Our Dedicated Team
Below are some of our caregivers including home care nurses, administrators, and schedulers. These individuals are the keystone of our Collaborative Care promise, and work together to ensure you and your family are receiving the homecare services needed, with the schedule that makes sense, and with timely response to challenges as they arise.
Julie Andrews Krieger, MADS, CBIST
Master of Applied Disability Studies/Applied Behavior Analysis - Brock University, Ontario; Certified Brain Injury Specialist/Trainer - American Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists Certification from Brock University/Ontario Brain Injury Association in: Home and Community Based Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation; Cognitive Interventions in Adults with Acquired Brain Injury; Neurobehavioral Disorders; Advanced Rehabilitation for Persons with Acquired Brain Injury Certification from Brock University/Niagara University/NADD in: Behavioral Assessment and Treatment of Sex Offenders with Intellectual Disabilities. Julie subscribes to the rehabilitation philosophy of doing “Whatever It Takes”, to ensure participants’ goals and needs are met. Julie has over 18 years of experience working with adults who have acquired brain injuries, neurological disorders, dementia, and children with autism spectrum disorders. Julie co-authored a chapter in a recently published textbook “Genetic Syndromes and Applied Behavior Analysis”. While training staff is her “second heartbeat”, she has significant experience in program management, clinical supervision, training, compliance, and accreditation in multiple facilities (post-acute and long term rehabilitation, residential and community-based environments) across the United States and Canada. She began her service at New Frontiers in TBI as the Director of Waiver Services in January 2003 and transitioned in June 2008 as the Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer. Julie serves as the chairperson of the Continuous Quality Improvement committee, and the co-chairperson of the Serious Reportable Incident committee. Prior to joining New Frontiers in TBI, Julie was the Manager of Training, Accreditation and Compliance at ResCare Premier (brain injury services division) and Program Director at Anagram Rehabilitation. In her spare time, Julie is the chairperson of the Headway of WNY Advisory Council, a Girl Scouts Troop Leader, and a PTA member at Harry F. Abate Elementary School. She is presently collaborating with Camp Dawn in Ontario, a non-profit camp for adults with acquired brain injuries, to bring this experience to Western New York. You can also find Julie immersing herself in a good book, cooking for family and friends, sewing children’s clothing, and training for her second half-marathon.
Corporate Compliance & Privacy Officer - Western New York
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Robin Bertini, RN
Robin joined Allwel in 2012 and brought 39 combined years of experience as an RN/LPN in Psych/Addictions, Correctional nursing, Primary Care and various levels of home care, starting as a live in aide caring for the elderly at home, then staff nurse in the field doing pediatric private duty, a community health nurse on the HIV team doing home visits, home care supervisor, and screening patients for home care to her work here as Director of Patient Services. “It is most important to ensure that our patients receive the best quality care possible. In order to achieve that we collaborate with all members of the team and also with doctors, multiple other organizations and discharge planners to see to it that our participants get the services they need in order to be able to remain in their homes safely whenever possible.” Robin is a graduate, from Erie Boces LPN program and Erie Community College North Campus, school of nursing. Robin has been on the National Speakers Bureau for Jansen Pharmaceuticals doing training and teaching, and was a trainer for a local Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse counselor training program. Robin loves to teach her staff how to give the best care possible, sometimes in the most difficult of situations. Her passion for her field and her patients shows in her interactions with people she comes in contact with. “I am passionate about what I do, I work hard for my patients and I am diligent at getting the answers I need to provide the best care possible…If I had to do it all over again, I would still be a nurse…I wouldn’t change a thing.” When not caring for our participants, Robin loves to travel, oil painting, and spending time with family.
Director of Patient Services - Western New York
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Michelle joined our Allwel team in August 2016, as our western New York Branch’s Director of Employee Engagement. In her role, Michelle provides mentoring to our Home Care Associates. Michelle additionally provides supports for our Associates to identify and/or realize their goals, ensuring that Allwel is a welcoming and supportive work environment. Michelle combines her healthcare experience as a Rehabilitation Nurse, Certified Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomist, and Mental Health Assistant with her own personal experiences to help our staff solve work/life challenges and to prosper, “I love helping people to make bright paths for themselves!” Michelle gets motivated every day when she looks at what she’s blessed with, and also loves sharing with her children and granddaughter. In addition to her mission at Allwel, you can find Michelle spending her time as a Chairwoman of Christian Fellowship for Our Savior Lutheran Church, a Co-Owner of Dynasty Hair Studio, and a Co-Founder of Buffalo's Finest Drill Team.
