Family Centered Care Conference

Event Details:

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is excited to host our second Family Centered Care Conference! This unique gathering brings together our community of pediatric caregivers, social workers, nurses, physicians, administrators, and community partners to raise awareness, provide education, and discuss improvements for patient family experiences and greater access to care for the families we serve.

The Conference includes motivating keynote presentations, moderated expert panels, beautiful parent reflections, and spaces to discuss and network together. Also, enjoy a nourishing lunch from Mazza while sitting on a beautiful patio. 

Together we will identify community needs around accessing care. Come be inspired and empowered to advance family centered care!


  • Katy Welkie
    CEO of Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and Vice President of Intermountain Children’s Health
  • Richard Ferguson
    MD, MBA Chief Medical Officer Health Choice Utah, Founder of Black Physicians of Utah


  • Melanie D. Davis
    MS, LCMHC, NBCC, Founder of Planted Healing and PLAE Therapy, Child and Adolescent Integrative practice. Speaker, educator, wellness advocate
  • Keri Jones Fonnesbeck
    LCSW, Trauma Informed Systems Advocate, Vice President Member Services, YWCA USA
  • Emmie Gardner
    LCSW, Chief Executive Officer, Holy Cross Ministries
  • Christy Kane
    PsyD, CMHC, LPC, LCPC, Author, therapist & community speaker
  • Brooks Keeshin
    MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Psychiatry, University of Utah, clinician researcher in the Division of Child Protection and Family Health at the U of U & Safe and Healthy Families
  • Stormey Nielsen
    LCSW, Founder Focal Point


As well as experienced and inspiring voices from the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Allies with Families, and more!


Richard Ferguson, MD, MA grew up in Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh, PA area. He went to undergrad at Northwestern University and to medical school at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. He is board certified in Family Medicine and has practiced Emergency Medicine in Rural and Critical Access based communities for several years. He served in the U.S. Army as a Battalion and Brigade Surgeon for 7 years in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Dr. Ferguson has commented on the fact that, “one of most impactful times of my life as a physician was in caring for soldiers and their families abroad.”

In 2021, Dr. Ferguson started the Black Physicians of Utah (BPOU) in hopes to bridge the gaps of need for Physicians of Color for patients, colleagues, hospitals, and medical school recruitment. Since 2021, he has been serving as the Chief Medical Officer for Health Choice Utah. In his spare time, Dr. Ferguson has completed over 40 triathlons and enjoys catching Football games with family and friends.


Katy Welkie, BSN, MBA, RN is the Vice President of Children’s Health for Intermountain Healthcare and Chief Executive Officer of Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. Katy is motivated and inspired by the hospital’s philosophy, “The Child First and Always,” leading the organization’s Primary Promise initiative to build the nation’s model health system for children.

She is particularly interested in quality and patient safety. She received the Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from the Utah Organization of Nurse Leaders in 2008 and Utah Hospital Association’s Distinguished Hospital Executive award in 2015. She is also a previous recipient of the Osler’s Cloak for Excellence in Caring and Curing.

Katy is a member of the Children’s Hospital Association Board of Directors and serves as Secretary and as a member of the Quality and Safety Committee. She is currently the Secretary/Treasurer for the Board of Directors for the Children’s Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS) whose goal is to help guide the national effort to eliminate serious harm in all children’s hospitals. She is also a board member of the Utah Hospital Association, The Children’s Center, and the Nature Conservancy.

Katy spent many years as a nurse in the Primary Children’s Pediatric ICU, eventually becoming a charge nurse, nursing director, chief nursing officer, then COO, and finally CEO in 2012. Her leadership experience at Primary Children’s and collaboration with children’s hospitals across the nation makes her an ideal leader, especially at a time when children’s hospitals are working together to improve the health care delivery system and advance quality measures for children across the nation.

Katy received her MBA with an emphasis in Health Care Administration from Regis University and her bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Utah. Katy lives in Salt Lake City and is an avid hiker, camper, and traveler.


Erin Avondet, MD received her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and her medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in Pediatrics at the University of Utah and is board-certified in Pediatrics.

Dr. Avondet practices as a pediatric hospitalist at Primary Children’s Hospital and the Primary Children’s Unit at Riverton Hospital. She has been the Medical Director for the Primary Children’s Connector Service since July 2020.

Her clinical interests include care of hospitalized infants and children, vaccine hesitancy, care of children with medical complexity, and addressing social and political determinants of health in the inpatient and outpatient setting. Her academic interests include quality improvement, community and legislative advocacy, and graduate medical education.


