Hult Center for Healthy Living Staff
Andrea Parker, RN, MS, Executive Director
Holly Bill, BS, CHES, Assistant Manager
Kayla Thompson, BS, Marketing & Special Events Coordinator, Whitney’s Walk Coordinator
Renea Gatson, AAS, Administrative Assistant
Julie Fisher, BS, Health Education Specialist, Volunteer Coordinator
Ashley Donahoe, BA, MCHES, Health Education Specialist, Internship Coordinator
Nicki Bushman, BS, MPH, Encore Coordinator, National Diabetes Prevention Coordinator
Becca Mathis, BS, CHES, Health Education Specialist
Kitty Bienemann, MA, NCC, LCPC, Counselor
Katrina Sommer, BA, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian
Jessica Draper, BS, CHES, Health Education Specialist
Debbie Harris, BS, Health Education Specialist
Jeanna Rich, BS, RDN, LDN, Registered Dietitian
Morgan Casey, BS, MPH, Health Education Specialist
Kay Blankenship, BA, MPC, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, Behavioral Health Clinical Counselor
Karyn Heal, Senior Accountant
Massage Therapy Staff
Healthy Living Class Facilitators
Andrea Parker, RN, MS, Executive Director -Methodist College, Bradley University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Andrea Parker has more than thirty years’ experience as a registered nurse with a background in public and community health, pediatrics and medical surgical nursing, having most recently served as Regional Health Officer for the Illinois Department of Public Health and formerly held the Public Health Administrator for the Peoria City/County Health Department. Parker is a recognized health leader in the community and serves on the Peoria Downtown Rotary Board, Human Service Board, and the University of IL Dean’s Community Council. Andrea has an extensive list of awards and achievements, among her most recent accomplishments are being inducted into the Bradley University’s Centurion Society, receiving the “ 25 Women in Leadership” and the “Women of Influence” awards. Other professional recognitions include, the Bradley University Mildred Pflederer Memorial Alumni Award for contributions to public health nursing; the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Exceptional Achievement Award, induction into the Peoria African American Hall of Fame Museum, “Mentor of the Year” from Peoria Richwoods High School and “Those Who Excel” award from IL State Board of Education. Parker holds adjunct faculty positions with Bradley University and Methodist College teaching undergraduate, graduate and post graduate nursing majors. She has published several articles on a variety of health topics in local journals and featured in the Peoria Medicine, the Official Journal of the Peoria Medical Society, Healthy Cells Magazine, IBI, and the Peoria Women. Andrea is married to her husband Bryan for over 35 years and they have two adult children and five fantastic grandchildren!
Holly Bill, BS, CHES, Assistant Manager – Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from Illinois State University
Holly earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Community Health Education from Illinois State University. She has been with the Hult Center for Healthy Living since August 2011, where she has been dedicated to giving back to the community that shaped who she is today. Holly manages the daily operations at the Hult Center, and is responsible for ensuring quality service and programs are being delivered to each of our clients. Holly received the Outstanding Accomplishments & Achievements Recognition for Promotion of Civil Liberties from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois in 2016 for her efforts in decreasing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections throughout Peoria County. Holly has served as the curriculum coordinator for Peoria Public School District’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) Committee since 2013. Other committees that Holly has served on include Peoria County’s Reproductive Health Committee, various Heart of Illinois United Way committees, HOIUW Governance Team, Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance, Peoria Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (SAP), Positive Health Solutions Fiscal Committee, and more. To learn more about Holly, connect with her on LinkedIn here. www.linkedin.com/in/hollybill
Renea Gatson, AAS, Administrative Assistant – Associate’s Degree in Human Services from Illinois Central College
Renea is a graduate of Illinois Central College with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Human Services. She has worked in a variety of healthcare areas for over 18 years with UnityPoint Health-Methodist. She enjoys being around and meeting new people, and has a passion for helping others. Renea is a Peoria native, raised among a large, loving family as the oldest of 10 children. She has four beautiful children that are her pride and joy! She has two grand-dogs, Doni and Bella, and recently married her life-long partner. In her spare time, she likes to travel, spend time with family and friends, and eat good food while listening to music. Renea is a happy person who loves life!
