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The Health Care Transition Learning Collaborative is a partnership between Gillette Children’s and the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health/Got Transition. Gillette’s Tori Bahr, MD, Internal Medicine and Pediatric Physician Medical Director of Pediatrics, and Rhonda Cady, PhD, Clinical Scientist and Health Services Research Program Lead, will co-lead the collaborative, along with Margaret McManus, MHS, and Patience White, MD, MA, FAAP, MACP – both with Got Transition, a program of the National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health.


Steering Work Group

* denotes core faculty

As a behavioral health researcher in the Office of the Medicaid Medical Director, Regina actively works to integrate behavioral healthcare services with primary care. This role involves advanced research expertise and policy development with a distinct focus on data analysis to increase health-related quality of life across the care continuum of services for individuals. 

Carolyn is the Executive Director of Family Voices of Minnesota, a state-wide, non-profit organization, the Family Voices state affiliate organization, and state alliance member of Parent-to-Parent USA.  

Over the past thirty-five years, Carolyn has coordinated several Federal Maternal Child Health Bureau grants and has contributed to state and national projects related to patient-and-family-centered care, Medical Home, care coordination, and quality improvement projects, including the Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs Research Network, the National Hospital Association’s CARE Award, the Minnesota Medical Home Learning Collaborative, and the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention.  

Carolyn has written and contributed to several publications and commentaries for families and professionals about family-centered care, parent/professional collaboration, and the role of parents in system improvement. Carolyn is the parent of four children; her youngest son was born with complex healthcare needs and passed away at the age of 24. 

A licensed Med-Peds physician, Dr. Tori Bahr is the Medical Director for Pediatrics at Gillette Children’s and leads Gillette’s Complex Care and Transition Clinics. She served as Medical Director for the recently completed ‘Transition for Youth with Medical Complexity to Adult Care’ Project ECHO and chaired a Transition Roundtable in collaboration with the Chloe Barnes Advisory Council on Rare Diseases, the Minnesota Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Dr. Bahr co-leads Gillette’s Transition Task Force, a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and parent advisors focused on implementing evidence-informed transition processes at Gillette. She is passionate about developing partnerships with pediatric and adult providers and health systems throughout Minnesota. Dr. Bahr will serve as Principal Investigator, Medical Director, Facilitator, ECHO Core Faculty and leader of the Health Care Transition Learning Collaborative Steering Work Group for the proposed Health Care Transition Project ECHO Learning Collaborative. 

Trained professionally as a speech-language pathologist, Erica has been an advocate for improving care for the rare disease community for over 12 years following the loss of her daughter Chloe to a rare neurologic condition. She believes that the challenges in addressing the needs of the rare disease community can only be met through cross-sector, cross-institution collaborations just like this one. 

Mary Benbenek, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, CPNP-PC, FAANP, FANP is a clinical professor and coordinator of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Minnesota. She maintains a faculty practice one day a week at a community clinic. 

Wendy is a senior public health nurse consultant in the Children and Youth with Special Health Needs section at MDH. She is the Coordinated Care Systems Specialist and Title V MN Transition Specialist. She has over 4o plus years of nursing experience in public health, healthcare home clinical practice, integrative healthcare in behavioral health, and early intervention interagency collaboration. She is committed to creating systems, environments, and processes that are rooted in holistic individual and family needs spanning the lifespan.

Dr. Razaan Byrne is a pediatrician at Children’s Minnesota. She is a primary care provider in the Minneapolis Primary Care Clinic, and is the Medical Director for the Complex Care Clinic at Children’s.  Dr. Byrne is dedicated to advocacy for quality, equitable healthcare for our most vulnerable pediatric populations. She is excited to work with stakeholders around the region to continue improving the transition of our complex patients to quality adult care.   

A PhD-trained researcher, Rhonda Cady, PhD is the Program Director for Health Services Research at Gillette Children’s. She has over 15 years of experience with care coordination and transition-related research and quality improvement projects and was a recipient of the 2022 Betty Hubbard Maternal Child Health Leadership Award. Her role as Principal Investigator for multi-year, externally funded research projects include the National Spina Bifida Registry and Health Care Delivery System Innovations for Children with Medical Complexity (CoIIN for CMC). She co-leads Gillette’s Transition Task Force with Dr. Bahr and, in collaboration with Wilder Research, recently completed focus groups with Gillette young adults and caregivers to understand their transition experiences. Dr. Cady will serve as Program Manager for the proposed Health Care Transition Project ECHO Learning Collaborative. 

Renee worked at a Minnesota health center for 1 year and started at MNACHC in October 2022. She has a Master's in Public Health Policy and Administration. Prior to seeking her advanced degree, she worked in cancer research for more than 10 years. 

Linda is a retired neurologist working as a healthcare Advocate for PACER Center. She helps families navigate public health insurance, acquire healthcare needs in schools, and find healthcare resources for their child/youth with special healthcare needs. She also raised a son with significant mental health needs. 