Jennifer Brinton, MD cares for children as a general pediatrician at South Davis Community Hospital and a Hospitalist at Primary Children’s Medical Center. She has a special interest in disease prevention, child advocacy and the comprehensive care of children with special healthcare needs.

Dr. Brinton graduated from the University Of Utah School of Medicine and completed residency in categorical Pediatrics at the institution. She was a partner with Utah Valley Pediatrics (UVPEDS) in Orem, Utah, for almost six years before leaving practice to care for her family. While in practice, she participated in UPIQ quality-improvement projects in asthma, ADHD and Medical Home, and applied for and was awarded a grant from the Utah Chapter of the American Lung Association for an asthma quality improvement project. She was the chair of the Quality Improvement Committee for UVPEDS her last two years in practice, and served as a volunteer pediatrician at the Utah County United Way free clinic once a month for two years.


Melanie Davis, MS, LCMHC, NBCC is owner of Planted Healing Mental Health Practice, PLAE Therapy, Child and Adolescent Integrative practice. She is also co-founder of Continuum Mind + Body Collaborative. Melanie is a highly regarded speaker, educator, wellness advocate, child advocate and psychotherapist.

In addition to being an experienced mental health therapist and presenter, she frequently appears on local media as an expert on children and family issues, cultural topics and transracial adoption related topics.

As a practitioner of holistic psychotherapy, Melanie’s treatment approach places an emphasis on the mind-body relationship and is both experiential and pragmatic. Melanie specializes in the treatment of mood disorders, anxiety and trauma, as well as culture-based identity experiences. She works with individuals and families to help them develop deeper connections to themselves and stronger more fulfilling relationships with others, resulting in increased vitality, liveliness and joy.

Following the completion of her undergraduate degree in Sociology from University of Utah, Melanie worked within varying clinical settings before going on to complete her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling at University of Phoenix. She has also completed advanced training in Nutritional Psychology through John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA, as well as advanced training and certifications with Trauma care, Play Therapy, Expressive Arts, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and DBT. Melanie currently serves on the Utah Association for Play Therapy board.

In addition to her passion for clinical work, Melanie is also an accomplished artist, and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She loves to spend time with her husband and three children and finds joy in serving her community in various capacities.

Melanie’s creative therapeutic interventions have been published in Attachment Centered Play TherapyPlay Therapy: Proven Strategies for Childhood Disorder.


Bonnie Feola, MD, FAAP, Chef is an award-winning and board-certified pediatrician with more than 30 years of pediatric experience who is also a professionally certified chef.

Dr. Bonnie completed her pediatric internship and residency training at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Dr. Bonnie completed additional training including the Culinary Health Education Fundamentals (CHEF) Program in Culinary Medicine Coaching through Harvard Medical School and The Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Spaulding Rehabilitation Center. Dr. Bonnie attended the Park City Culinary Institute culinary school to earn a certificate in the Culinary Arts as a Chef.
As a pediatric culinary medicine specialist, Dr. Bonnie’s mission is to promote lasting lifelong changes that will improve children’s well-being through a healthy diet and a happy relationship with food. With a focus on food as medicine, Dr. Bonnie helps children overcome barriers to eating healthy. As a pediatrician, dedicated to children’s health, Dr. Bonnie understands the critical role nutrition plays in children’s development. Diet quality is the single leading predictor of chronic disease and premature death in the United States. Dr. Bonnie is dedicated to impacting children’s health by blending the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine.
Dr. Bonnie is the founder of Nibbles and Sprouts, which provides personalized pediatric culinary medicine coaching to help young children overcome barriers to healthy eating and improve their overall health and wellness. Through Nibbles and Sprouts, Dr. Bonnie offers customized nutrition and behavioral eating strategies for parents of children who struggle with common challenges in which food may play a significant role, such as picky eating, food anxiety, gut health issues, constipation, over or under-eating, ADHD and more. Dr. Bonnie’s strategies provide parents with the optimal toolkit to become more confident in raising their children to be happy and healthier eaters.


Keri Jones Fonnesbeck, LCSW has dedicated her career to creating trauma-informed, equitable systems for individuals, families and communities. She has worked with cancer survivors, youth from war-torn areas around the world, child and adult victims and survivors of domestic violence, and within hospital social work.

She has spent over 20 years with the YWCA, both locally and nationally, in deep focus on the mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. She now serves as the Vice President of Member Services for YWCA USA, supporting a team that offers technical assistance to almost 200 organizations across the US.

Additionally, she works with organizations in implementation of trauma-informed principles and is most proud of her work in supporting systems that promote resilience for staff and clients alike.