Kayla Thompson, BS, Marketing & Special Events Coordinator, Whitney’s Walk Coordinator – Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha
Kayla Thompson is the Marketing & Special Events Coordinator and Whitney’s Walk for Life Coordinator at the Hult Center for Healthy Living. She is responsible for all aspects of marketing the organization, as well as planning and executing events, fundraisers, and campaigns. Kayla is also the Coordinator of Whitney’s Walk for Life, an annual event that has raised over $1.2 million for Hult Center’s youth suicide prevention programs. Kayla has been an instrumental coordinator of several UnityPoint Health campaigns, including the annual United Way and Employee Giving campaigns. She is a 2016 Community Leadership School graduate, a 2014 Leaders Emerging to Advance Peoria graduate, a 2013 Proctor Employee of the Month award recipient, is involved in United Way’s GENeration United group of young professionals, and is a member of the Young Professionals of Greater Peoria group. Kayla, a Nebraska native, graduated from the University of Nebraska-Omaha with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Marketing, where she wrote several marketing plans for local non-profits. To learn more about Kayla, connect with her on LinkedIn here: www.linkedin.com/in/kayla-thompson-25560577
Julie Fisher, BS, Health Education Specialist, Volunteer Coordinator – Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Physical Education/Health from Western Illinois University
Julie Fisher is a Health Educator with over 30 years of experience in the teaching field. She has previously taught 2nd grade where she was recognized for the “Excellence in Teaching” award for making a significant impact on the lives of young people and for her innovative teaching style. Julie also taught K-8th Physical Education where she personally designed and implemented a year’s worth of new P.E. curriculum. She had her own business for over 10 years as an After School P.E. teacher where she taught K-6th grade students to have fun while exercising. Fisher also has over 22 years of experience as a Certified Exercise Specialist where she was a manager over several other Exercise Specialists and was responsible for hiring and scheduling all group exercise classes.
Julie has been employed at the Hult Center since 2011 where she has coordinated and taught Pre-K- High School classes, “Seniors on the Go” (Senior Citizen Program), and the PNC, “Your Amazing Body” Pre-School Program. Fisher is currently the Volunteer Coordinator where she oversees and works with more than 200 volunteers a year, totaling 2,100 total hours of volunteer work. She teaches In-House classes to Pre-K-8th grade students. Julie enjoys mentoring and working with other educators, writing curriculum for the Health Education classes and helping children live healthier lives.
Ashley Donahoe, BA, MCHES, Master Certified Health Education Specialist, Internship Coordinator – Bachelor of Arts in Health and Sport Studies and Minor in Aging Studies from the University of Iowa
Ashley graduated from the University of Iowa, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health and Sport Studies with an emphasis in Health Promotion. Ashley also received a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification following graduating and in 2016 received her Master Health Education Specialist (MCHES) certification. After graduation she began her career in Clinton, Iowa as a Health Educator for a women’s health clinic. There she taught over 300 presentations sexual health education a year in area schools covering a five county area. During this time she was also trained on numerous sexual health education curriculum and represented the state of Iowa at the Office of Population Affairs’ annual Male Health Educator Training in Austin, TX . Ashley came to the Hult Center in October 2012 after she returned back to Central Illinois where she grew up. At the Hult Center she is responsible for the Heart of Illinois United Way funded Healthy Heroes summer program that sees over 1200 youth each summer, assists on the Heart of Illinois United Way funded Teen Talk program, and serves as the Internship Coordinator. Ashley enjoys promoting worksite wellness and serves as the Hult Center’s Engagement Champion for UnityPoint Health Peoria. She is also involved in United Way’s GENeration United young professionals group and co-leads the Literacy Initiative. Ashley is also a member of the Young Professionals of Greater Peoria’s Social Committee. To learn more about Ashley, connect with her on LinkedIn here.
