AAP Family Leaders

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FPN Executive Committee


​The FamilY Partnerships Network is led by a 8-member Executive Committee. Members are appointed by the AAP Board of Directors.

Tom Rose, Chairperson

Tom Rose is the Executive Director of IMPACT Personal Safety of Colorado, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to restoring empowerment and choice by equipping our participants with the emotional, verbal, and physical skills to move freely and safely in the world.

Tom has more than 30 years of leadership and management experience with organizations helping at-risk, under-served and vulnerable populations. During his career he has worked in the following areas: Behavioral Health, Child Welfare, Disabilities, Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Treatment, Family Leadership and Engagement, Healthcare Policy and Financing, and Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. 

Tom is a Member and past Chair of the Colorado Medicaid Provider Rate Review Advisory Committee, and he served for four years as Treasurer and Policy Committee Member of Family Voices National.  Tom also served for five years as a member of the Georgetown University – Community of Practice for Cultural and Linguistic Competency in Disabilities, and for two years was a Member of the Regional Transportation District Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities.

Tom is also a Certified Trainer for “Serving on Groups that Make Decisions – A Guide for Families and Self Advocates”, and for “Leading by Convening – A Blueprint for Providers for Authentic Family Engagement”.

Tom enjoys the Colorado lifestyle with his wife Beatriz and is the proud father of two young adults. His daughter Lucia is in law school and his son, Sage is an undergraduate, with a pre-law focus. Both are at the University of San Diego. Tom’s hobbies include: a love of history, learning about different cultures, mountain biking, swimming, and gourmet cooking. 

Tamela Milan-Alexander, MAPPA, Chair Elect

Tamela is a part of the Maternal and Child Health Partnership and Outreach team at Access Community Health Network. She completed her Bachelor's Degree at Concordia University in 2014, and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from National Louis University and is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Organizational Management. Tamela is the mother of six and has five grandchildren. Tamela has more than 20 years’ experience in the MCH community working as a peer educator, developmental screener, and motivational speaker, as well as a Healthy Start case manager. She was one of the first consumers nominated for the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) Board of Directors, where she served for several years. Ms. Milan has grown through many of her Healthy Start friends and has represented Healthy Start nationally and locally at organizations like Today’s Black Child, Bright Futures and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Kole Binger, BS

Kole completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017. She is working as a research specialist on the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research team (SMAHRT) at UW Hospital and Clinics, while she hopes to begin medical school during fall of 2019.  During her junior and senior year of high school, Kole struggled with a recurrent medical issue that inspired her passion to become a physician. As a physician, she plans to continue advocating for patients and improving delivery of patient and family-centered care. Kole has experience offering a patient perspective to inform and improve health care delivery during her work on the Pediatric-Adult Inpatient Transition Steering Committee. She offered her perspective to inform policy surrounding this issue and has continued to be involved in its implementation, ensuring patient and family engagement remains a top priority. Kole has worked as a liaison between patients and providers at myriad events including patient work groups and town-halls, responsible for supporting collaboration with the goal of improving the quality of care in both inpatient and ambulatory settings.

Michael Hannon, PhD, LAC, NCC​
Dr. Michael Hannon is an Associate Professor of Counseling at Montclair State University. His experiences as a counseling professional stretch 20 years and includes current work as a clinical mental health counselor and past experience as a school counselor and student affairs professional. Dr. Hannon’s research and clinical interests primarily focus on Black men’s wellness, with a focus on the value they derive from their roles as fathers, community leaders, clients, and counselor educators. His dissertation was the first study about the lived experiences of Black fathers of individuals with autism. His secondary research interests are about the professional development needs school counselors serving racially and ethnically diverse students and families.

To date, Dr. Hannon has authored 24 publications (17 refereed) and has made over 80 presentations (50 refereed) at professional counseling and allied health conferences. His research has been featured in several counseling and educational journals. He has been a featured contributor to media outlets and organizations such as Autism Speaks, Thrive Global, Fusion, and Huffington Post. His forthcoming book, Black Fathering and Mental Health: Black Fathers Discuss the Needs of Men and Fathers Across the Family Life Cycle, will be published by Peter Lang in early 2021.

Dr. Hannon earned a doctoral degree in Counselor Education & Supervision from The Pennsylvania State University, an Educational Specialist degree in School Counseling Services from Rider University, a master’s degree in Student Affairs Practice and a bachelor’s in Human Development & Family Processes from the University of Delaware. Dr. Hannon and his wife, Dr. LaChan Hannon, are the co-founders of the Greater Expectations Teaching and Advocacy Center for Childhood Disabilities, Inc. (GETAC), a non-profit organization in Burlington County, New Jersey dedicated to supporting families raising and institutions serving children with neuro-diverse and other marginalized children and families.