Director of Employee Engagement - Western New York
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Tracey Brown - Cashdollar, RN
Allwel welcomed Tracey to our nursing team in 2015, as Nurse Supervisor in the western New York region. Along with Robin and Geoff, Tracey builds the foundations for strong team relationships between Allwel, our participants and their families, as well as other providers. Tracey is fundamentally committed to addressing challenges quickly in order to ensure participant and family needs are met: “the most rewarding part of my work is visiting a participant and aide that have really connected, and seeing the communication between aide, participant and office staff to help improve how we meet our participants’ goals." Tracey brings to Allwel over 28 years of experience in working with individuals with special needs including Service Coordination, education, private duty nursing, clinical nursing for the medically frail, dementia care, and hospice nursing. “I know first had what it is like to be the caregiver, having provided the care for my father who required total care provided at home…I believe that the patience, perseverance, and good sense of humor developed from these experiences are what makes me good at what I do.” When not attending to our participants, Tracey takes care of herself by volunteering at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, gardening, hiking, and seeking out great music and movies…on the road, of course, to being a captain of the Maid of the Mist.
Nurse Supervisor - Western New York
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Meghan Canfield, MSW
Meghan became a part of Allwel’s western New York team in December 2015 as a service coordinator. As of May 2016, she has been overseeing this region’s service coordination team as the Senior Service Coordinator, ensuring partnership with our participants and their families, friends, and any other caregivers or service providers to create comprehensive person-centered service plans: “We build these partnerships by being advocates, educators, brokers, and facilitators.” Meghan is rewarded through being able to witness and assist our participants in reaching their goals. “There is nothing better than being able to help our participants safely stay or be discharged back to the community, and reunite them with their friends and family.” Meghan graduated from the University at Buffalo with her Master’s in Social Work in 2013, and is also currently working on the Clinical Foundations of Trauma-Informed Care Certificate Program. Meghan also draws from experience with the Buffalo Schools providing counseling to adolescents using Solution Focused Therapy, as well as working in a residential setting providing direct care for adolescents with severe mental illnesses. Just prior to joining Allwel, Meghan was a Service Coordinator for medically frail children and their families through the Care at Home (CAH) waiver. “In addition to my education and work experience, I also have a younger sister who has special needs…growing up I witnessed multiple Service Coordinators and other service providers coming in and out of our lives. I was able to see firsthand how they made a difference in my sister’s life, whether good or bad. It is those experiences that guided me throughout my career.” Meghan loves camping, spending time with and cooking for family and friends…”I am also an avid reader, and will often not put a book down until it is finished.”
Senior Service Coordinator - Western New York
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Donald J. Cuddihy
Don began his career in Human Services over 15 years ago, serving people with Developmental Disabilities, Visual Impairments, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Since the inception of the TBI Waiver in NY State in 1996, Don has had the opportunity to begin two programs. Don has a warm sense of humor and personal insight of traumatic brain injury. He uses this gift to maintain a positive mission in serving individuals with acquired brain injury.
Partner - Western New York
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Susan specializes in insurance billing and payroll with a sharp eye and detailed focus since coming to Allwel in 2002. She maintains the smooth flow of service billing with a strong commitment to Medicaid and billing compliance, and is ever vigilant ensuring that are employees payroll is timely and accurate. Susan manages this department efficiently through the wealth of organizational experience she has gained over the past 20 years. If you have any Medicaid billing questions or employee payroll questions, she is happy to take your call. Susan has a vibrant sense of humor and an infectious laugh which she uses to brighten the day of Allwel’s clients and staff members, as well as anyone else she comes in contact with.
Billing and Payroll Coordinator - Western New York
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Geoff Engel, RN
Geoff is a veteran home care field nurse, who joined the western New York Allwel nursing team in 2015. Also a Nurse Supervisor, Geoff works to ensure all those involved have what they need to work effectively together. “I am a strong point of contact for participants and staff alike…the rewarding part of my work is being able to call a participant and letting them know we have accomplished something for them.” In addition to starting out his nursing career in home care through direct care of pediatric patients, Geoff brings together ideas and experiences from being a lifeguard, an EMT, as well as a web-writer of financial articles. “Compassion, understanding, and focus are what is needed to do this work well.” Geoff is the father of twins—a boy and girl—and enjoys being active through hiking, camping, and home projects.