Nicki Bushman, BS, MPH, Encore Coordinator, National Diabetes Prevention Coordinator – Master’s degree in Public Health and Bachelor’s in Community Health from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Nicki Bushman has been with the Hult Center for Healthy Living since 2013 and serves as the Encore Coordinator, a program designed to educate older adults on chronic disease prevention and management. Nicki is a double graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received a Bachelors of Science in Community Health and Master of Public Health with a Certificate in Business Administration. She is an active member of Senior Care Network, CIAA’s Caring Connections, and Peoria County Triad, all of which are dedicated to improving the lives of seniors in the Peoria Area. In addition, Nicki serves on the UnityPoint Health- Peoria’s Diabetes Platform Committee. In 2015, Nicki completed the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s evidence-based National Diabetes Prevention Program training. She is using this certification to fill the gap in pre-diabetes education and prevention in the community by providing a yearlong lifestyle change program to individuals who are pre-diabetic. Nicki is also a trained Freedom from Smoking Facilitator through the American Lung Association, having facilitated many smoking cessation programs within the community.
Becca Mathis, BS, CHES, Certified Health Education Specialist – Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from Illinois State University
Becca graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education. Becca has been with the Hult Center since July 2015. Her interest in healthy families and healthy communities drives her passion to work at the Hult Center. She currently oversees the Youth Reproductive Health Education programs; Hult’s Reproductive Health programs serve more than 4,000 youth annually in Peoria, IL, and the surrounding areas. Becca is also the coordinator the Teen Talk program, funded in part by the Heart of Illinois United Way, and the Breast Self-Awareness program, funded in part by the Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliate. This program serves young women in the Central IL area, both urban and rural populations. Becca is also a certified trainer of Youth Mental Health First Aid, a training that provides adults with the skills to identify youth who are struggling with mental health issues, as well as assist youth experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aid is included on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. To connect with Becca, click here.
Kitty Bienemann, MA, NCC, LCPC – Counselor
Kitty is a licensed clinical professional counselor and has worked as a professional counselor in medical settings since 2001. She is currently the Hult Center’s counselor working with cancer survivors, their family members and caregivers within Illinois Cancer Care. Through Illinois Cancer Care Kitty is part of a multidisciplinary team of cancer professionals seeing patients at all stages of their cancer journey. Prior to her work as a professional counselor she worked in social services with a variety of individuals: single mothers, refugee minors, the homeless and elderly, persons with developmental disabilities and the chronically mentally ill. She attended undergrad at ISU and later graduate school at Bradley. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and is a national certified counselor. Kitty is from a large family and lost a sister to lung cancer in 2012 which has forever changed her life. She loves animals, music, a good book and travel and has been blessed with wonderful friends. She loves a good laugh and has been a fan of British television since childhood. Kitty grew up on a farm in Central Illinois and currently lives in Peoria.
Katrina Sommer, BA, RD, LDN – Registered Dietitian -Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Accounting from Bluffton University; Dietetics from Bradley University
Katrina Sommer is a Registered Dietitian in the cancer program. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Bluffton University and completed the Dietetics program at Bradley University. She then went on to graduate from the Bradley University Dietetic Internship program. Katrina is currently working to complete her Master’s in Dietetics at Iowa State University. She enjoys the challenge of helping patients individually manage their nutrition-related side effects during treatment along with educating patients on the best nutrition choices for cancer prevention and survivorship. Katrina also serves as a preceptor for dietetic interns from Bradley University, Illinois State University and OSF Saint Francis.
