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. View the care services territory map of Florida here.
Judie Benwick, MSH, MPH, CHES - Regional Program Manager, Northcentral Florida | [email protected] | 888.257.1717 x123
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: Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Nassau, Suwannee, Union.
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: Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk.
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.
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 the West Palm Beach VA ALS clinic and also facilitates 2 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 Director, Northeast 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, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns.
Audrey Footerman, MSW - Regional Program Manager, Northwest Florida | [email protected] | 888-257-1717 x114
Audrey Footerman received her Master of Social Work degree with a Healthcare Specialization from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Science – Public Health degree from Western Illinois University. Before moving to Florida, Audrey worked as a Care Services Coordinator for the ALS Association DC/MD/VA chapter. There, she attended 2 multidisciplinary clinics and facilitated 2 support groups for the regions she served. All of Audrey’s professional experience revolves around working with and for individuals with life changing diagnosis. She wanted to go into the social work field to help advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves. At the Florida Chapter, Audrey will be clinic liaison for the multidisciplinary clinic at the University of Florida – Gainesville! Audrey enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 dogs. She loves traveling, spending time outside, and trying new food.
Audrey works with the following counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, Alachua, Marion, Citrus.
Sharleen Caro - Regional Program Manager, Southwest Florida | [email protected] | 888-257-1717 x110
Sharleen joined The ALS Association Florida Chapter in February 2022. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Lehman College in New York. While living in her home town of New York City, Sharleen worked in several health and social services agencies including Visiting Nurse Service of New York and the Hospital for Special Surgery. Since arriving in Florida in 2017, she has worked for the Area Agency on Aging and for the Department of Veteran Affairs. Her passion is assisting people with debilitating illnesses to navigate the system of care. Sharleen is most proud of her miracle child who gives her life and purpose. During her free time Sharleen enjoys spending time with her family and going to Broadway plays.
Sharleen works with the following counties: Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Manatee, and Sarasota.
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.