Cathy Salazar
Chrissie is a nationally recognized patient and family advisor in healthcare. Parent to a medically fragile child herself, she volunteered as a Patient and Family Advisor for many years on several committees across University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. She served on the first CMS’ Partnership for Patients Campaign's Patient and Family Engagement Network and co-led their PFE Best Emerging Practices and Success Stories affinity group. She participates on the Solutions for Patient Safety's Family Engagement Task Force, the Children’s Hospital Association’s Speak Now for Kids Advisory Board, the Ohio Patient Safety Institute Board, the Institute of Medicine’s Patient and Family Council Leadership Team (informal), the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, and participated in the National Patient Safety Foundation’s Certification for Professionals in Patient Safety job analysis board. Ms Blackburn has encouraged dialogue among medical and nursing staff, students, and health care leaders teaching and speaking about patient and family engagement nationally. She holds a Bachelor of Liberal Studies with a focus in Psychology and Sociology from Bowling Green State University and a Masters of Health Care Administration from University of Phoenix. In January 2014 she was appointed to the position of Principal Advisor of Patient and Family Engagement for the University Hospitals Health System. She reports and directly works with UH leadership on implementing Patient and Family Engagement practices and strategies across a large, complex academic medical center and its 11 community hospitals.


Cathy Salazar lives in Albuquerque, NM and works for Parents Reaching Out (PRO) as the Lead Healthcare Family Liaison for the Family to Family Healthcare Information Center (F2FHIC).  She is also the Family as Faculty Coordinator for the University of New Mexico (UNM) Medical School Pediatric Clerkship Program.   

In her role as Lead Healthcare Liaison for Parents Reaching Out (PRO) Cathy is the NM Family Delegate for the Association of Maternal Child Health Programs (AMCHP).  She has been appointed to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Family Partnerships Network Executive Council (FPN EC).  Cathy also is a family representative for the Mountain States Regional Genetics Network (MSRGN). She is the PRO representative on the NM Advisory Council on Quality (ACQ).  Cathy sits on many other state and federal councils, committees, and workgroups. 

Cathy volunteers her time on the Board of Directors for LifeRoots, a local nonprofit that provides services for adults with disabilities and children with special needs.  She is on the Medically Fragile Family Advisory Board, and the Mi Via Waiver Advisory Council as a parent representative.   She is a 2015 graduate of The Partners in Policymaking Leadership Training Program and a 2017 graduate of the Pediatric Pulmonary Center Training Program. 

Her most important role is that of a mother of 9 children and the grandmother of 1 grandson.  Cathy has 3 birth children who are all young adults and 6 adopted children from the NM Foster Care system.  One of her daughters died in 2013 at the age of 13 from a traumatic brain injury.  Her 2 sons' in their 20's live with mental health disorders and the youngest 3 children all have medical complexities.  She has been married for 35 years and has a very full and busy life.  

Jodi Smith, Esq.
Jodi Smith is currently the National Program Director for the Mended Hearts, Inc. (MHI), the nation’s largest cardiovascular disease peer-to-peer support program for heart patients of all ages and their families.  In this position, Jodi develops and implements programs and services MHI’s 39,000 members, 753 volunteer leaders and 251 chapters throughout the nation. Programs include online and print educational resources, hospital programs, training programs, educational conferences, awareness campaigns and advocacy programs designed to empower patients, caregivers and families with information and resources that improve their quality of life.

Jodi has a background in corporate leadership training, teaching and law.  Before joining the Mended Hearts team, she worked as a leadership training consultant creating and conducting leadership training programs for a variety of companies, including Fortune 500 companies. Subsequently, she worked at a mid-sized law firm as a litigation attorney. Jodi was also an adjunct professor teaching leadership and law classes for University of Richmond’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies and the School of Law. She is currently Vice-Chair of the Advocacy Committee for American Heart Association’s Mid-Atlantic Affiliate and a Steering Committee Members of the Congenital Heart Public Health Consortium and American Academy of Pediatrics’ Family Partnership Network.

Jodi received her Bachelor of Arts from Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia and her Juris Doctorate from T. C. Williams School of Law.  She practiced law until finding out that her youngest of three sons had severe heart defects and would need multiple open-heart surgeries. After that experience, Jodi knew she needed to use her experience to help others and thus became a non-profit leader.

Siddhant Srivastava
​Siddhant is a fourth year undergraduate student at Ohio State University. He will be graduating in May 2017 with Bachelors in Neuroscience and a minor in Business. After graduating, Siddhant is planning on pursuing a Master’s in Public Health or Health Administration. The graduate degree will assist Siddhant in achieving his career goal of becoming a physician.