Jessica Draper, BS, CHES, Certified Health Education Specialist – Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education and a Minor in Psychology from Illinois State University
Jessica’s first formal experience in health education began at the ISU Health Promotion and Wellness office where she thoroughly enjoyed facilitating programs for college students as a peer educator and undergraduate intern. With over six years of experience in teaching swim lessons to children and adults of all age, she is now continuing her passion for teaching people how to live healthier lives at the Hult Center for Healthy Living. At the Hult Center, Jessica is responsible for the Illinois Tobacco Free Communities grant. In this role she assists college campuses, multi-unit housing properties, and other outdoor spaces in strengthening and/or adopting smoke-free policies. Jessica believes the healthy choice can be the easy choice for individuals through policy change, education and empowerment. Right before her journey began at the Hult Center, Jessica spent the summer of 2015 living and working on an organic blueberry farm in Sonoma County through an organization called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. She is always looking for local and traveling opportunities where she can have a positive impact on a community. To learn more about Jessica, connect with her on LinkedIn here: http://bit.ly/jessicadraper
Debbie Harris, BS, Health Education Specialist – Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from Illinois State University
Debbie has over 10 years of experiences as a health educator, previously working as a health & nutrition educator in the school system. She also is a certified hearing & vision technician. Debbie was awarded the Robin A. Orr Community Partnership Award for promoting health and wellness through nutrition education coordination of services and access to nutrition program so that Illinois residents can achieve food security. Debbie is the Coordinator for PNC “Your Amazing Body” and Tooth or Consequences. Debbie also assists with May Healthy Heroes. Debbie is involved on serval committees, United Way Success by Six, Early Childhood Forum of Central Illinois, & A.O.K (All Our Kids). In her spare time Debbie is the Business Sponsor Coordinator for the Morton-Peoria St. Jude Run and a member of the Young Professionals of Greater Peoria. Debbie is very passionate about encouraging people to live healthier lives. To learn more about Debbie, connect with her on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/debbie-harris-8a613335
Jeanna Rich, BS, RDN, LDN, Registered Dietitian – Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Bradley University
Jeanna graduated from Bradley University in Dietetics and continued to complete her Dietetic Internship through Bradley. Jeanna is a Registered Dietitian in the cancer programs that travels to surrounding areas to work with patients. She loves helping patients take control of their disease through food and nutrition to aide in healing their body. Jeanna loves to be outdoors with her dogs, garden, four-wheel, and read a good mystery book. She has a passion for helping people build healthier happier lives through food and its benefits.
Morgan Casey, BS, MPH, CHES, Health Education Specialist – Iowa State University, University of Iowa
Morgan graduated from Iowa State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. She went on to the University of Iowa where she graduated with a Master of Public Health in Community and Behavioral Health. While completing her MPH, Morgan served an AmeriCorps term of service with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Davenport, Iowa where she worked with youth and families from diverse backgrounds and strengthened partnerships with local schools. Before coming to the Hult Center, Morgan designed and implemented a successful worksite physical activity program and served on several health promotion committees, including the American Public Health Association Student Section. At the Hult Center, Morgan works with the CATCH program to promote physical activity and healthy food choices in school-aged children. Morgan’s commitment to the Hult Center mission is fueled by her passion for helping all people reach their full potential through better health.
Kay Blankenship, BA, MPC, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, Behavioral Health Clinical Counselor – University of Great Falls, Montana
Kay Blankenship is a licensed clinical professional counselor. She has worked in the field of mental health and has taught in higher education for over twenty years. Kay has an extensive background in youth mental health and helped design and implement a community wide suicide prevention screening program for schools in Wisconsin. She is certified as a QPR (suicide prevention) gatekeeper trainer and also services as a suicide prevention consultant for schools and communities. Kay is currently the behavioral health clinical counselor for the Hult Center for Healthy Living’s Youth Mental Health Matters educational program.
Karyn Heal, Senior Accountant for UnityPoint Health Peoria
Karyn graduated from Northern Illinois University and has degrees in both Accounting and Economics. She moved to the Peoria area in 2011 and has always had a passion for details. She works with many departments and clinics within the UnityPoint Health-Peoria organization focusing on data analysis and accuracy. She helped clean up several areas of Washington after the November 2013 tornado that destroyed much of the city as well as Adopt a Highway clean-up. In her spare time, Karyn enjoys board games, Sudoku puzzles, football, hockey, listening to music, and spending time with her husband and dog, Abby.
