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Meet Our Providers

 

Sandra Frellsen, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, HMDC
Hospice Medical Director

Dr. Sandra Frellsen has been a hospice clinical physician at Hospice Austin since 2013. Board certified in Hospice & Palliative Medicine and Internal Medicine, Dr. Frellsen sees patients in their homes and at independent, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities.

Before joining Hospice Austin, Dr. Frellsen was an Attending Physician at Stroger Hospital of Cook County and a Consultative Attending for the Palliative Care Service. She also served as Assistant Dean of Academic Development at Rush Medical College.

She received her undergraduate degree from Yale University, her medical degree from Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, and completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Boston Medical Center and Veterans Administration Medical Center. Outside of work. Dr. Frellsen enjoys spending time with her family and dogs. Her hobbies include hiking, reading, knitting, and Scouts.

 

Dr. Kimberly Galusha DO, FAAFP
Hospice Clinical Physician

Dr. Kimberly Galusha has been a physician with Hospice Austin since 1997. She worked at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House when it opened its doors in February 1998. Dr Galusha was the medical director at the Marbridge Foundation, a home for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities for 10 years. She also served on the Texas Department of Human Services Advisory Subcommittee for Nursing Facilities and the Texas Department of Human Services Hospice and Nursing Facility Work group.

She received her undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, and her medical degree from Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa. Her internship and internal medicine residency was at the Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas in Fort Worth. Dr Galusha spent her childhood as a missionary child in the Congo and has traveled extensively throughout her life, learning about different cultures and lifestyles. In her spare time she competes in competitive dog sports, Agility and Flyball. Several of her dogs have earned national sport honors and one of her current dogs has won the Number One NADAC Agility Chihuahua for all of the USA, Canada and Australia for several years in a row.  She is a foster home for Austin Pets Alive and Border Collie Rescue of Texas.

 

Dr. Derek LeJeune, MD, HMDC
Hospice Clinical Physician

Dr. Derek LeJeune is a home team physician, attending IDTs, serving as a resource for his team, and visiting patients. He received his MD from LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, where he also served his Internal Medicine residency. During his last year of residency, Hurricane Katrina struck, causing him to work disaster relief/evacuee triage and medical care in various parts of Louisiana.

Dr. LeJeune has worked as a hospitalist as well as in long-term care and geriatrics. He became board certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine to further his ability to care for those patients. He served as the regional medical director for another hospice in the DFW area for several years prior to moving to Austin.  He worked at non-hospice jobs for several years, but felt a calling to come back to an area of medicine that has given him the most joy and professional satisfaction. Dr. LeJeune’s hobbies include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and chasing his kids around. He and his wife, Laurie, have a son and daughter.

 

Dr. Michelle Owens, DO
Hospice Clinical Physician

As the Hospice Clinical Physician for Hospice Austin’s Christopher House, Dr. Michelle Owens provides medical care to all of the patients at Hospice Austin’s inpatient facility. She is board certified in Family Medicine and in Hospice & Palliative Medicine.

Prior to joining Hospice Austin, Dr. Owens was the Section Chief of Supportive and Palliative Care at Baylor Scott and White, where she was hired to develop the inpatient and outpatient palliative medicine consultation service after she finished her Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at UT Southwestern and Parkland Hospital. She completed her family medicine residency at UMC-Brackenridge in Austin. She received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in Tempe and her DO from Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences in Kansas City.

Dr. Owens spends her free time with her husband, Paraag, and two young children. She enjoys traveling, listening to live music, and making memories with family. She also participates in the education of medical students and residents about the importance of hospice and palliative care.

 

Dennis Pacl, MD, FACP
Hospice Clinical Physician

Dr. Pacl (pronounced Pah-sul) is an Austinite who graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1988, completing residency training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in 1992 at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He has been involved in the development of hospital-based Palliative Care consultation services at several hospitals in Texas, Arkansas, and Australia. He served as adjunct clinical faculty for UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, University of Arkansas Medical School, and the Australian National University. He has worked with several hospice organizations in Texas, and spent five years practicing palliative care in Australia, returning to Texas in 2014.

Dr. Pacl  is glad to be back in his hometown working as a staff physician for Hospice Austin and Austin Palliative Care, Austin’s premier hospice and palliative care services. He is an attending physician for Hospice Austin’s Christopher House inpatient hospice.

 

Dr. Johnson Wu, DO, MBe
Hospice Clinical Physician

Born and raised in rural Texas, Johnson Wu received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from UT Austin and his medical degree from A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. He completed his Residency in Family Medicine at University Medical Center Brackenridge – University of Texas at Austin and his Fellowship in Hospice & Palliative Medicine at Cleveland Clinic.

Before coming to Hospice Austin, Dr. Wu was a hospice physician providing inpatient and home care in Boston and was the clerkship director for Harvard Medical School’s Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital. While working full time as a hospice physician, he attended evening classes at Harvard and earned a Masters in Bioethics. His hobbies include studying philosophy, hiking with his dog, cycling, traveling, and spending time with his brother in Houston and his sister and her twin boys in Austin.