Throughout his four years in college Siddhant has been exposed to various experiences that have shaped his desire to not only become a physician but an advocate for healthcare. He is a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) liaison and member of the Youth Council for the International Children’s Advisory Network (iCAN).  As a liaison, Siddhant is responsible for finding avenues for combining the scientific expertise and connections of the SAB with the goals of iCAN in order to have an impact on pediatric healthcare and provide youth and their families with a voice in pediatric research, medicine, innovation, and health. In his local chapter of iCAN, KIDS Ohio, Siddhant is working with the other members to observe the implications on youths’ health and nutrition as they transition from high school-to-college transition.  

In his spare time Siddhant enjoys playing soccer and basketball, volunteering at the local Physicians’ Free Clinic, and exploring new restaurants in Columbus – especially the ice cream spots.

Greg Schell, MEd​​, Immediate Past Chair

Greg is the former Director of Washington State Fathers Network (WSFN). He is the father of a wonderful adult daughter with special needs. He has also been a teacher, principal, researcher, author, and family educator, working with families and young people. Over thirty-five years ago he helped found the Fathers Program, aka WSFN, at the University of Washington. He spent several years with this original and unique project assisting with research on dads and families having children with special needs and facilitating the original support groups. 

Mr. Schell has presented extensively at national and state conferences regarding fathers & families having children with special needs, led workshops and seminars regarding fathers, siblings, and grandparents, conducted innumerable support groups for dads, and taught courses on parenting to dads, moms, and professionals. The opportunity to work with dads and their families is one of the highlights of both his professional and personal life.​​

​​​​​ Betsy Anderson (Emeritus, ex-officio)

Betsy is the parent of 3 now adult children, one of whom has substantial special health care needs. She has worked in health care advocacy for children with special needs for many years and was formerly an employee of Family Voices, directing the Family Voices IMPACT project, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, with special focus on Bright Futures and Title V initiatives. She has had a long term interest in family-professional collaboration and has served on numerous national, state, and local committees and task forces. Ms Anderson has an appointment in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Julie Beckett (Emeritus, ex-officio)
Julie is the mother of Katie Beckett who was the first Medicaid home and community based waiver child. Julie is co-founder of AAP FamilY Partnerships Network and Family Voices, a national grassroots organization of family and friends speaking on behalf of children and youth with special health care needs. She served as the social marketer for a “systems of care” grant in northeast Iowa funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She spearheaded the effort to pass the Family Opportunity Act which expanded Medicaid buy-in programs for families of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities. She has developed a family leadership curriculum and has authored several books and articles.

AAP Family Liaisons


Cara L. Coleman, JD, MPH
Cara works with the National office of Family Voices National, as a Family and Professional Partnership Specialist with the Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care and an Instructor of Pediatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical School INOVA Regional Campus. Cara is the author of “I am Justice, Hear Me Roar” about her daughter, Justice Hope, with special healthcare needs and disabilities. She is currently serving a Gubernatorial appointment to the Virginia Board of Medical Assistance Services and is the Family Voices Liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Children with Disabilities. In the past, Cara has worked as an adult health specialist, a case manager for homeless pregnant women, a counselor in a shelter for battered women, a law clerk for a Judge, immigration subject matter consultant, and an attorney serving low-income immigrants. Cara received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, her master’s in Public Health from Tulane University and her law degree from Temple University.

Sondra Gilbert

Sondra Gilbert is the Co-Director for Kentucky’s Family-to-Family Health Information Centers at the Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs. Ms Gilbert is part of Family Voices of Kentucky and Kentucky Parent-2-Parent. She has been married for 32 years; she has 3 children with a genetic disorder (DMD) and other complex health care needs. She has been advocating for over 25 years for not only her children but for other children as well. She co-partnered to write a resource manual on Understanding Special Education.

Ms Gilbert has represented family members at the AMCHP conference and has been a mentor to other families at this conference, in Washington, DC annually. She has served on the Region 4 Genetic Collaboration for 10 years, which is a seven state coalition and has completed the leadership training on Medical Home and Care Coordination, and help write two manuals for families, Partnering with your Doctor, The Medical Home Approach, and the second one was, The Journey through Diagnosis. The Governor appointed Ms Gilbert, to represent family of children with developmental disabilities, by serving on The Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities. She also is a participant on the Core Team for Children with Medical Complexity Kentucky State Team (KOIN’S).

