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Meet Our Team

Nurse Practitioners
Determines where the child is on the pediatric BMI percentile chart and where that places the child in terms of health risks. A family medical history is completed to determine long-term health risks. The nurse practitioner performs a complete history of the child’s medical history and a physical examination to determine if they can participate in our program. Limiting findings would be heart murmurs or muscular/joint concerns that may need further specialty follow up. Laboratory results are discussed in detail, so parents and kids understand what issues may be occurring inside their bodies because of an unhealthy weight. The nurse practitioner stresses healthy lifestyles and how they positively affect long-term health. The emphasis is health and not weight. 

Flagstaff: Carol Gora

Carol received her Master’s Degree in Nursing at the University of Colorado as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She worked in a small rural clinic in Colorado as a Family Nurse Practitioner until her and her husband moved to Flagstaff in 2007. Since that time, she has worked in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Flagstaff Medical Center and currently also works at Safe Child Center, where she performs examinations on children who have been physically and/or sexually abused. Carol loves to be outdoors and some of her accomplishments consist of being a children’s ski instructor at Keystone, Colorado and being a certified aerobics instructor. Her current passion is to go for long trail rides on her horse Ebay and enjoy the Arizona country side.   

Verde Valley: Joanne Makielski

Joanne received her Master’s degree from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. Recently, she was working as the nursing director at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford based in Palo Alto, Calif. Previous experience also includes nurse practitioner roles in pediatric cardiology and primary care. Joanne is excited to be a part of the Fit Kids team.


 

Registered Dietitians
Provides families with nutrition education and helps set goals for eating healthier as a family. Families also have the opportunity to take cooking classes and go on grocery shopping tours.

Flagstaff: Megan Anderson

Megan received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. She completed her internship in Flagstaff. Before joining the Fit Kids Program, Megan had a diverse background cooking in kitchens around the country. She even spent time cooking at the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World. Megan enjoys combining her passions for food and nutrition in a way that will inspire those around her to have a healthy relationship with their meals.

Verde Valley: Kaitlin Hoover

Kaitlin received her Master’s degree in Dietetics at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She completed her dietetic internship in various cities across Oklahoma before returning to her native state of Arizona. Her interests lie in both clinical and holistic nutrition, chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Kaitlin strives to educate, empower and encourage individuals and families to make sustainable lifestyle changes for optimal health and wellbeing.

 

Program Counselors
Completes a behavioral health assessment and, working with the family, develops a treatment plan to address concerns such as self-esteem, identifying feelings and emotions, dealing with bullying and improving communication.

Flagstaff: Mandy Birkem

Mandy graduated with her bachelor’s degree in social work and Spanish from Evangel University in Springfield, Mo. While earning her Master of Social Work degree from Dominican University in Chicago, she interned in Latvia and worked on policies concerning refugees. Since finishing school, Mandy has worked in a variety of pediatric settings, including abuse and neglect prevention, maternal and infant health and most recently helping children with developmental disabilities. Mandy looks forward to empowering the Fit Kids families to be their healthiest and happiest selves!


Verde Valley: Sherry Villas 

Sherry is the program counselor for Fit Kids in the beautiful Verde Valley. She has been a teacher, counselor and principal for 28 years. Sherry retired this year and is excited to be counseling children. Sherry has a Master’s Degree in teaching, administration and counseling with an emphasis in reality therapy. She and her husband, Ray, have three children who also live in the Verde Valley. Sherry is a fifth generation Arizonan with ties to Miller Valley in Prescott. Kids are her thing!

Exercise Physiologists
Provides the child with opportunities for physical activity during their appointment and works with families to integrate physical activity into their everyday lives.

Flagstaff: Cynthia Walton 

Cynthia is the exercise physiologist for the Fit Kids clinic in Flagstaff. She graduated from Texas A & M University with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Sports Science and is an ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist. Prior to joining Fit Kids, Cynthia worked in Reno, Nev., for the Healthy Hearts program at the Children’s Heart Center of Nevada. She is excited about the opportunity to improve children’s lives through exercise as part of Fit Kids of Arizona. Cynthia is an avid college football fan and enjoys running in her free time.

Verde Valley: Sara Nelson 

Sara is the exercise physiologist for the VVMC Fit Kids program. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Master’s of Science in Exercise Physiology. Prior to joining Fit Kids Sara completed her clinical internship at the University of Michigan’s pediatric weight management program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In her free time Sara enjoys running, reading, and exploring all of Arizona’s wonderful hiking trails. Sara is excited to share her love of health with kids and their families as part of the Fit Kids of Arizona team.

Community Outreach

Flagstaff/Verde Valley: Hiliary Smith 

Hiliary is the Community Outreach Specialist for Fit Kids of Arizona. Her background is in communication and education, and she received her Bachelor’s degree in public relations from Missouri State University. Prior to joining Fit Kids, Hiliary worked at a public relations firm in St. Louis, Mo., working with clients in education, healthcare, animal nutrition and urban gardening. Most recently, she served as a volunteer for 10 months in Encarnación, Paraguay teaching elementary students, working in a small health center and doing pastoral outreach. In her free time Hiliary enjoys running, reading, volunteering and exploring new places and cultures.

Program Manager

Flagstaff/Verde Valley: Katrina Swan

Katrina is the Program Manager for Fit Kids of Arizona. She has extensive experience in program coordination and management in both the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Fit Kids, Katrina held professional positions in Phoenix and Washington, DC. Having received her Bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University (NAU), she is no stranger to Flagstaff and could not be happier about her return to this great city. When she is not coordinating programs for Fit Kids, she is finishing up work on her Master’s of Public (Health) Administration at NAU, spending time with her family and staying fit and active in a variety of ways. Fitness and nutrition are her passion, and she is happy to have the opportunity to work in a place that shares these same values. 

Office Coordinators

Flagstaff: Grace Gonzalez-Galloway

Grace is the Office Coordinator for Fit Kids of Arizona. She is a long-time resident of Flagstaff and enjoys working within the community. Grace facilitates the relationship between the patients and the providers within the office setting and wants everyone to have a positive visit at the clinic.  She is bilingual (English and Spanish) and is proud to be able to apply her skills to help others.


Verde Valley: Tina Haines

Tina has worked in healthcare for more  than 25 years at numerous locations including working roles in the  emergency room,  as a medical staff coordinator, a director of volunteer services, and manager. She joined the Verde Valley Medical Center’s Fit Kids of Arizona program in September 2013. 
In addition to her work in healthcare, she also has helped launch and  serve as co-chair for the Lincoln County Project Homeless Connect for  four years. This national project brings together county and state services under one roof in an effort to provide the homeless easy access to services to help them return to mainstream community life.