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2017 Hot Topics in Pediatrics Conference & Annual Dinner | Speaker Bios

Susan Brower, PhD
Dr. Brower is the Minnesota State Demographer and directs the State Demographic Center. She became the state demographer in February 2012. In that capacity, she travels the state talking with Minnesotans about the new social and economic realities that are brought about by recent demographic shifts. Dr. Brower's work applies an understanding of demographic trends to changes in a range of areas including the state's economy and workforce, education, health, immigration and rural population changes.

Amelia Burgess, MD, MPH, FAAP
Dr. Burgess is a pediatrician at Park Nicollet, where her focus is on youth who are in foster care or have been in foster care in the past, or who are working with child protective services. She also do fetal alcohol syndrome assessments.  Dr. Burgess has a special interest in children and adolescents who have experienced abuse and neglect and is a fellow in medical toxicology.  She is particularly interested in children and adolescents who are on many medications for behavior.

Melvin W. Carter III
Mr. Carter currently serves as the executive director of the Minnesota Children's Cabinet, advocating for and advising Governor Mark Dayton on state early childhood policy investments. Prior to his current role, Mr. Carter served on the Saint Paul City Council from 2008 to 2013. In 2009, he created a partnership between City, County, School and grassroots leaders to support high quality education outcomes, which later became the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida A&M University and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Nathan Chomilo, MD, FAAP
Dr. Chomilo received a Zoology degree from Miami University (Oxford, OH) and graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School. He completed his combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and was the Pediatric Chief Resident at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital. He practices as a general pediatrician at Brookdale Clinic and as an internal medicine hospitalist at Methodist Hospital with Park Nicollet Health Services/HealthPartners. His interests include the impact early childhood education has on the long-term prospects of our children, how health literacy affects the care adults receive and addressing racial health equity. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Councils on Communications and Media & on Early Childhood, currently serves as the Medical Director of Reach Out and Read Minnesota, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, has been appointed to Governor Mark Dayton’s Early Learning Council and recently helped start the grassroot organization Minnesota Doctors for Health Equity.

Shanda R. Dorff, MD
Dr. Dorff is a family practice physician at HealthPartners with special interests in care for young children, adolescents and mental health. Other interests include genetic diseases, connective tissue diseases, and mast cell diseases. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency through the University of MN North Memorial Program.

Edward Ehlinger, MD, MSPH
Dr. Ehlinger is Minnesota's Commissioner of Health and past President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). As commissioner, Ehlinger is responsible for directing the work of the Minnesota Department of Health - the state's lead public health agency, dedicated to protecting, maintaining and improving the health of all Minnesotans. Prior to his appointment as health commissioner by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton in January of 2011, Dr. Ehlinger was director and chief health officer at Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota. From 1980 to 1995, he served as director of Personal Health Services for the Minneapolis Health Department. Dr. Ehlinger is also an adjunct professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the U of M School of Public Health. He is board certified in pediatrics and internal medicine. In 2012, the chapter presented him with the Child Advocacy Award.

Nancy Harper, MD, FAAP
Dr. Harper is the Medical Director for the Otto Bremer Trust Center for Safe & Healthy Children at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center.  Dr. Harper is Board Certified in General Pediatrics and Child Abuse Pediatrics.  Dr. Harper graduated from Dartmouth Medical School in 1995, and completed her pediatric residency in 1998 at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in Virginia.  After graduation, Dr. Harper served as a staff pediatrician and Child Abuse Consultant for Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and US Naval Hospital Okinawa in Japan.  In 2004, Dr. Harper resigned from the US Navy and entered into fellowship training in Forensic Pediatrics at Brown University in RI, graduating in January 2007.  Dr. Harper then served as the Medical Director for the CARE Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi TX from 2007 through 2014.   Dr. Harper has served as the programming chair for the AAP Section on Child Abuse and Neglect (SOCAN) and is invested in improving educational opportunities on child maltreatment both nationally and internationally.

Stephanie Hogenson
Mrs. Hogenson is the Research and Policy Director at Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN) where she works primarily on the KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual publication that provides state data based on a variety of indicators that show the well-being of Minnesota's children and families. KIDS COUNT is a project of the national Annie E. Casey Foundation and seeks to provide policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children. Stephanie also helps plan and promote CDF-MN’s policy agenda with a focus on family economic security, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), child care and early education, and health care policies. Additionally, she works on outreach, research and data analysis for CDF-MN's Bridge to Benefits project and the Economic Stability Indicator, a new web-based family budget calculator and policy analysis tool. Prior to working at CDF-MN she was an AmeriCorps member with College Possible, a Research Intern at CDF-MN and worked in residential housing for people with disabilities. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with degrees in Social Work and Print Journalism.

Mark Hudson, MD, FAAP
Dr. Hudson is co-chair of MNAAP's Child Abuse Work Group. He attended the University of Minnesota for medical school and residency. He completed a Child Abuse Fellowship at Midwest Children’s Resource Center and is Board Certified in Child Abuse Pediatrics. He is the Medical Director of Midwest Children’s Resource Center and the Executive Director of the Midwest Regional Child Advocacy Center. 

Brian Lynch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Lynch is a board certified general pediatrician at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Lynch completed medical school at the University of Iowa, pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota, and worked 2 years at Peoples Community Health Center in Waterloo, IA before coming to Mayo in 2007. He has research and clinical interests in the prevention and management of pediatric obesity, promotion of early childhood development and collaboration with community resources.

