Dr. Amanda K. Leef
DVM, Practice Owner
Dr. Amanda Leef’s journey to practice ownership started when she caught a snake as a small child. She graduated in 2003 from Michigan State University’s DVM program and since then has worked in rural mixed animal practices, high-volume spay-neuter programs, animal shelters, and urban small-animal practices. She has been involved in the animal welfare community including delivering training programs for animal service workers and collaborating with non-profits.
Dr. Beth Waisburd
Dr. Beth Waisburd received her undergraduate and veterinary degrees from Cornell University, then went on to complete a rotating internship in surgery and medicine at Purdue University. Beth practiced all over the country before landing in Boston in 2008.
Even with more than twenty years of experience, Beth welcomes the opportunity to expand her knowledge and learn new techniques. She has advanced training in ultrasound and dentistry and gained her certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2014. Above all else, it is the relationship with her clients and patients which continually feeds Beth’s passion to practice. Outside of the clinic, you can find Beth enjoying yoga, eating new flavors of ice cream or spending time with the men in her life - her husband, her two teenage boys and her crazy dog, George.
Dr. Kristie Mientka
Dr. Kristie Mientka grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts and completed her pre-veterinary degree at U-Mass. Before earning her veterinary degree from the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2014, she interned with the Humane Society of the United States in their farm animal welfare section in Washington, DC. During vet school, she traveled to Udaipur, India where she worked at an animal shelter and developed her passion for international veterinary medicine. Since then, she has worked at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hospital in Dublin, Ireland and the Animal Rescue Kingdom in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She spent 3-1/2 years working as a vet at a small animal practice in Sydney, Australia before moving back to Massachusetts. Kristie enjoys exploring Boston neighborhood with her husband, Sam. She is also an avid runner, and has completed three marathons in the last year. When she’s not at Heal, you can find her teaching spin classes in Boston or hanging out with her two Aussie cats, Wesley and Trundle.
Dr. Leigh Davis
Dr. Davis grew up in nearby Carlisle, MA, riding horses and teaching riding lessons. She enjoyed geeking out about various equine diseases and how to care for sick or wounded animals, leading her to a veterinary career. After undergrad at Williams College, she attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2016. After graduation, Dr. Davis spent three years in Philadelphia at a veterinary hospital specializing in primary and emergency care for cats and dogs. There she focused on partnering with clients to form treatment plans best suited to their individual needs. Dr. Davis is thrilled to be back in the Boston area, joining Heal Vet in 2019. She lives in Newton with her husband and their dog, Ollie. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, cross-country skiing, and cooking.
Dr. Jiaming Huang
Dr. Jiaming Huang grew up within the city of Boston and became interested in veterinary medicine after engrossing himself in James Herriot's novels in middle school. He began by volunteering his time at the MSPCA-Angell in Jamaica Plain and later found rewarding experiences caring for injured wildlife at NEWC and Tufts Wildlife Center. He earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his doctorate from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 2021. He is enthusiastic about practicing in his hometown, where he hopes to encourage and support the human-animal bond by connecting with people and their pets. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking new recipes, swimming and weightlifting, and playing video games.
Front Desk Team & Office Admin
Arianna grew up avidly watching Animal Planet and taking care of many pocket pets as well as her beloved cat Ace, who was with her from crib to high school graduation. Her first dog was an elderly chihuahua mix her family foster-failed through the local shelter where she volunteered.
She transitioned from working in a primary care physician office to a veterinary hospital in 2018 and realized that's where she belongs. Her human medicine background helped her learn veterinary medicine with ease - she's accidentally referred to the client as a patient only once or twice! In her free time she can be found at home with her cat, Luna, in her lap at all times or out supporting the local arts scene in Boston.
Front Desk Team
Ashley grew up in central Mass but Waltham has been home since 2012. She managed a small kennel for years then decided to try corporate world... and quickly realized that wasn’t for her! She has a small zoo at home consisting of four dogs, a cat, two snakes, a bearded dragon, and a leopard gecko. Her family wouldn’t be complete without them! When not home with the pets, Ashley loves to be out exploring with her daughter and her wife. They all love the traveling, especially to where there is water! They spend the summer swimming as often as they can.
Front Desk Team, Shift Leader, Vet Tech
Heather is a Massachusetts native who came to Heal by way of a local cat rescue where she volunteers with her daughter. She is passionate about cats and providing great care for the most vulnerable felines. At Heal you can find Heather working the front desk and helping with appointments as a technician. She is proud of all she has learned since joining the Heal team.