Additionally, she has served on the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission; she was honored in 2014 as a “Rising Star: 40 under 40” by Utah Business Magazine, and in 2016, she was given the “ACE: Advocacy, Collaboration and Education” award from the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. She lives, loves, and plays in Utah with her husband, Mitch, and two children, Hollis and Grace.


Emmie Gardner, LCSW is CEO for Holy Cross Ministries (HCM), a non-profit social service organization that has been in Salt Lake City Utah for 25 years. Their mission is to respond to the underserved community’s need for health and well-being, via three main pillars of service–Health, Education, and Justice. Emmie is a mission driven leader with a demonstrated 35-year history of working in non-profit healthcare as well as mental health and social service settings.

As the daughter of an immigrant, she is passionate about helping immigrant and underserved populations and empowering them to find their voice. She is a clinical social worker by training who also holds a graduate certificate in mediation and conflict resolution, both from the University of Utah. She also holds a certificate in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) from Utah State University. She is developing enhanced programming in her organization to advance the intersectionality of culture and neurodiversity. Emmie and her husband are proud parents of two amazing adult daughters who have launched and now live and work in the Pacific Northwest. Emmie loves being abuelita (grandma) for her nearly 4 year old granddaughter.


Tracy Johnson is currently the Lead Family Coordinator for Utah’s Department of Health and Human Services with the Office of Coordinated Care and Regional Supports. She was formerly the Program Director for Allies with Families and a member of the Utah Family Coalition. She was previously the founder of New Frontiers for Families, a non-profit organization that serves individuals with complex needs in rural and frontier areas.

Tracy began this work searching for support for her own children in rural Utah. Tracy participated in the first System of Care project in Utah as an evaluator, wraparound facilitator, and family leader. She has also worked with the National Wraparound Initiative on several projects including a taskforce for developing core competencies and certification for family peer support partners. She has worked with Georgetown University as a consultant on family-driven care in wraparound.

Tracy has provided training and certification in wraparound facilitation and Family Peer Support in Utah for over 20 years. Tracy is a certified family peer support, wraparound facilitator and coach.  She graduated from the University of Utah professional development program with a certification in non-profit management in 2014.


Christy Kane, PsyD, CMHC is a dynamic force in the vibrant world of mental health, weaving captivating stories and bold methods to inspire profound contemplation on human connection. With a mission to foster understanding, she encourages diverse audiences to unlock the mysteries of their mental well-being.

Driven by her passion, Christy’s engaging keynote presentations challenge norms, leaving a lasting impact. From TEDx Park City to national conferences, her influence resonates widely. Armed with a Doctorate in Psychology and as a licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, she delves deep into human psychology, sharing valuable insights on various platforms. Join Christy on the journey toward resilient, mentally thriving communities.


Brooks R. Keeshin, MD is a clinician researcher in the Division of Child Protection and Family Health at the University of Utah and Safe and Healthy Families at Primary Children’s Hospital. He is a child abuse pediatrician and child psychiatrist. He completed medical school at the University of Cincinnati, and a residency in pediatrics, general and child psychiatry at the University of Utah, and fellowship training in child abuse pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He is certified in Pediatrics and Child Abuse Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics, and certified in General as well as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Keeshin provides inpatient and outpatient child abuse pediatrics consultation at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, as well as outpatient psychiatric services for children and families with a history of abuse or trauma. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy on Violence and Abuse and is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Committee on Child Maltreatment and Violence.


Calleen Kenney is a Parent Consultant for the Utah Family Voices project at the Utah Parent Center. She has worked with many state and national agencies over the past 24 years in autism advocacy and systems support for families.

As the mother of a 25 year old with multiple diagnosis and conditions, she has navigated many of the systems personally and hopes her experiences can help other parents and individuals.


Brittney Moss, LCSW has been practicing since 2008, and has spent the majority of her career at Primary Children’s Hospital since 2011. Brittney has had the opportunity of working in several areas of the hospital, including the Children’s Surgical Unit and Newborn Intensive Care Unit, and is currently the social worker for the Rainbow Kids Palliative Care team.

Professionally, Brittney enjoys advocating for families, providing therapeutic support, bridging communication during difficult/complex care conversations with providers and families, and connecting families with the resources they need for their children to thrive.