Jeremy Harvey

Jeremy Harvey currently serves as the Deputy Director of Strategy Planning and Innovation with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He has worked in the field of child welfare for the last 11 years, and brings with him the experience of growing up in the state foster care system, spending 20 of his first 23 years in care. These experiences positive and negative, provide him the understanding of pitfalls in foster care, a vision for systemic improvement, and a hunger for change. Currently, major projects include Title IV-e Demonstration waiver lead, B-3 behavior change management using Four Dimension of Execution, and the administration of 2 advisory councils. Jeremy has served the American Academy of Pediatrics as the Liaison to the Foster Care Alumni of America National chapter on the Council on Foster Care, Adoption, and Kinship Care for the last 5 years. He is also one of the founding members of the NCTSN Youth Taskforce where he serves as the lead on their new mentoring efforts.

Cynthiana Lightfoot

Cynthiana has served as the parent representative for the District of Columbia’s Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) State Partnership Grant since its inception in 1998 and has served in the position of EMSC Project Manager for the past fifteen years. This former teacher began her volunteer work at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) in 1992. Cynthiana is also is a respected child healthcare advocate. She is the past chair of the Community Advisory Board for the Chesapeake Applied Research Network for EMSC, a member of the Center for Prehospital Pediatrics Healthcare Disparities Committee, recently reappointed to a second term as the chairperson of the Mayor’s EMS Advisory Committee. She has been appointed to the Department of Health’s Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) Advisory Committee and is also serving as a family liaison to the AAP Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

Blyth Lord

Blyth is the founder and Executive Director of Courageous Parents Network, a nonprofit focused on improving the experience of parents caring for children with life-limiting illness through education, advocacy and parent-to-parent support. Blyth is also a founding trustee of the Cameron and Hayden Lord Foundation, a small family grant-making foundation whose mission is to advance pediatric palliative care in the United States, as well as fund research of therapies for lysosomal storage diseases. Blyth's daughter, Cameron, and nephew, Hayden, died of Tay-Sachs disease in 2001. In the years following, Blyth has promoted the needs of families caring for children with serious illness and how providers can best meet these needs. She produced the award-winning film, Cameron’s Arc, with the AAP to educate doctors in working with families from the time of diagnosis through to the end-of-life. Cameron’s Arc has been distributed nationally as a teaching tool to pediatric residency programs across the United States. Blyth is an affiliate member of the AAP’s Section on Hospice and Palliative Medicine and a co-chair of the Section’s Parent Advisory Group. She also sits on the board of National Tay-Sachs and Allied Disease. Blyth received her BA in History from Yale College, has a Masters in Education from Harvard, and lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters.

Stacy Parker

Stacy Parker is a native Californian, living with her husband and two kids in the Los Angeles area. She became a grief expert after her first daughter, Alyssa died in 1997.Since her daughter’s death, Stacy has been involved with The Compassionate Friends (an organization that supports parents after the loss of a child). She and her husband began facilitating their local TCF chapter in 2000. She has devoted her time speaking to the medical community at both Cedars and UCLA about her experience with her daughter in the hospital. She is on the board of the Children’s Hospice Of America Foundation (CHOAF) that helps raise awareness and funds for Palliative Care and Children’s Hospice around the country. Stacy is an affiliate member of the AAP’s Section on Hospice and Palliative Medicine and a co-chair of the Section’s Parent Advisory Group. She continues to support families whose child has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or has died. Grief As a Second Language is her first published book.

Alisa Skatrud
Alisa Skatrud is a mother of three and lives in the Boston suburb of Needham. Her eldest daughter has Down syndrome. She is an active volunteer in her community, church, and local schools, including board of directors positions with the Needham Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) and Citizens for Needham Schools (CNS). She completed a fellowship in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) at UMass Medical School-E. K. Shriver Center, earning a Certificate in Disability and Health Policy and was recently awarded a Master’s in Public Administration from the Sawyer Business School at Suffolk University. She was inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha, the national honors society for public affairs and administration. She is a member of the AAP FamilY Partnerships Network (FPN) and serves as the Family Liaison to the AAP Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine (COPAM). Previously she enjoyed a 17-year career in financial services and is a CFA charter holder. Her investment career focused on marketing, sales and product development, and socially responsible investing. 

Stacy Williamson

Stacy Williamson serves as a Parent Liaison and
voting member of the PROS Steering Committee. She has a BS in Education from Missouri Western State University and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Central Missouri. She attended paramedic school at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Stacy is the Medicine and Healthcare Instructor for the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies housed within the North Kansas City Hospital. When she is not teaching the healthcare providers of the future, you can find her on the pool deck where she is the Head Coach of the North Kansas City School District Middle School Swim Team or at the USA Swimming club team, Northland United Swim Team. She married her college sweetheart in 2000 and they have two girls and two cats. Both of her daughters are swimmers as well, and you can find them spending many nights and weekends together at the pool. They enjoy traveling and camping together as a family.

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