Alyssa is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Minnesota who has provided individual and group therapies in levels of care from outpatient to inpatient settings. She has worked most specifically with eating disorders and co-morbid disorders. She is currently working as the Mental Health Systems Coordinator for the Children and Youth with Special Health Needs at MDH, and is the manager of the Minnesota Pediatric Mental Health Access Program. What drives her most throughout all her roles in the community is creating health equity and trauma-informed care in the healthcare and public health system. 

Harris, an officer for the Board of Directors of The Arc US, has shared her lived experience as the parent of a son with complex medical needs and disabilities to help shape policy and legislation for over 25 years. Currently working as a systems navigation specialist for Family Voices of Minnesota, she has been a family leader for the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Advance Care for Children with Medical Complexity (CMC), as well as a partner with the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs National Research Network (CYSCHNet). Harris has worked with the national Workers Advisory Group (WAG) for Paid Leave and the National Caregiver Advocacy Collaborative of the National Alliance for Caregiving and has contributed to workgroups on transition from pediatric to adult medicine, community advisory boards regarding equity in access to federal waivers, a direct care workforce shortage committee for her home county, and diversity committees for Family Voices National and The Arc US. Her family’s story was featured in the RAISE Act Initial Report to Congress 2021, as well as the Better Life Lab: Crisis Conversations, Family Caregiving Podcast, with journalist Brigid Schulte. Harris was the 2021 guest lecturer for the Volk Lecture in Medical Humanities, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Harris is a writer of Narrative Medicine and has published in Today’s Caregiver magazine, Kaleidoscope, Existere: Journal of Literature and Arts, at, JAMA Pediatrics, the Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, Complex Care Journal, the NHPCO Pediatric E-Journal (2021) and AAP Pediatrics and others.

Harris lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, where she cares for Josh with her spouse Victor, a retired USMC officer.

Joan is a Practice Improvement Specialist for Health Care Homes (patient-centered medical home) working with primary care clinicians and organizations on HCH capacity building, and certification in Southern Minnesota and bordering states. She has over 35 years of nursing experience in a variety of areas, including local public health, community psychiatric, and acute and primary care clinical nursing. 

Margaret is President of The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health (NA) and Co-Director of Got Transition, the federally funded national resource center on Health Care Transition Learning Collaborative. She has more than 30 years of experience working with the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau and state Title V agencies, the AAP, Family Voices, and other stakeholders to improve systems of care for CYSHCN, with a particular focus on Health Care Transition Learning Collaborative program development and payment. She has directed numerous federal, state, and private foundation projects on transition, adolescent healthcare delivery, insurance coverage, and payment, children and adolescents with special healthcare needs, pediatric subspecialty workforce, and public health program and policy development. Ms. McManus will serve as a Subject Matter Expert, Presenter, Facilitator, ECHO faculty, and member of theHealth Care Transition Learning Collaborative Steering Work Group. 

Maria is the System Director for Equity Initiatives at MHFV and provides connections to the methodologies and frameworks used to embed equity considerations across system-level decision-making. Her background includes work in public policy, community organizing, and public health. 

Spencer is a Sr. Product Director with United Healthcare leading a team focused on development for UHC’s pediatric and adults with complex and special healthcare needs, specifically supporting families to navigate the insurance and healthcare system. Spencer is also a father of three children, one of whom has complex healthcare needs. He is very involved in his local community to support her and advocate for those with special needs. 

Lisa Regehr is Director of Student, Resident and Professional Education for the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. She leads programing and leadership development for medical and resident members, manages education initiatives and Continuing Medical Education accreditation as well as research and quality improvement efforts. 

Dr. Scal is a pediatrician and health services researcher at the University of Minnesota. His research has focused on the health and healthcare needs of youth living with chronic conditions addressing policies, programs, and clinical interventions. He looks forward to working together to make a difference for the youth in Minnesota. 

Dr. White is emeritus professor of medicine and pediatrics and Co-Director of Got Transition. She is the lead author for the 2018 revision of the AAP, AAFP, ACP Clinical Report on Health Care Transition within the Medical Home and the reaffirmation this year. With Ms. McManus, she led the revision of the Six Core Elements of Health Care Transition and created accompanying implementation guides. She provides technical assistance to health plans, Title V agencies, pediatric and adult primary and specialty care practices and professional societies, and health professional training programs. For 10 years she has led a Learning Community of 10 health systems undertaking Health Care Transition improvements. She recently was elected as the DC ACP governor for the ACP Board of Governors. Over 30 years, Dr. White has received grants and directed academic divisions, and federal, state, and private foundation projects as well as programs in public health, and advocacy. Dr. White will serve as a Subject Matter Expert, Presenter, Facilitator, ECHO Faculty and a member of the Health Care Transition Learning Collaborative Steering Work Group. 


Funding Source

This 14-month initiative is Supported by a grant of $160,000 from the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Child and Family Health Division. To learn more about MDH Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs, please email Wendy Berghorst, grant manager.



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