Medical Doctors


Dr. James Cates, M.D.

The oldest of four sons born to Jimmy and JoAnn Cates in Cookeville, TN, James W. Cates, M.D., graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN. Excelling both academics and sports, Dr. Cates was chosen his senior year by the faculty as Battalion Commander for the entire corp, graduated with honors, and was a varsity letterman in both football and track.

After high school, Dr. Cates attended undergraduate programs at UTK, UCLA, and TSU, where he earned his Bachelor of Science. In 1985, Dr. Cates graduated from medical school at Meharry College of Medicine in Nashville and subsequently completed his three-year residency at the UT Medical Center in the Family Physician Program. Dr. Cates has experience in cancer research at the UT Medical Center, microbiology work at UCLA, and in the Department of Endocrinology at Vanderbilt.

In 1987 he began practicing emergency medicine at Cookeville Regional Medical Center and also gained experience while working at Livingston Regional Hospital from 1988-1998, and at Mid State Sports Medicine with Orthopedist Dr. Richard Williams.

He studied ImPACT at the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 and implemented the testing and training to help patients recover more quickly from concussions. As a Credentialed ImPACT Consultant (CIC), Satellite Med is established as a referral center for the entire Upper Cumberland area.

In 2016 Dr. Cates joined 49 other physicians at Harvard Medical School for leadership training and in 2017 he attended the Tennessee Medical Association’s (TMA) Leadership Training. In 2018, Dr. Cates became President of the Upper Cumberland TMA Chapter. He was elected to the Board of Trustees for the TMA in 2018 for a 2-year term. He served an additional year as Vice Chair, and in 2021 Dr Cates was elected as Chairman of the Board. During his time being involved at the state level, he spent many hours discussing and problem-solving the challenging obstacles of practicing medicine in Tennessee. The TMA works closely with Tennessee legislators passing or blocking bills, making laws, and overturning policies that handcuff physicians to practice independently of big pharma and corporate medicine. He was personally involved in writing the bill to require telemedicine reimbursement to pay as equally as a face-to-face visit. He also helped to initiate legislation to push back on burdensome prior authorizations required by third-party payors from physicians on behalf of their patients.

Dr. Cates achieved medical board re-certification in 2022, pushing his certification into 2030.

Dr. Cates is board-certified in Family Medicine and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice (FAAFP).

Dr. Cates is the head Medical Doctor and full-time Chief Manager of Satellite Med.

Dr. Steve Alexander, M.D.

Dr. Alexander was born in Knoxville TN, and according to his parents, genealogy enthusiasts, he is a member of a family that has roots in TN before TN became a state.

In his youth, he was very active in the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout.

He attended UT Medical School and completed his residency at the University of Tennessee - Methodist Hospital.

Dr. Alexander began his career in a hospital based in Cleveland, Tennessee, before accepting an opportunity to build and open 2 hospitals in California.

Following that, Dr. Alexander completed additional training at PRR/UCSD with his eyes on becoming a missionary doctor in service to the Lord.

It wasn't just a job opportunity that brought him to Satellite Med but a calling and an answer to prayer.

He is excited to see how the Lord can use him to serve the patients of the Upper Cumberland at Satellite Med. As patients hopefully discover when seeing Dr. Alexander, he simply is:

a physician, in service to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. (Luke 5:17).


Dr. Alexander is happily married and has 4 grown children. In his time off he enjoys studying the bible, playing guitar, hiking in the beautiful Upper Cumberlands and rooting for the Vols.


Mid-Level Providers


April Looper, PA-C

April is from Livingston, TN. She attended the University of the South in Sewanee, TN and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry before beginning the Physician Assistant program at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. April is a member of the Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) and the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). She has a special interest in Veterans and hopes to one day help improve the healthcare they receive. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, traveling, and reading.


Larissa Rich, PA-C

Larissa worked as a scribe at Satellite Med while attending Tennessee Tech University. She completed part of her South College clinical rotation at Satellite Med.

Larissa is from Hermitage Springs, TN but has lived in Cookeville since 2012. She attended Tennessee Tech University for three and a half years to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology & Health Sciences. She then graduated from South College's Physician Assistant program in Knoxville, TN. 

She enjoys hiking, traveling, and going back home to spend time with her family.



 Bethney Vaught, FNP-C

Bethney is from a small town located in Smith County, Tn. She attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tn where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1997. Following graduation, she worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse at St. Thomas Rutherford for seventeen years. She began work in the Surgical Department at Cookeville Regional Medical Center in 2013 until just recently in 2021. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from Tennessee Technological University in December 2020 and her Family Nurse Practitioner Certification in February 2021. She also has experience working as an FNP in Women’s Health and Obstetric care.

 Bethney is married of 25 years with a 21-year-old son and 24-year-old daughter. She enjoys spending time with her family and attending her local church. She is thankful God has helped her accomplish her goal of becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner and feels blessed to be able to care for patients of Cookeville and the surrounding communities.



Pepe Thompson, ACNP-BC


Pepe was born and raised in Oklahoma where she attended Oklahoma State University and graduated from Central Oklahoma State with a degree in art. She went back to school at The University of Texas in Arlington and graduated with her BSN and MSN as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Pepe has been a Nurse Practitioner for over 20 years. She has experience in many areas, including Cardiology, Pulmonary, Internal, Emergency, and Hospital Medicine.

 Pepe moved to Cookeville 19 years ago with her husband, Chris Brown, who teaches Biology at Tennessee Tech University. Her daughter, Katie Brown, is a recent graduate from UT.

 Pepe enjoys horseback riding, reading, and all types of crafts. Pepe and her family have traveled to several foreign countries and they plan to travel to more.

Christina Green,

B.S., M.S., EdS., M.A.

Christina (Tina) has spent the past 30 years serving as a professional educator, with three degrees in education and a passion for serving special needs children and their parents.  In addition, she has worked side-by-side with her husband, Dr. Craig Green, as a pastoral counselor—which is the area of specialization in her latest degree—a Master's in pastoral counseling. 

Christina has served as the Special Education Supervisor for the Overton County School System for the past five years.  She will always be an advocate for those who can defend themselves least. 

God has ordained a new season of service for Tina—one free from constraints to openly share the One and only One who truly defends the weak and who truly heals the wounded—Jesus Christ the Lord. 

With deep trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring real and lasting healing, Tina will gently and lovingly engage her clients as they receive the healing available in areas such as:



*Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, ADD

*Alcohol and substance abuse

*Juvenile delinquency

*Conflict resolution

*Grief counseling

*Marriage Counseling (Pre, Present, Post)

*Sexual abuse counseling

*Eating Disorders and self-harm

*Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD)