Meet Your Florida Care Services Team
Our local care services team helps the Chapter fulfill its mission of patient care, advocacy, awareness, and funding research. Each has a designated geographic area in the state within which they provide the services and programs across the continuum of care to promote quality of life for people living with ALS and their families in Florida.
Jessica M. Collins, MBA - Director of Care Services | [email protected] | 888.257.1717 x102
Jessica Collins received her Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Psychology from Utica College of Syracuse University. Following her undergraduate studies Jessica began her career as a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist with St. Luke’s Home in Utica, NY. Throughout her career as a recreational therapist, Jessica gained experience working with neurological disorders. Mrs. Collins completed her Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Administration from Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL in 2007 and began working as The ALS Association Florida Chapter Care Coordinator in Southeast Florida. Before entering her role as Director of Care Services with our Chapter, Jessica served as Director of Patient Care in the home medical equipment industry. In that role she served the state of Florida, working to ensure that a high level of quality care and services were provided to patients and acted as a liaison between patients and other health care service providers.
Judie Benwick, MSH, MPH, CHES - Regional Program Manager, Northwest Florida | [email protected] | 888.257.1717 x112
Judie Benwick is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and holds Masters degrees in Health Science and Community Health from the University of North Florida. She has worked for the Florida Chapter as Regional Program Manager since August 2005, and currently assists people with ALS and their family members living in Northwest Florida. Prior to joining The ALS Association Florida Chapter, Judie was employed as a licensed public insurance adjuster helping medical providers and individuals resolve complex health claim issues. As part of her graduate studies she completed a research internship at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville where she investigated the effects of multidisciplinary ALS Clinic care on the family caregiver experience.
Judie works with the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington.
Heran Sisay, MA - Regional Program Director, West Central Florida | [email protected] | 888.257.1717 x103
Heran Sisay joined The ALS Association Florida Chapter in January 2005. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Gerontology, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Social Administration. Working as a postsecondary educator in the field of Sociology, Heran acquired teaching and research experience. She completed a graduate internship with Florida’s Area Agency on Aging where she added practical case management and knowledge of state and federal programs, including long-term care services and insurance for older adults and disabled individuals, to her experience. Heran is the Chapter liaison at ALS clinics, facilitates a resource group each month and is the Florida Chapter Program Director for West Central Florida.
Heran works with the following counties: Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk.
Patricia Stanco, MHS - Regional Program Manager, Southwest Florida | [email protected] | 888.257.1717 x110
Patti Stanco has been with The ALS Association Florida Chapter since 2010. Before relocating to Florida, Patti spent fifteen years in Washington, D.C. working with national patient organizations, healthcare professional associations and pharmaceutical companies. Her specialties include health policy, advocacy, and legislative affairs. She is also knowledgeable about research, clinical trials, and the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) drug approval process. Patti holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Northeastern University and a Master of Health Science from Johns Hopkins University. Patti is the Chapter liaison at two Affiliated ALS Clinics: Lee Health ALS Clinic in Fort Myers and the MDA/ALS Clinic in Sarasota. She is the Regional Program Manager in Southwest Florida and facilitates monthly support group meetings in Naples, Fort Myers, North Port, and Sarasota/Bradenton.
Patti works with the following counties: Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Manatee, and Sarasota.
Marixa Salgado, MSW - Regional Program Director, East Central Florida | [email protected] | 888.257.1717 x109
Marixa Salgado received her Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services in Tarrytown, New York – she has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication with a minor in Theology. Before moving to Florida in 2004, Marixa worked with the homeless population of men over 35 as a Psychiatric Social Worker and as a Case Management Supervisor, with Volunteers of America in Chester, NY. Since arriving in Florida, Marixa has worked as a Professor in the University of Central Florida’s School of Social Work as well as with several other non-profit organizations. Marixa also facilitated Case Management Academy, a training program that was done in collaboration with The Heart of Florida United Way, to train case managers in East Central Florida how to serve their clients from a Social Work perspective. Marixa has served on several non-profit Boards in her community and in May 2014 joined the Florida Chapter. Marixa is the Program Director for East Central Florida.
Marixa works with the following counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia.
Camila Arizaga, MSW - Regional Program Manager, Miami-Dade | [email protected] | 888-257-1717 x116
Camila was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She moved to the U.S. nine years ago to expand her educational opportunities. Camila holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Kean University and a Master of Arts degree in Social Work with a focus in Human Services Management from Rutgers University. In the beginning, she worked mainly with “troubled youth” providing counseling services, however her passion lies in working with and for individuals struggling with life-limiting illnesses. Camila joined The ALS Association Florida Chapter in November 2016. She facilitates a virtual support group for Spanish-speaking patients across the state and is the Chapter liaison at the University of Miami ALS Certified Treatment Center of Excellence. During her free time, Camila enjoys practicing yoga, traveling, and playing with her dog.
Camila works with the following counties: Miami-Dade and Monroe.
Tina Duane - Regional Program Manager, Southeast Florida | [email protected] | 888-257-1717 x122
Tina joined the Florida Chapter in April 2019 with 12 years of experience serving the neuromuscular and ALS community. Coming from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Tina attended two weekly multidisciplinary clinics, served on various National work group committees developing new policies and procedures, ran their largest equipment loan program, facilitated ALS support groups, was the Summer Camp Director for the MDA Summer Camp serving 120 campers, and was the healthcare liaison for 9 counties. Tina is the liaison for the Phil Smith Neuroscience Institute at Holy Cross ALS clinic and also facilitates 3 monthly support groups! Tina enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 daughters, 2 cats and a dog, as well as going to the beach, visiting different restaurants (she loves trying new food) and traveling.
Tina works with the following counties: Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Indian River, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee.
Melissa Fehrenkamp - Regional Program Manager, North Florida | [email protected] | 888-257-1717 x117
Melissa has worked for 13 years in a variety of health care/social services settings. Beginning as Youth Care Worker for juvenile offenders in 2007, she then worked as an Outreach Advocate for a non-profit organization serving victims of domestic violence. She pursued her Emergency Medical Technician training and began working in her local hospital’s emergency room/trauma center. After receiving her Bachelors in Psychology from Excelsior College in New York, she transitioned to an Emergency Room Care Coordinator position under the Social Services Department of the hospital. There she worked closely with the multidisciplinary team to assist with providing the best next care setting for patients, networking with community agencies, and establishing a plan for resources and services. In her free time, Melissa enjoys traveling, boating, and spending time with her husband, two children and a multitude of rescued animals on their small farm.
Melissa works with the following counties: Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, Clay, Baker, Putnam, Flagler, Marion, Levy, Gilchrist, Dixie, Lafayette, Suwanee, Columbia, Hamilton, Union, Bradford, and Alachua.
Jackie Mathews - Chapter Program Manager | [email protected] | 888-257-1717 x113
After growing up in Illinois, Jackie received a B.A. in Business from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon graduating, she moved to the heart of Chicago and worked for "Corporate America". Realizing she needed a little more space, she moved to Colorado. In both states, Jackie mentored and interacted with students daily for 15 years. Then, she moved to Florida to be at our Chapter. Always loving being in the position of helping others, her favorite quote is "Service to humanity is service to God," by Lailah Gifty Akita. In her leisure time, Jackie enjoys exploring the Florida outdoors with her husband. She is most proud of her four children, three of whom are engineers and one an artist.
Jackie manages the Chapter's Equipment Loan Program and Financial Assistance Program.