Sarah Lucken, MD, FAAP
Dr. Lucken is a general pediatrician for children of all ages at HCMC with special expertise in weight management and in caring for refugee and immigrant children and medically complex newborns in the Newborn Intensive Unit Followup Clinic. At HCMC she also consults on child abuse/neglect cases as a member of the Child Maltreatment Physician Consult Team for the past 17 years and is a member of Hennepin County's  Child Mortality Review Panel and its Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Team.  She also serves on the State of Minnesota's Children's Justice Act Task Force.

Kelly Monson, MA Ed, MPA
Mrs. Monson serves as the Manager of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet, which is housed within the office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. Prior to her time at the Governor’s office she served as the Program Coordinator for Minnesota’s Help Me Grow system and as the Minnesota Department of Health’s Early Childhood Policy and Systems Coordinator. Kelly also has various experiences within local school districts, county government and non-profit entities. Kelly is a MN licensed birth-five educator and parent educator. Kelly holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Development and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School. Despite the many years of formal education, Kelly says some of her greatest learning has come from her own two children Spencer (17) and Lily (13).

Elizabeth Reeve, MD
Dr. Reeve is a child and adolescent psychiatrist working with HealthPartners Medial Group and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.  She has 25 years of clinical experience with children and young adults who experience developmental differences including Autism Spectrum Disorders.

L. Read Sulik, MD, FAAP
Dr. Sulik is a child and adolescent, and adult psychiatrist. He is the Chief Integration Officer at PrairieCare and Executive Director of PrairieCare Institute for Care Delivery Innovation, Education, Training and Research in Minneapolis Minnesota, where he leads the organization's initiatives in integrating behavioral health services into primary care and other settings. Dr. Sulik, who has received numerous national honors and awards, lectures across the country on children’s mental health issues and the integration of primary and behavioral healthcare.

Alice Swenson, MD, FAAP
Dr. Swenson is a Child Abuse Pediatrician at the Midwest Children's Resource Center (MCRC) at Children's Hospital of Minnesota. She received her MD at the State University of New York -- Health Science Center at Brooklyn in 2003. She completed a residency in General Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota in 2006 and a Fellowship in Child Abuse Pediatrics at MCRC in 2009. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Child Abuse Pediatrics. She has practiced in Auckland New Zealand and Milwaukee, WI, before returning to Minnesota to the professional staff at Children's Hospital. In her free time she enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her husband and tween daughter.

Rachel Tellez, MD, MD, FAAP
Dr. Téllez is a board certified pediatrician who practices general pediatrics at Park Nicollet Health Services in Brooklyn Center, MN. She received her MD and MS in Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health at the University of Iowa.  Following her pediatric residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, she completed a fellowship in Community Oriented Primary Care/General Academic Pediatrics at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.  She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota AAP (MNAAP) and is the co-chair of the MNAAP Poverty and Disparities Workgroup.  Her interests include health disparities, immigrant and Latino health, health literacy, and quality improvement.

Nicole Truniger, RN, BSN
Mrs. Truniger is a Clinical Services Manager for Allina Health at the Coon Rapids Clinic, located in the North Metro region of Minnesota. Nicole leads a team of providers, Nurses, and Medical Assistants in Pediatrics, Nurse Triage, Nurse Infusion, Plastic Surgery, and the Nurse Float Pool. Previously, Nicole worked at The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, WI as a post-operative nurse as well as a clinic manager for several hospital based wound care centers.  Nicole received her Bachelors of Nursing Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and will graduate this summer 2017 with her Doctorate of Nursing Leadership degree.

Michelle Van Ryn, PhD.
Dr. Van Ryn studies the equity and quality of health care encounters for patients and families, with a special focus on the ways that individual and social interaction processes influence interpersonal quality of care and clinical decision-making. Her research has improved the national understanding of how providers unintentionally contribute to disparities in care. This work is leading to interventions to improve health care encounters, experiences and outcomes for providers, patients and their families. She is also founder and executive director of Partners in Equity and Inclusion, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to translate the best current evidence into practical and effective approaches for achieving true equity, deep diversity and inclusion.

Tessa Wetjen
Mrs. Wetjen is a planner with the Minnesota Department of Health, working on improving education and access to care for women experiencing perinatal mood disorders. She currently manages several perinatal projects, including the Postpartum Depression Screening Quality Improvement Project, a statewide collaborative that supports clinic teams as they improve on education, screening, and referrals for perinatal mood disorders. Mrs. Wetjen has a Masters in Political Affairs from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and an undergraduate dual degree in Mathematics and Government from New Mexico State University. Prior to working with the Minnesota Department of Health, she directed a community based nonprofit serving youth and families in Minneapolis; resettled refugees; and led public health efforts to impact policy and systems for East African refugees in the Twin Cities.

Ellie Zuehlke
Mrs. Zuehlke is the Director of Community Benefit & Engagement at Allina Health, a large not-for-profit health system dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. She leads community benefit, community health improvement, charitable contributions, community relations and employee volunteerism for Allina Health.  Key areas of focus include physical activity and nutrition, mental health, and access to health care for underserved communities. Previously, Mrs. Zuehlke worked for nearly a decade in State and Local public health departments building programs and collaborations related to prevention, wellness, chronic disease management and health equity.  She holds a Master's Degree in Public Health Administration from the University of Minnesota and is active in her community as a board member, mentor, and volunteer.


Past MNAAP conferences: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013