Who Delivers YCare?

YCare is delivered by trained professionals:

  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Social Workers
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Assistive Device Specialists

All professionals receive pre-training with YCare.



YCare staff


Dr. Melinda S. Kavanaugh earned her PhD in social welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her primary research area addresses caregiving youth/young carers, an isolated and little-known caregiving population of children and teens acting as caregivers for family members with chronic illness.

Dr. Kavanaugh has been interviewed on youth caregiving, and presented nationally and internationally on caregiving youth, youth program development, and the inclusion of youth in state and national caregiving policies and programs.

Miranda Wenzlaff, MS, CCRP

Miranda Wenzlaff is a certified clinical research professional who joined the research team at UWM in 2019. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2008, and her Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology in 2012. She serves as the Research Program Manager for Dr. Kavanaugh and assists with oversight of the YCare program.


Current YCare trainers

ALS chapter leadership

Lori Banker-Horner, BA, LPN
Director, Clinical Programs, ALS National Office

Lori has been working with the ALS community since 1997. She was with the ALS Association Wisconsin Chapter as care services director until August 2019 and is currently the director of clinical programs for the ALS Association national office. Lori received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and adult education from Alverno College. She has been a Licensed Practical Nurse for more than 30 years serving in many areas of health care, including the National Care Services Committee for the ALS Association along with several subcommittee appointments.

Tremetris Harrell, BSW, MHA
Vice President, Care Services, ALS Association
Washington, D.C.

Tremetris joined the ALS Association DC/MD/VA Chapter in June 2008 as a care services coordinator serving persons living with ALS and their families in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. She is currently the vice president of care services at the chapter. Tremetris received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Christopher Newport University in 2006 and her master’s degree in healthcare administration from Capella University in 2014.


Suzanne Schrag
Care Services Director, ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter

Suzanne was born and raised in Connecticut. She received her associate degree in science in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program in 1987. She began working at the ALS Association in 2006 and worked as care services coordinator for 10 years before moving into the senior care coordinator position. As care services director, she is responsible for creating, improving and maintaining all chapter programs and services available for people with ALS and their families.


Physical therapists:

Kristy Allen, DPT
Physical Therapist

Kristy has been a physical therapy team member at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center’s multidisciplinary ALSA Certified Center since 2007. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in health sciences (2001) and her Master of Science degree in physical therapy (2003) from Boston University. She received her DPT in 2014 from Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions. During her outpatient career she has specialized in treating patients with neurological, vestibular and orthopedic diagnoses.


Heather Hayes, DPT, PhD
Physical Therapist

Dr. Hayes, DPT, PhD, is a board-certified clinical specialist in neurologic physical therapy. She has worked with individuals with ALS for 15 years. She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University in 2003, and her PhD in exercise and sports science from University of Utah in 2016. Her current research focus in ALS includes driving, caregiver burden and mobility concerns.


Christina Wipperman, PT, NCS, C/NDT
Physical Therapist

Chris graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy. She has been a PT for more than 23 years and has worked with patients with neurological diagnoses for the majority of her career. Chris was the recipient of the Mary Pat Murray Award in 2007 for her dedication to the physical therapy profession in southeastern Wisconsin. She became a Neuro Clinical Specialist (NCS) in 2006 and has since recertified in 2016. She serves in the weekly ALS clinic since 2006 and assisted and helps maintain the National ALS Certification.

Occupational therapists:

Julie Murray, OTR/L


Occupational Therapist

Julie is an occupational therapist with 18 years of experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings, treating patients with neurological conditions. She has worked in the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center ALS Clinic for more than 10 years. She has a certification in home modification from University of Southern California.


Debra Romoren, OTR
Occupational Therapist

Debra is a registered occupational therapist with 40 years of experience in acute care/neurology in large teaching hospitals affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin. She has 16 years of experience working in the ALS Clinic at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. She has had experience with the ALS symposium and support groups for 16 years, and has participated in the YCare program since it began.


Speech-language pathologists:

Suzi Bloedel, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S
Speech Pathologist

Suzi has worked as a speech pathologist at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center for more than 25 years. She is board-certified in swallowing and swallowing disorders. She has been a member of the ALS Clinic Care Team at the VA since 2004.


Elisabeth Dolloff, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Pathologist

Elisabeth is a speech pathologist at the ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter, where she provides Augmentative Communication (AAC) supports to people living with ALS throughout New England. She also provides consultation and professional training on communication needs and collaborates with area ALS clinic teams. She is a licensed and board-certified speech-language pathologist, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in linguistics from Boston College and Master of Science degree in communication sciences and disorders from the University of New Hampshire.


Tracy Gee, MA, CCC-SLP
Washington, D.C.

Tracy is a medical speech-language pathologist who has been working in the hospital setting for 10 years. She works at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. and has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the GW interdisciplinary ALS clinic since she started practicing.


Elizabeth Kelley, SLP
Speech Pathologist

Libby is a speech-language pathologist working in the outpatient neurological rehabilitation setting. She has worked with Froedtert Hospital for the past two and a half years and has been an SLP in the medical field for the past eight years. She has worked with the ALS population for the past one and a half years. She received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Marquette University, and her undergraduate degree in speech and hearing science from the University of Illinois.


Meghan O’Brien, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Pathologist

Meghan is a speech-language pathologist in the Augmentative Communication Program and ALS Augmentative Communication Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. She has specialized in augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) for 13 years. She is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. Meghan previously worked as the lead AAC consultant for the Los Angeles Unified School District.


Social workers:

Emily Jordison
Utah Coordinator, ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter

With a background in nonprofits and a passion for helping people, Emily found her calling working with people and families with ALS. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in psychology, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in clinic health and education from the University of Utah. She loves working at the ALS Association Rocky Mountain Chapter and helping provide care and services to the people of Utah.


Terah Ryan
Care Services Coordinator
Washington D.C.

Terah is a care services coordinator with the ALS Association DC/MD/VA Chapter and has been working with people with ALS and their families since November 2018. Terah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work (2017) from Hope College and a master’s degree in clinical social work with an emphasis in healthcare social work (2018) from Michigan State University. Terah is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker in Washington, D.C., where she lives and works.


Shannon Sullivan
Care Services Manager, ALS Association Massachusetts Chapter

Shannon is the care services manager with the ALS Association, Massachusetts Chapter. Shannon has been working with the chapter since 2014, providing direct support and services to those living with ALS and their families. She serves as a liaison between families and the many ALS clinics throughout Massachusetts. In 2011, Shannon received her master’s degree and certificate of advanced graduate studies in rehabilitation counseling from Assumption College.


Respiratory therapist:

Kevin Rush, BS, BA, RRT, RPSGT

Kevin graduated from Quinnipiac College in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory therapy. He became registered as a respiratory therapist in 1997. He graduated from Patriot University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. In 2007, Kevin became registered as an RPSGT and accepted a position as a sleep consultant for Respironics where he currently serves as a clinical specialist and regional field trainer covering the six states of New England.


Assistive device specialists:

Regan Flores
Assistive Technology Specialist
Washington, D.C.

Regan has been with the ALS Association DC/MD/VA Chapter since July 2017. Her current position with the chapter is the assistive technology specialist for Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Regan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from Radford University in May 2017.


Daniéle Raneri, MA, CCC-SLP
Assistive Technology Specialist
Washington, D.C.

Daniéle is an assistive technology specialist with the ALS Association DC/MD/VA Chapter. Daniéle received her bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from Temple University and her master’s degree in hearing and speech sciences from the University of Maryland. Daniéle is an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) speech-language pathologist. She is certified by ASHA and licensed to practice in Maryland.



Paul E. Barkhaus, MD, FAAN, FAANEM
Chief of Neuromuscular Program, Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Barkhaus is a senior scientist, professor of neurology and physical medicine, and the chief of the Neuromuscular Program in the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He has done extensive research in both basic and clinical neurology, targeting neuromuscular disorders and electromyographic (EMG) studies. He is the founder and medical director of the multidisciplinary ALS clinic at Froedtert Hospital and the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.


Dominic Fee, MD
Associate Professor of Neurology

Dr. Fee completed his medical school at the University of Iowa, neurology residency and neuromuscular fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, and neurogenetics fellowship at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. His clinical interests include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), myasthenia gravis, muscular dystrophies and other neuromuscular conditions. His research has focused on neurotrauma, neuroimmunology of injury and neuromuscular disorders.