Meet Our Staff

Our Veterinarians

Lisa Harrenstien, DVM, Dipl. ACZM

Lisa Harrenstien

Dr. Lisa Harrenstien is the owner of Avian and Exotic Veterinary Care, which she founded in April 2016. Dr. Harrenstien has 29 years of experience as a veterinarian, including employment in private small animal/exotics practice, university exotics practice, postdoctoral training in zoological pathology, consultant work related to avian and exotic species, and zoo practice. She was an associate veterinarian at the Oregon Zoo for 13 years, and is a Board Certified Specialist in Zoological Medicine(TM), an ACZM Diplomate. The ACZM is the American College of Zoological Medicine, which is the veterinary specialty organization related to the care of avian/exotic companion animals, as well as free-ranging wildlife and animals in zoological facilities. Dr. Harrenstien was the first veterinarian in Oregon to have achieved this specialist ranking, and remains the only private practice veterinarian in the Pacific Northwest with this status.

Dr. Harrenstien belongs to numerous veterinary organizations, including the Portland Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. She is on the executive committee of the American College of Zoological Medicine, serving as the organization’s treasurer. 

Dr. Harrenstien’s favorite patients over the years have usually been the ones that heal well from serious illnesses and still appreciate her veterinary visits, including a California sea otter named “Thelma” who needed a lung removed, a young double yellow headed Amazon parrot named “Miss Lilly” who had her upper beak bitten off by a macaw, and a Houston toad named “Ratatouille” whose face and toes healed well after a predatory attack by a rat.

Paul Gibbons, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP (Reptile/Amphibian)

Paul Gibbons

Dr. Paul Gibbons joined AEVC in January 2018 as our associate veterinarian, bringing 23 years of veterinary experience to our team. Dr. Gibbons obtained his DVM degree at the University of Illinois, completed a clinical residency in avian, herpetological, and non-domestic mammal medicine at University of California–Davis, and obtained his Master of Science degree from UC-Davis emphasizing diagnostic assay validation and wildlife disease ecology. Early in his career he worked in mixed animal practice in the Midwest, then founded an exotics private practice in Wisconsin, then became Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Turtle Conservancy, a global conservation NGO.

Dr. Gibbons is a board-certified specialist in Reptile and Amphibian practice through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP), being a founding Diplomate, and from 2002 to 2012 was ABVP board certified in avian medicine. Dr. Gibbons is very active in professional veterinary organizations, including being Past-President of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. His work is published in numerous scientific journals, conference proceedings, and lay periodicals, and he has been an invited educator at conferences and conservation facilities throughout the world. In 2009, Dr. Gibbons was selected by his peers for the “Exotic DVM of the Year Award.” He serves the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as program leader of the Ploughshare Tortoise Species Survival Plan, on the Radiated Tortoise SSP Advisory Committee, and on the Steering Committee of the Chelonian Advisory Group. He is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group and the Conservation Planning Specialist Group.

Dr. Gibbons is passionate about helping people to sort through myriad sources of information to solve health problems and ensure the best possible care for exotic animals.

Josie Rose, DVM

Josie Rose

Dr. Rose joined AEVC in August 2018 as an intern/associate veterinarian. She is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and her interest in exotic and zoological medicine has taken her across the country. Her interest in zoological medicine started in high school when she worked as an extern with the Veterinary Department at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and continued through her undergraduate training at Ohio State University. She is a 2013 graduate of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and it was at UC Davis where she met her husband, a fellow veterinarian. Following graduation from veterinary school, she completed a small animal rotating internship at VCA Loomis Basin near Sacramento, California and then proceeded to work the following year and a half in small animal medicine in Bakersfield, California. During this time, she provided contract services for the local zoo. Following this experience, she completed two internships in zoological medicine at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Indianapolis Zoo. She enjoys research, and was recognized by Morris Animal Foundation for her research with black rhinos during her veterinary training. She has published two articles, and also presented two topics at the 2018 American Association of Zoo Veterinarian's conference in Prague, Czech Republic. Dr. Rose enjoys veterinary problems that require "thinking outside the box" for solutions. She especially loves cases that integrate many different disciplines to achieve the best outcome for exotic patients. Dr. Rose runs half marathons and enjoys trivia competitions, historical documentaries, and visiting her many family members across the country. She is very excited to be a part of the AEVC team!

Veterinary Technicians

Alexa Franklin, CVT

Alexa Franklin, CVT

Alexa is an Oregon native, having grown up in Salem. She has always had a passion for exotic and zoo animals, and has cultivated that passion with volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation center and attending Portland Community College's Veterinary Technician program, which she graduated from in 2016. Alexa knew early on in her veterinary career that exotic animal medicine was the specialty for her, and working at AEVC makes that dream a reality. Alexa lives with a variety of animals including two cats, one dog, a hedgehog, a leopard gecko, a crested gecko and a betta fish. In her spare time she enjoys reading, playing video games and drawing.

Jennie Parker, CVT

Jennie Parker, CVT

Jennie is a native of Oklahoma and has had a passion for exotic animals since she was a little girl. She graduated from Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City Campus in 2014 with a degree in Veterinary Technology. In Oklahoma, she worked at a 24 hour emergency veterinary clinic for 4 years. Jennie moved to Oregon at the beginning of 2019 with the goal of becoming a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Exotic Companion Animals; there are currently only 10 of these technicians in the country! Jennie has owned a wide variety of animals such as sugar gliders, rabbits, snakes, lizards, birds, small mammals, tarantulas, cats and dogs. In her spare time, Jennie likes to stretch her creative wings with drawing and other media.

Rachel Schwab, CVT

Rachel Schwab, CVT

An Oregon native, Rachel recently moved back home in January 2019 after residing for many years in Colorado and New Mexico. Pursuing a dream of becoming a veterinary technician, she graduated from Bel Rea Institute of Veterinary Technology in 2008 and worked in small animal clinics with gradual exposure to more exotic species. She has grown increasingly passionate throughout the years about exotic medicine and continues to further her education on all species. She lives in Portland with two bonded male New Zealand rabbits and a mischievous feline named Ivan. She volunteers when she can for the local Rabbit Advocates organization.

Receptionists & Veterinary Assistants

Kali Ackerman

Kali Ackerman

Kali is a New York native with nearly 15 years of professional animal care experience with reptiles, fish, birds, small animals, exotic pets, and dogs and cats. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from SUNY- College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her passion for nature, local community, and less snow led her to the PNW, where she helped run Portland’s largest independent pet store for 11 years. Kali has opened her home to many pets over the years including cats, dogs, dumbo rats, several aquariums, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and finches. Kali runs her own pet sitting business and is excited to be part of the AEVC team! She is dedicated to animal health and pet parent education.

Declan Cowan

Declan Cowan

Declan is a California native who recently relocated to Portland to gain more experience pursuing a career in exotic veterinary medicine. He graduated from Humboldt State University where he earned a Bachelor's degree majoring in both Zoology and Biology with a marine emphasis (due to his love of cephalopods). While still a relative newcomer to exotic veterinary care, Declan has had past clinic experience and many opportunities to work with exotic animals, including internships at Monterey Bay Aquarium and Sequoia Park Zoo, his senior research project on octopus dietary preferences, and more! In his free time he enjoys going bouldering, riding his bike, playing music, and caring for his pet cockatiel, his Chilean rose-hair tarantula, and his Stimson's python.

Mandy Dickson

Mandy Dickson

Mandy is a born and raised native of Portland, Oregon. She first worked with exotic animals when she was a ZooTeen at the Oregon Zoo in high school, and she was able to follow her passion by attending PCC's Biology and Management of Zoo Animals program, obtaining an Associate of Applied Sciences degree. Mandy completed a year long co-op internship at the Oregon Zoo and a 3 month internship at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, WA working with a wide variety of species in their Asian Forest Sanctuary exhibit. Mandy previously worked in emergency veterinary medicine but has now been given the amazing chance to extend her insight and her abilities at AEVC. In her spare time, Mandy enjoys reading manga, watching anime and doing puzzles.

Kathleen Studdert

Kathleen Studdert

Kathleen has had a lifelong love for animals. Her first pets were a guinea pig and silkworms when she was four years old, and she started fostering orphaned kittens when she was twelve. Kathleen's passion for wildlife and conservation guided her to earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. With a desire to get hands on experience with a wide range of animal species, Kathleen completed the 2 year Biology and Management of Zoo Animals program at PCC. Through the program Kathleen completed a student internship at the Oregon Zoo, and she has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation at the Audubon Society of Portland for almost five years.  Throughout Kathleen’s life, she has had a variety of pets from box turtles and rats to parakeets. Currently, Kathleen has a dog, two cats, five goldfish, and a 20-year-old corn snake.