Heather shares her home with her husband, kids, and cats Maggie and Azula. When she's not at work she is working on rescue projects, baking with her daughter, or spending time in Maine.
Front Desk Team
Capricia is a West Coast native and has been interested in animals, mostly horses and other farm animals, from a young age. She moved to Massachusetts in 2010. Outside of vet work, Capricia loves sewing, videogames, seeing as many movies as possible, and hanging out with her cat, Pixel. She is pictured her with our hospital cat Phoebe - photo by Philip Bundman who you can reach on our Art page.
Front Desk Team and Tech Assist
Chelsea moved to Massachusetts with her pit mix Augie after serving in the United States Army. She comes to Heal Vet with experience in animal sheltering, adoptions, and animal behavior. She has an extensive record collection and loves to find new albums in local records stores in her free time.
Front Desk Team, Office Admin, Vet Tech, Shift Leader
Lauren is originally from the Midwest (Illinois and Wisconsin) and has been living in Massachusetts since 2001. She’s been in working in veterinary care since 2010, and her experience includes humane societies, house calls, nursing, high volume spay and neuter, private practice and non-profit management, and specialty orthopedics.
Lauren joined our team in August 2020. She loves people just as much as she loves animals, so working at Heal is “a dream come true.” Lauren shares her house with a smart and cuddly brown tabby rescue named Bisti, and very much misses the pair of rescue greyhounds she cared for over ten years. Outside of work, Lauren is usually cooking, fermenting, foraging for wild edible plants, going for a run, lifting weights, or playing fetch with her cat.
Veterinary Technician, Shift Leader
Erin joined the team Heal with three years previous experience working at in small animal practice. She studied Biology and Psychology at Northeastern University and is now attending The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
Since joining the team at Heal, she has had a passion for learning more about surgery/anesthesia, as well as the strong shelter connections we have formed in the area. She also hopes to complete her Fear-Free certification to ensure an easy, low-stress experience for each patient. Outside of work, she also volunteers with the New England Aquarium's medical center, spends time with her family and friends, and hangs with her two dogs Teddy and Penny and her cat Gillie.
No, Erin is not a cat, but until she gives us a picture we will represent her with this cute kitten with a slightly intense look in her eye.
Gwen was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in the surrounding Bay Area. She knew she wanted to work with animals from a very young age, and read every book about rabbits in the Bay Area libraries system when she was 7! She started working with wildlife at the age of 12 and continued all through high school. She went to University of California, Davis, for her undergraduate degree in Animal Biology. During college, she also interned at a county animal shelter and the UC Davis Veterinary School, as well as volunteered at the California Raptor Center. Gwen graduated college in 2020 (right into the COVID pandemic) and moved back to the Bay Area. She worked as a Veterinary Assistant at a dog and cat general practice, but always knew she wanted to work with exotics and wildlife too! After visiting family and friends in Boston in late 2021, she decided she wanted a change, packed up her worldly belongings and dog, Buddy, and made a 3 ½ week road trip to Boston. She is so thrilled to have found Heal, and is looking forward to growing and learning! Outside of work, she loves camping, hiking, baking, art, houseplants, and exploring Boston!
Esther has lived in Brookline her whole life. She has befriended all of the neighborhood cats and enjoys watching the backyard squirrels munch on sunflower seeds through her window. Esther has always had a furry friend by her side and intends to keep it that way! She currently has pet rats, gerbils, mice, and a loving yet particular cat, Bella (don’t worry, Bella is separated from the rats!) In her free time, Esther enjoys playing with her menagerie of animals, reading, and tossing a frisbee.
Esther is a pre-veterinary student at Boston University studying Biology and Marine Science. She joins our team at Heal with prior experience working with wildlife, exotics, and small animals. She is a Level 3 Fear Free Certified Professional and is studying to complete Sophia Yin’s Low-Stress Handling Certification. Esther is eager to expand her knowledge of veterinary medicine at Heal!
Veterinary Technician, RVT
Kaitlyn’s earliest memories are running through salmon filled rivers and watching Moose run down the roads in Alaska. Being surrounded by so much wildlife ignited her desire to learn more about our furry and feathered friends. Even though her time is Alaska was short, the focus on animals remained front and center her entire life. Kaitlyn has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from Ball State University and an Associate degree from Purdue University’s Veterinary Nursing program. She passed the VTNE in April of 2021.
Kaitlyn moved to Massachusetts with her significant other and her dog, Albus, in January 2022 and joined the Heal team soon after. In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys bird-watching, hiking, obsessing over her houseplants, and writing novels.