Elmira Akama, LMT, NCBTMB, has been offering massage and bodywork in Peoria, Illinois since 2004 after graduating from the Illinois Valley Community College Therapeutic Massage Program. As a fitness trainer and wellness professional since 1999, she has consulted, taught and trained throughout the mid-Atlantic United States, Bahamas and China. Elmira completed the “Massage for People Living with Cancer” training in April 2014.
Julie Bradshaw, LMT, graduated from the Therapeutic Massage program at Illinois Central College in December of 2011. Her massages are influenced by trigger point therapy and Reiki. She completed the “Massage for People Living with Cancer” training in April 2014. Through experience and practice she continues to educate herself in order to refine her work and offer more to her clients. Julie offers soothing, restorative massage to all her clients.
Laurie Weaver, LMT, NCBTMB, is a Peoria native graduating from Judson University in Elgin, IL with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 1981. She also graduated from Illinois Central College with a certificate in Therapeutic Massage in December 2009. Laurie practice focuses on oncology massage having served at Hult for the past 4 years. She has completed two specialized trainings in oncology massage. Most recently, the “Massage for People Living with Cancer” training in April 2014.
Mary Peifer, RN,LMT, has been offering therapeutic massage and bodywork in Peoria, Illinois since 2005 after graduating from the Illinois Central College Therapeutic Massage Program. She also is a 2010 graduate of the 400-hour Peregrine Institute of Oncology Massage Program in Santa Fe, NM. As a registered nurse since 1995 her experience in oncology and community health nursing brings balance to provide safe, comfort-oriented massage to those she meets. Mary is also an educator for Oncology Massage Education Associates.
Holly Hott, LMT, graduated in May 2014 from the Massage Therapy Program at Midwest Technical Institute. She then completed “Massage for People Living with Cancer” training in September 2014. Her interest in massage began while still in the hospital recovering from life-saving open-heart surgery. Thanks to an outstanding and insightful medical team, a floundering recovery gave way to a tremendous turnaround once massage therapy, countless warm blankets, humor, and outdoor chair rides were added to her treatment. Holly embraces the belief that optimal health and well-being are achieved when we integrate body, mind and spirit. She reflects this perspective in her work and study by offering skilled, compassionate touch.
Jean Sloan, Yoga with Jean – Wednesdays @ Hult Center for Healthy Living
Jean Sloan has been a serious student of yoga for fifteen years, studying it first as a meditation tradition and then adding trainings in yoga anatomy, pranayama (breath), and Vipassana meditation practice. She has been teaching yoga at the Hult Center and at other area locations for the past twelve years and her classes aim toward gently increasing flexibility and strength while emphasizing mindfulness, body awareness and self acceptance. She is also active in the central Illinois meditation community and leads a local Vipassana meditation group.
Marcy Ehlen Bretsch, Restorative Yoga – Thursday evenings @ Hult Center for Healthy Living; Breath of Joy Yoga, Monday evenings @ Hult Center for Healthy Living
I began practicing yoga in 2007. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 I started attending Lisa’s Breath of Joy yoga class at the Hult Center. It made a huge difference in my recovery process. Inspired by how yoga helped me I became a certified yoga instructor in 2013. I am a certified Pranakriya Yoga instructor with 200 hours of training and in 2014 completed training in Restorative Yoga.
AEROBICS & LIVING STRONG
Beth Stauffer, Aerobics, Tuesday mornings & Living Strong, Friday mornings @ UnityPoint Health – Methodist’s Wellness Center located in the Atrium Building
Elizabeth “Beth” Stauffer, has a BS degree in Commercial Recreation from Southern Illinois University. She is AAFA certified in Aerobic Training and Pilates, certifications in PIYO and Yoga. She has always had a passion for athletics and staying physically fit. “I have found I loved teaching others about exercise and enjoyed the relationships I have made with the participants. Teaching at Hult has been a blessing in my life. Working with cancer survivors, who have a different outlook on life, gives all who participate a bond that is so much more than spending an hour together working out. There are days I come away with so much more than I could ever hope they would gain from me and my instruction. My goal at the Hult Center is to help people find energy and strength after treatment and to improve balance, strength, endurance and body awareness with creative, safe and fun low impact aerobics and strength training.”
