exceptional care of patients by receiving the DOVES provider of the year award. Ed continues to pursue his passion for the outdoors whenever time will allow. During the summer, he is usually found outdoors hiking, camping, biking or running. During the winter, he is hunting or backcountry skiing with his son, Daniel age 10 and wife, Melinda.

Cassie Springer

Cassie Springer, PA

Cassie is a Montana native, born and raised in Livingston. She received her B.S. from MSU- Bozeman in 2002. Following graduation she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, East Africa. While in Tanzania, Cassie worked on many general health issues and education. This experience led her to realize her real desire to work in the health/medical field.

Cassie returned to school in 2009 and received her Masters of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies in Phoenix, AZ. She has backgrounds in Family Practice and Women’s Health. She enjoys spending time with her husband and son, skiing, running, and going to Bobcat football games.

Morgan Stearns, PA

Morgan Strearns is a long-time Montana resident who, along with his wife Jamie, daughters Delaney-8, Peyton-6, and Kenley-3, reside in Ennis, MT. As a family they enjoy outdoor activities and being involved with their local parish.

Prior to becoming a physician assistant, Morgan cared for patients with disabilities in Butte and Helena, provided home hospice services in Hawaii, and medic duties at a maximum security facility in Idaho. Morgan graduated from the MEDEX Physician Assistant program at the University of Washington in 2008. Since then he has worked in primary care in both pediatric  and adult medicine. He enjoys many aspects of being a PA but especially the personal interaction with patients. His certifications include; BLS, ACLS, ATLS, PALS, and APLS.

Aside from being a PA, Morgan also serves as a helicopter instructor pilot for the Montana National Guard Medevac Company in Helena. His military service spans over 24 years and includes active duty Marine Corps, Reserves, and National Guard.

Stephen Ziegler

Stephen Ziegler, PA

Stephen lives in Helena with his wife and daughter. He worked as a paramedic for 15 years prior to attending The George Washington University Physician Assistant Program in Washington, D.C. He has worked in urgent care for the past eight years. He and his family appreciate the people in this community, and especially enjoy all things outdoors in Montana, especially fishing, hiking, camping and skiing.