Jamila was born and raised in Baku, Azerbaijan and moved to the United States with her family in 2013. Her deep love for natural sciences, flora and fauna led her to pursue a biology degree at Clark University in Worcester, MA. during the summer before her junior year she traveled to Ecuador and volunteered at Yana Cocha Wildlife refuge in the Amazon rainforest. There she realized that working with animals can combine her passions of biology and exploring new places, interacting with nature and animals. Upon returning from her trip, she joined the staff of Worcester Cat Hospital and Bird Clinic and became familiar with many different species including reptiles, birds, rodents and cats.
Confident now that she wanted to work with animals, she finally had an answer to the question every college student faces: what to be as an adult. She moved to Boston area after graduation and joined our team at Heal. Here, for the first time, she was able to work with dogs and fell in love with them! Currently living in Boston, she enjoys volunteering, listening to music, dancing and spending time with her friends all while finding her place in the large and exciting field of veterinary medicine.
Leah Pappas-Barnes, CVT
Veterinary Technician, Shift Leader
Leah is a life-long Massachusetts resident who took a winding path to get to Heal. Her interest in veterinary medicine began after adopting her senior dog, Nana, in 2015 and helping her live out her golden years. Wanting to bring the same love and passion she had while caring for Nana-dog to others, she enrolled in North Shore Community College’s Animal Care program and then their Veterinary Technology program, and she graduated in 2020. Leah began at Heal as an intern in 2019 and couldn’t be happier to have found her place here. We are so proud of her for passing the Veterinary Technician National Exam earning her the title of Certified Veterinary Technician. She has also completed Sophia Yin’s Low-Stress Handling certification.
Outside of work, she enjoys dance parties, avant garde fashion, wicked long mountain bike adventures, figuring out how to eat potatoes at every meal and hanging with her two excellent kitties - Marcel and Olive. She not-so-secretly wishes she was in a prog rock band.
Sam grew up in Tucson, Arizona and has been around animals her entire life. At age 19 she attended a medical institute for veterinary assisting where her formal career working with animals began. Sam moved to Boston in 2017 and brought along Gideon (her cat) Shinji (her Shiba Inu) and Michael (her human partner.) In the vet clinic, Sam enjoys seeing appointments but has recently been mastering veterinary surgical support.
In her spare time, Sam loves reading, writing, cooking and singing. She enjoys exploring the Boston area and spending time with her animals and partner.
Sonia grew up in a local suburb where she developed a love for animals and insects. While pursuing her biology degree, Sonia realized she could combine her passion for science and love of animals by working in veterinary medicine.
She came to Heal in early 2022 with previous experience as a veterinary technician. At work, she enjoys phlebotomy, parasite-specific pathology, and anesthesia monitoring. In her free time, Sonia plays the cello, crochets, and crafts.
Ashley Stuart, CVT
Ashley comes to us from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada although she is originally from Lockeport, Nova Scotia, Canada. She attended Dalhousie University which is where she got her diploma of Veterinary Technology in 2014 and successfully passed the VTNE. She has worked since on both the east and west coast of Canada gathering many years of clinical experience before moving to Cambridge with her husband and their cat “Ozzy Pawsbourne”. Ashley enjoys anesthesia, clinical pathology, phlebotomy, and feral cat colony work. She has a love for all animals and her kindness and compassion towards them shows in her interactions with her patients. Her interests outside of work include singing, guitar, songwriting, makeup, fashion, and collecting and restoring Bratz dolls.
Jennifer Szymkowiak, CVT
Jenny grew up in Indiana where she always had an animal by her side. She graduated from Purdue University's Veterinary Technology Program in 2017 with a Bachelor of science. While at Purdue, Jenny met her significant other, Rahul.
Following school, Jenny gained her technician license and worked at a small animal hospital in Indiana. While in Indiana, she gained experience in anesthesia, emergency care, and preventative medicine. Jenny and Rahul moved to the area the summer of 2021. When not working Jenny enjoys reading, crafts, and trying new restaurants.
Mackenzie grew up in the Boston area, and has loved all things animal related from a very young age. She pursued a degree in ceramics at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design for one year, but quickly realized that working with animals was where her heart was.
Mackenzie comes to Heal with an Associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology, which she received from North Shore Community College in the Spring of 2021. She has been working in the field since 2019, and is currently studying for the VTNE to obtain her certification.
In addition to working with dogs and cats, Mackenzie especially loves working with exotic patients - including birds! She has a Green-cheeked Conure named Ducky who loves to cause trouble! When she is not in practice, you can find her drawing, watching The Office, or watering her many, many houseplants.