Kathy Smith, Aqua Survivor, Monday mornings at Landmark Recreation Center – 3225 N Dries Lane, Peoria
I am an activity assistant at Proctor Place and instruct 3 water aerobic classes at Landmark Health Club. I’ve been at Proctor 4 ½ years in Feb and have been instructing fitness classes for approximately 6 years. I truly enjoy both positions and have met such remarkable people through the years. My son was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 ( lived in CO) and I came to the cancer support group meetings at Hult Center for help during this most difficult time in my life. From this association and the generosity of Landmark the Aqua Survivor class came to be. We have a strong friendship/support group that enjoy this and the great benefits of exercise in the water. We are always open to welcome new classmates. We meet Mondays 9:00 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.
Donna Sturm, “Tai Ji for Life of Learning” on Mondays and “Tai Ji for Life for Beginners” on Wednesdays @ Hult Center for Healthy Living
Donna Sturm was first introduced to Tai Ji at the Hult Center as a cancer survivor attending a workshop in 2005 led by Cielle Tewksbury. The workshop was a study in Five Elements and Circles introduced by Chungliang Huang founder of Living Tao Foundation. Study in this form continues with Ben Prichard at the Hult Center. In 2011 Donna gained certification in Tai Ji for Arthritis by Dr. Paul Lam and in 2013 began to train in Hong Ji in Traditional 24 Short From which is ongoing Donna believes that Tai Ji is an important part of a healthy life style and welcomes the opportunity to share what she has learned in the past 10 years.
Heather Delabre, Mindful Meditation – Tuesday evenings @ Hult – Volunteer By profession, Heather Delabre is a corporate communications specialist, but she began a journey in a very different area of expertise roughly a decade ago. Back then, she traveled to South America for the first time, exploring shamanic healing modalities deep in the Peruvian Amazon. That experience opened her awareness to the mind/body connection and set her on a path of internal exploration. She’s returned to the jungle each year since then, continuing her ongoing education in the healing arts with the shamans. At that time, she also began meditating and has since been trained in the Nine Breathings of Purification (Tibetan) and Vipassana (Indian) forms of meditation. Heather is also currently in training to become a Reiki master. She has been a meditation volunteer for 2 ½ years at Hult.
Volunteer Healthy Touch Services
Becky Dailey, CHTP, HTCP, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner – Thursday mornings – twice a month
Becky received her certification in Healing Touch through Healing Touch International & Healing Touch Program. Healing Touch is a biofield therapy that is an energy based approach to health and healing. It restores harmony and balance to the energy system. “It has been a blessing doing energy work at the Hult Center. Relieving hurt and watching pain levels being reduced is the most rewarding for all concerned. Each Healing Touch session is a unique and individual experience.”
Judy Schlueter, Reflexology for Cancer Patients in Treatment – Thursday mornings – once a month
Reflexology is a scientific art based on the premise that there are reflex areas in the feet and hand which correspond to all the glands, organs and parts of the body. ReflexoIogy improves nerve and blood supply and helps the body balance. “I am a certified reflexologist and Reiki Master. I have additional certificates in Reiki-Reflex Therapeutic Reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu, and Back Flower Essences. I am continuing my education in reflexology and am an active student of the science-based Manzanares Method™ of Reflexology (MMR) developed by Dr. Jesus Manzanares, M.D. HeelSoles, LLC , my reflexology and energy work practice, is located in West Peoria. I am so blessed to work with amazing and wonderful clients. It is an honor to volunteer at the Hult Center.
Ramona Weitzel, Energy Healing – Thursday mornings – fill in when others are out
I am a healing practitioner. I studied in Wisconsin with Healing in America. I am certified on 2 levels of energy healing. I am also a licensed clinical social worker LCSW. I was working with children and their family on an Indian Reservation in Wisconsin. I came back to Peoria, my home to be with my family.