Nurse Supervisor - Western New York
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In her role as bookkeeper, Linda oversees all of the company's financial and accounting responsibilities. She brings more than twenty years of healthcare experience, and over thirty years of bookkeeping, finance, and office management experience to her work. "It's rewarding to know that my position allows the Allwel management team to focus on what truly matters-caring for our participants." Linda joined the Allwel team in March 2014.
Full Charge Bookkeeper - Western New York
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Chris Hall, MA CRC
Chris has been working with individuals with traumatic brain injury since 2000, and he has over 15 years of experience in human services, previously serving individuals with developmental disabilities and substance abuse related disabilities. Chris’ passion lies in assisting individuals with disabilities in their efforts to build and maintain their maximum level of independence. As an owner and Administrator, Chris takes great pride in the amazing team of skilled and dedicated staff that he is able to work with every day, and in their commitment to providing superior service to each and every client of Allwel.
President / WNY Administrator - Western New York
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Lisa has a lengthy history with the agency in multiple capacities, including experiences gained while performing reception duties, on call, HCSS/PCA, team building, Scheduling Coordinator, as well as serving on several internal committees. Lisa is now our Quality Assurance Specialist and, as part of our compliance team, helps Allwel in meeting our regulatory and policy responsibilities.
Quality Assurance Specialist - Western New York
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Sunshine joined our western New York scheduling team in 2012, and brings with her a more than 20-year history in developmental disabilities including dietary specialist, Dementia Care, Cerebral Palsy, Schizophrenia, and direct care. Sunshine describes her work as “ensuring participants receive the best quality of care, and assisting participants, families, and staff build healthy, professional, compassionate, and meaningful relationships in the comfort of their own homes.” Like the rest of her team, Sunshine has some of the most contact with our staff and participants, helping them work through challenges and unexpected events…leading them to resolution both in the office and in the field. When not here, you will find Sunshine in her garden: “gardening is my passion…to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow!”
Scheduling Coordinator - Western New York
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Brandy Lenox joined the Allwel team in 2010 as a Scheduling Coordinator. In 2015, she became our western New York Lead Scheduling Coordinator and oversees the scheduling team. Brandy, along with the rest of the scheduling team, have the ultimate responsibility for taking the recommendations and needs of our Participants, their families, as well as the Service Coordination, Nursing, and Clinical teams and actually making them happen in our participants' homes. Brandy uses her college experience in nursing, PCA Certification, and more than 20 years of customer and human services experience to make that happen. But most importantly, it is her philosophy of "making a positive difference in the life of others with compassion, care, concern, and communication" that helps bring success to Allwel in the community...that and Brandy has the sweetest voice...people call just to hear her.
Lead Scheduling Coordinator - Western New York
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Sean Lewis joined Allwel in 2011, and is responsible for branch operations in the western NY and New York City regions. With more than 15 years of experience in home care services, as well as a background that includes municipal planning, economic development, and sales, Sean has been supporting various organizations’ efforts to provide quality products and service excellence. Prior to joining Allwel, Sean was a LHCSA Quality Management Supervisor, where he developed their Quality Assurance and Records Management programs. Sean also provided the oversight of the case management team, as well as the overall implementation of NYS Medicaid Traumatic Brain Injury/Nursing Home Transition & Diversion Waiver services for persons seeking alternatives to nursing homes. At Allwel, Sean continues his commitment to helping people collaborate on finding the right match in a caregiver and services, as well as serves on a number of area boards and committees dedicated to advocating or fundraising for persons with disabilities. When not at work, you can find Sean spending time with his family, riding his bike, reading a book, or at the movies.
VP Operations - Western New York
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Dan has been working with Allwel in our western New York region as a Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support Specialist since 2013. A very special charge, Dan works with participants whose goals are to incorporate better communication skills and re-developing social competencies that have been lost due to traumatic brain injury. Incorporating this component of services into plans of care requires “a nurturing environment, patience, adaptability, sound judgment, as well as creative problem solving in furthering goals of independence.” Dan brings to his work a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and over 25 years of experience working with people with traumatic brain injury or developmental disabilities. In addition to raising two adopted children from Kazakhstan, Dan enjoys hiking, Frisbee, travel, and gardening.
Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support - Western New York
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Marti joined Allwel in January 2015 as the Human Resource Coordinator and became our agency Generalist in 2016. Marti has over 20 years’ experience in Administration and Human Resources. Marti works diligently to provide outstanding caregivers to the participants that we service, as well as being an excellent resource and support to the associates at Allwel. “I believe that great care starts with providing the best support we can to our associates…” Prior to joining Allwel, Marti was the Business Office Manager/Human Resource Coordinator for Catholic Health and Elderwood. “It’s about being a good communicator, outgoing and friendly, approachable, and dependable.” Marti is all about the outdoors, and also her 5 grandchildren.
Human Resources Generalist - Western New York
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Debbie McDermitt, LCSW
Debbie joined our New York City branch as Director of Waiver Services in 2013, where she oversees the implementation of Waiver Services throughout the five boros. “I strive to assist participants in receiving quality services, both within the agency and with any other providers needed.” Before joining our team, Debbie provided in-home counseling and crisis intervention services, as well as educational advocacy and training for prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents. In addition, Debbie provided Clinical Supervision services to Illinois Department of Children and Families staff. Debbie had a private practice for several years, providing therapy services to individuals, couples, and families, as well as having worked with the US military being a Military and Family Life Consultant at military installations domestic and abroad. Debbie holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago's Jane Addams College of Social Work, and received her License in Clinical Social Work in 1998. Debbie is also currently teaching counseling skills at the University of Bridgeport Naturpathic Medicine Program. When we asked Debbie what she likes to do in her free time, she (only-half) jokingly replied that with two small children, “there is none…they are my hobbies.” However, she does like to teach Yoga, read and is a great fan of college football.
Director of Waiver Services - New York City
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Kareem Mcgee was born and raised in Florida. He graduated from Dunedin High School in 1994. Kareem joined Allwel in 2009 as an HCSS, then became the NY branch Scheduling Coordinator, and is now an Independent Living Skills Trainer. Kareem has a passion for helping people and enjoys the constant challenges of the job. He is good at giving directions and “taking charge” in a situation. Kareem’s happy smile and polite manner is his trademark characteristic here at Allwel. Kareem's passion is cooking, and he has received awards and great recognitions for the dishes he has created.
Scheduler and Independent Living Skills Trainer - New York City
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Tamarie joined Allwel’s team in August of 2016, as the Director of Employee Development. In this role, Tamarie promotes a culture of support and accountability, while guiding staff in behaviors that reflect Allwel’s values. Tamarie’s role focuses on developing programs and strategic partnerships that will allow employees to meet their goals of advancement. She also provides counsel, advice and mentoring to employees on identified areas of professional growth, including communication and professionalism. The most rewarding part of the job to Tamarie is the ability to help people visualize their aspirations, realize their personal potential, and facilitate ways to achieve those aspirations. Tamarie graduated from Canisius College in 2007, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and attained her Master’s Degree in Secondary English Education from Canisius in 2011, with a New York State Certification in Adolescent Education (7th-12th grade). Prior to joining the Allwel team, Tamarie was the Director of Transitional Housing at the YWCA of WNY, and was responsible for constituency building, program development, operational oversight and fiscal management for YWCA Housing Service Programs. During this time, Tamarie also took on the role of Interim Director for Erie County Family Court Child Care Center, focusing on children’s educational, developmental, cognitive, emotional, and social needs. Tamarie also worked as a Foster Care Permanency Planner and Home Finder for several years, focusing on family reunification and writing adoption home studies for Erie County Family Court. “To me, education is and has always been about developing the mind and disposition of an individual, and in which all persons may aspire to a higher level of understanding.” Tamarie leads by accessibility, enthusiasm, and care. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, kayaking, and going for hikes with her dog, Oswald.
Director of Employee Development - Western New York
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Priya Pinto, PhD
Priya has an extensive background in working with individuals with disabilities, including individuals with developmental disabilities and brain injury. Priya started in the field as a vocational evaluator, but that opportunity opened the door to several others, resulting in a broad based experience that included case management for multiple client needs, assisting clients with setting and achieving personal and vocational goals, offering support and resources to help obtain and retain employment in the community, and behavioral assessment along with positive, proactive behavior support and management. Priya also has experience in teaching rehabilitation topics to professionals working in the field. As an owner and an Administrator, Priya admits that the favorite part of her role is the creativity that can be employed in solving work problems, using a mutual vision and value system that herself and her partners use as their guide for decision making. Her area of specialty is a broad understanding of behavior, what causes and sustains both desirable and undesirable behavior, and her knowledge and expertise of those principles as they apply to the population of individuals with brain injury. Through it all, Priya has a dual commitment: the first is to the right of an individual with a disability to choose and to be integrated in the community, and to be respected as a unique individual with a unique perspective. The other equally important part is the provision of a workplace that is comfortable and respectful, where individuals can use their talents to flourish and grow and, where they can achieve recognition and value.