Stormey Nielsen, LCSW is a transracial adoptee and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Stormey found interest in the social work field while obtaining her Bachelor’s degree at Utah Valley University. Though inspired by macro work, she found joy in providing individual therapy as she pursued her Master’s at the University of Utah. She has experience in residential working with youth in foster care and juvenile justice settings. She has worked with issues surrounding sexual abuse, physical abuse, identity surrounding adoption and race, traumas, depression, and other mood disorders.
Stormey began her own therapy practice called Radiant 828 where she served primarily transracial adoptees and other BIPOC individuals. Recently she merged with Focal Point, a company she-co founded. Focal Point is an agency that provides clinically informed services and resources for transracially adopted individuals and families and provides agencies with this supportive training. By combining, she and her team are able to serve many individuals with other mental health needs as well. Focal Point also provides inclusion, equity, and diversity work. Last year she joined the Black Physicians of Utah’s Mental Health Committee and has supported efforts in creating safe spaces for Utah’s Black women, men and youth.
Stormey is a strong advocate for mental health and seeks to emphasize the intersections of mental health, race navigation, and adoption. She enjoys her work and hopes to bring awareness and validation to the transracial adoption conversations.

Greg Noel, LCSW is a gregarious and charismatic human being who identifies as a first-generation Haitian-American. Greg’s journey of becoming a social justice liberated-oriented Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) began the day he was born, in a hospital in Miami, Florida way back in 1990. As you can imagine, Greg’s experience growing up as a Black man in America has not been a walk in the park. Unfortunately, the multiple incidents of egregious degradation and dehumanization Greg endured while completing his postgraduate studies led to him fervently seek and consume a variety of works about liberated pedagogy and praxis to implement as a mental health professional. As someone in a position of power and privilege, Greg strives to embody Uncle Ben’s sage advice to a young Peter Parker, aka Spiderman: “With great power comes even greater responsibility.”

Quang-Tuyen T. Nguyen, MD –

Bio Forthcoming.




David Pascoe, MA, BCC is the Director of Chaplain Community Life for the Spiritual Care Association, an international professional membership association for spiritual care providers. He retired from full-time work in health care in December 2020 after four years as a hospice chaplain and nine years as lead chaplain and manager of palliative care and bereavement at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Out of concern for the wellbeing of his colleagues, he engaged in the emotional support of staff and was instrumental in bringing the Schwartz Center Rounds to several hospitals in the state of Utah. For his contributions to patient, family, and staff support in pediatric care, Chaplain Pascoe received an award as The Schwartz Center’s National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Finalist, 2016.


Alyssa Ponce, LCSW, ACM is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an Accredited Case Manager who worked at Shriner’s Children’s in Salt Lake City for 20 years, fulfilling many roles such as discharge planning, outpatient social work, outreach clinics, housing and travel coordination, and case management for patients coming from Mexico.

Alyssa currently works for Shriners Children’s International Headquarters as a Global Patient Services Coordinator in the International Strategy Department.  She is fluent in Spanish.

Alyssa considers herself very fortunate that she was able to get her “dream job” right out of graduate school as she wanted to work in a hospital setting, but also be involved with international pursuits. She has participated in medical trips to Nicaragua, Ecuador and Panama. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys traveling, the outdoors and all dogs–but especially her own five fur babies.


Stephanie Stokes is the Community Health Manager for Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. In this role she leads programming and designs processes aimed to unleash the joy and potential of children in the communities Intermountain Primary Children’s serves through prevention, early intervention, and building resilient families.

With an expertise in community health needs assessments, strategic planning, and program evaluation, Stephanie works to change systems through community engagement and collaboration. Stephanie earned her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Utah.


Laura White, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist, currently working as the program manager and psychology supervisor for Teenscope South partial hospitalization program at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI). Dr. White also has an adjunct faculty appointment in the University of Utah, Department of Psychiatry. Dr. White received her MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She completed her internship at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado.

She trained in a wide range of clinical settings, including inpatient, residential, outpatient, and forensic facilities, and has therapy and assessment experience with populations across the lifespan.

Her clinical interests include mood disorders, suicidal ideation, attachment between caregiver and child, autism spectrum disorder, parent training, treatment fidelity, and addressing treatment disparities. In her free time, Dr. White enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, dancing with her dance troupe, and tending to an ever-expanding array of plants.


Welcome and Introduction

Morning Keynote  Access to Care

Katy Welkie

Inspiring Parent Reflection
Access to Care Panel

Break & Community Resource Tables

Inspiring Parent Reflection
Access to Care Panel

Inspiring Parent Reflection
Access to Care Panel

Lunch & Community Resource Tables

Afternoon Keynote – Advancement & Advocacy
Richard Ferguson

Inspiring Parent Reflection
Advancement & Advocacy Panel

Inspiring Parent Reflection
Advancement & Advocacy Panel

Empowering Ourselves, Our Teams, and Our Families


This conference is hosted in partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities Global and will be filmed and made available on our website and shared with Global RMHC for the benefit of over 350 RMHC chapters worldwide!

Social work CEU credits will be made available for attendees. Please contact Maria Gamvroulas for more information at

2023 Conference Presentations