 

Kate Tindall, MD
Palliative Care Medical Director

Dr. Kate Tindall has joined Austin Palliative Care as the Palliative Care Medical Director. She is dual board-certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She completed her training, including her Palliative Medicine fellowship, at UTSW. She was most recently working as the Assistant Medical Director of the Palliative Care team for Parkland Hospital as well as Assistant Professor at the UTSW Medical School. She brings a passion for providing compassionate, patient-centered care to the seriously ill population and is thrilled to offer this care to the Austin community, where she grew up..

She has moved here with her husband, Mark, who is a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s office and their two children. Dr. Tindall is happy to return to Austin to be reunited with her family that lives here. She spends most of her time trying to keep up with her two children, but also enjoys being outdoors, reading, cooking and traveling.

 

Beverly Anne Butler, ACNS-BC
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Anne Butler is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (comparable to a Nurse Practitioner). Born in McAllen, she moved with her family to Lagos, Nigeria, then was raised in Ann Arbor, MI where she received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. She made her living as a freelance photographer before going back to school where she was awarded a Masters of Science degree in Nursing degree from UT Austin (with a concentration in Adult Health and Gerontology), then board certification as an Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist.

She joined Hospice Austin as an RN for two years before working as a CNS with Austin Regional Clinic for six years. Anne is married to former KUTX DJ Hayes McCauley. Her hobbies include dance, walking the Town Lake trail, cooking, reading, enjoying the eclectic selection of music her husband plays at home and spending time with friends and family.

 

Jo Ann Cardenas, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner

Jo Ann Cardenas has over 20 years of experience as an Advanced Practice RN, first as a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. She returned to school for postgraduate studies to become dual board certified as an Adult and Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. Before joining Hospice Austin, Jo Ann practiced both in the inpatient and outpatient settings; the last 10 years she concentrated on primary care medicine and saw patients in their homes, personal care group homes, and assisted living facilities. Jo Ann’s focus is on compassionate patient-centered care and enhancing the quality of life for her patients.

She received her Master’s in Nursing from UT Health Science Center at Houston in 1995 as a CNS and in 2002 completed a postgraduate studies certificate program as a nurse practitioner. Jo Ann is a member of the Texas Nurse Practitioners Association and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

 

May Harris, RN, MSN, FNP-C
Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner

May P. Harris is certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and has a Masters of Science in Nursing from Texas Tech University. She has 12 years of healthcare experience in various settings including critical care, trauma, neurosurgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation. Prior to joining Hospice Austin in 2019, May worked in primary care, hospice and skilled rehabilitation facilities as a healthcare provider.

May considers it a privilege to care for patients and counsel their loved ones through their hospice journey. She specializes in care which aligns with the patients’ beliefs, unique circumstances, and challenges. May believes it is her personal and professional calling to be part of Hospice Austin. Outside work, she enjoys spending time with her family and exercising.

 

Brian King, RN, FNP, ACHPN
Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner

Brian King has 20 years’ experience in hospice and palliative care, the past 10 years in the role of Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner. He received his Master’s in Nursing from UT Austin in 1998 and is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse. Brian became interested in nursing after serving in the Peace Corps in Ecuador and later worked in the ER at Brackenridge Hospital.

From the initial visit, Brian places an emphasis on patients’ values, preferences and goals. Patients enjoy Brian’s friendly and personalized approach to care. He encourages questions and takes the time to get to know his patients and thoroughly understand their hopes and concerns.

Brian has worked for Hospice Austin since 1999. Brian and his wife have two sons. He enjoys swimming regularly at Barton Springs and camping in Big Bend National Park.

 

Christie Kremer, FNP-BC, ACHPN
Nurse Practitioner

Christie Kremer  has 22  years of experience in healthcare, the past 10 years in the role of Family Nurse Practitioner. She received her Master’s in Nursing from The University of Texas at  Austin in 1999 and is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner and an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse and holds Post Masters Certification from The University of Texas at Austin. Christie was a Clinical Instructor in Nursing with The University of Texas at Austin for three years.

Christie has worked in hospice and palliative medicine for more than seven years including five years with Hospice Austin. She enjoys providing patient-centered care and focuses on the patient’s goals for care and  family education and support.

 

Anna-Michele Taylor, MSN, APRN, AGACNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner

Anna Michele Taylor is an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She has 16 years of nursing experience.

Anna Michele was born and raised in Austin. After living in California while her husband attended UC Berkeley, she returned to Austin to raise her two daughters as her husband began his career as a teacher. She entered nursing school when her youngest daughter started kindergarten. She completed her nursing degree at Austin Community College in 2005 and went on to earn her BSN at UT Arlington shortly after while working as an intensive care nurse. She worked as a Palliative Care nurse for a year after developing the program for the ICU. In 2017, she went back to school to become a nurse practitioner and earned her MSN in 2019 with specialty in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.

When not at work she enjoys hiking, traveling, camping and reading. She also has a great love for film and live music. And, of course, she spends as much time as she can with her husband and two daughters, friends and her dog Jake.