Executive Director / NYC Administrator - New York City
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Ty Ron, MSW
Ty Ron joined our New York City Allwel branch in 2014, and has quickly progressed to the role of Service Coordinator and Independent Living Skills Instructor. Ty derives great satisfaction from working with Traumatic Brain Injury program participants, helping each find the right combination of waiver and community services to meet their goals of ever-increasing independence. Ty earned her Master’s in Social Work from California State University of Stanislaus, and also brings to us her experience working with children in need and hospice. “To be good at this work, you have to be compassionate, sympathetic, and very hardworking.” Ty is also an avid Texas Hold’em player, reader, and we have come to understand, a formidable Fantasy Football championship holder.
Service Coordinator, ILST - New York City
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Thane Schulz, MA MSW
Thane began at Allwel in 2011 as one of our Social Work interns. After graduating and shortly thereafter returning, he quickly progressed through roles as Service Coordinator and Senior Service Coordinator, and is now our agency’s Director of Programs—the liaison between our programs and the community. “Collaboration is one of the core principles of the trauma-informed approach to social work, and we apply the collaborative care model to ensure trustworthiness, to make sure our clients feel safe and that they can depend on us. I love it when we can reunite families who have been separated by nursing home placement.” Thane combines a Master’s in Social Work, a Master’s in Political Science and experience with behavioral health and patient advocacy. Thane is on the Headway Advisory Committee, the Communication Committee of the Network in Aging, and is the President of the Executive Marketing Team chapter of BNI. Thane is also a classically trained tenor, and you will find him singing around Buffalo, but mostly to himself while organizing events, fundraising or walking with the Allwel team to help “fight for the cause.” Training for his fourth marathon, Thane enjoys the challenge, tranquility and clarity of thought fostered by long distance running. Thane would say, “I can run really far, but I’m the tortoise, not the hare!”
Director of Programs - Western New York
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Sandy Swartwout, MS Ed
Sandy has been a part Allwel’s team since 2009, with the roles of Community Integration Counselor, Positive Behavior Intervention & Support Specialist, and Independent Living Skills Trainer. Since 2012, Sandy has been leading the clinical team as the western New York region's Director of Clinical Services, while still making time to work directly with our participants in the field—it is difficult to not see the passion Sandy has when helping participants move forward in their goals of relearning skills lost through a TBI, as well as collaborating with the whole care team in solving participants’ challenges throughout the agency. Sandy combines her Bachelor’s in Psychology/Education, Master's in Education, Community Mental Health Counseling, a NYS Permanent Certification in Special Education, and a PBIS certification with over 28 years of experience in providing counseling and behavioral supports. “Being objective, compassionate, and fair,“ is what she believes are necessary to working with participants and families to provide excellent services and support. When not at the office or in the field, Sandy enjoys gardening, camping, baking, and reading, as well as being a certified gemologist.
Director of Clinical Services - Western New York
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Nicholette Thomas, MS CRC CASAC-T
Nicholette joined the WNY Allwel team in March of 2015, originally starting as a Service Coordinator for the TBI Waiver. In September of the same year, she added a position within the VetSuccess program. The VetSuccess program is a contracted service, and encompasses completing Independent Living Skills Assessments and Case Management to Veterans all over New York State, assisting them with maintaining independence in their homes. VetSuccess has since grown to also include Case Management services for Service Members transitioning from active duty due to Service Connected Disabilities. This is a very fulfilling part of Nicholette’s work, and makes the long drives all around New York worth it. Nicholette is a native born Buffalonian and attended, both, undergraduate and graduate school at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has her Master’s in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling, is a nationally Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, and is a NYS Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee. Before Allwel, she interned at the VA Medical Center in Buffalo, worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at a Supported Employment agency, served as a Senior Addictions Counselor at a Substance Abuse clinic, and fulfilled the roles of a Social Worker, Counselor, and Employment Specialist at the Buffalo Halfway House for federal inmates transitioning back into society. In her personal life, Nicholette is the proud mother of two beautiful children, and she has found much enjoyment in publishing her own multiracial haircare blog and website.
Vocational Counselor / Service Coordinator - Western New York
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