Meet Our Providers
Robert Friedman MD, CMD, FAAHPM, FAAFP
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Bob Friedman has been a hospice and palliative care physician since 1995 and a family practitioner since 1983, serving urban and rural communities. As Chief Medical Officer of Hospice Austin and President of Austin Palliative Care, he continues to provide comprehensive end-of-life care while promoting best practices for the delivery of hospice and palliative care. As a member of the Hospice Austin administrative team, he is involved in clinical administration, providing guidance and direction in both hospice and palliative medicine. He is responsible for supervising and collaborating with the physicians and nurse practitioners of Austin Palliative Care.
Bob is board certified in Family Medicine and in Hospice & Palliative Medicine. He is also a Fellow with the American Academy of Family Practice and with the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. In addition, he is a board certified hospice medical director.As an educator, Bob has devoted over 20 years to providing educational programs about hospice and palliative medicine, including symptom management (physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual) and counseling in the end-of life setting. His audiences have included hospice and palliative care physicians, nurse practitioners, hospice nurses, other hospice discipline members, community physicians, community nurses and the general public.
Bob is married, with two children and five grandchildren. He enjoys spending time with his family, including two Chihuahuas. He loves music and musical instruments and plays several instruments, including mandolin. He also enjoys cooking and traveling.
Sandra Frellsen, MD, FACP
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. Ann Marie Case, MD, FAAP
Hospice Clinical Physician
Dr. Case has lived in Austin since 1999 after training in pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and Hospice & Palliative Medicine. Since 2009, she has specialized exclusively in the field of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Case was instrumental in the founding of Hospice Austin’s pediatric program, the only specialized hospice program for children in Central Texas. Dr. Case is the medical provider for Hospice Austin’s pediatric program, which also includes dedicated nurses, social workers and chaplains who specialize in caring for children. Dr. Case also provides palliative care services for children at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.
In her spare time, Dr. Case enjoys yoga, trail running with her husband, and being an “empty nester.”
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
Hospice Clinical Physician
Dr. Derek LeJeune is the newest Hospice Clinical Physician. He will be a 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.
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. Rita Schindeler-Trachta, DO, FAAFP
Hospice Clinical Physician
Dr. Rita Schindeler-Trachta has been affiliated with Hospice Austin since 2017, and has been treating end-of life patients for over 15 years. She is board certified in Family Medicine and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Family Physicians. She serves on the American Academy of Family Physicians Commission on Health of the Public, and also serves as Vice-Chair of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians Commission on Public Health Clinical Affairs and Research. Prior to joining Hospice Austin, Dr. Schindeler-Trachta served as a staff physician at Austin State Hospital, primarily on the geriatric unit, for over 10 years; she was Medical Quality Director for the State of Texas; and prior to that ran her own medical clinic in Austin. She is a veteran of the United Stated Air Force and had a 22-year career in aerospace, including working on space shuttle flight systems with astronauts at the Johnson Space Center, prior to entering medical school.
Dr. Schindeler-Trachta’s passion for medicine and dedication for delivering the best quality of life possible to people facing terminal illnesses is evident in her care of patients and their families. At Hospice Austin, she mostly works at our inpatient facility, Hospice Austin’s Christopher House, where she delivers compassionate symptom management to people suffering from end of life symptoms. “I changed my life to become a physician — and I have found my purpose. Hospice Austin is more than a job for me — it’s where I’m supposed to be.”
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.
Shelley Baker, RN, MSN, FNP-C
Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner
Shelley Baker is a community-based Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner. She sees patients in their homes and at independent and assisted living facilities. With over seven years of experience working in hospice and palliative care, Shelley listens and supports patients in reaching their goals. Prior to joining Austin Palliative Care, she provided home-based care to patients living with chronic disease and clinic-based primary care services.
Shelley received her undergraduate degree and Master’s in Nursing from UT Austin and is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is a member of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. She is a native Austinite and is married with two daughters. In her free time, Shelley enjoys family walks around Lady Bird Lake and playing Pickleball.
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.
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 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.
Radhika Nayak, RN, MSN, FNP
Radhika Nayak received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Masters in Nursing from UT. Born in Mumbai, India, she moved with family to Austin in 1999, just before starting college. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she worked at Seton Hospital in the MedSurg department for two years before moving to Chicago, where she worked in the ER at Northwestern Hospital. She married and returned to Austin, where she worked in the ER at Seton. She continued working in the ER while she attended grad school. Her son was born just a few days after her last day of class, and attended her graduation when he was two weeks old.
As a nurse practitioner, Radhika worked at a family practice, pain management clinic, and a chiropractor, where she practiced functional medicine. She joined Hospice Austin in 2017. She loves seeing patients in their homes and helping them to feel better. Radhika enjoys traveling, especially taking trips with her family.
Sue Perry holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing and is board certified as an Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. She also holds a certification in Case Management and an additional Bachelor’s degree specializing in Psychology. Before joining Hospice Austin, Sue worked closely with Medicare, facilitating care within the community.
As a Hospice Nurse Practitioner, Sue provides expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to her patient’s needs and wishes. “I have been fortunate to recognize how serving the community and my work with Hospice Austin has given me the most rewarding and inspiring moments in my life.”
Shannon Perryman, FNP-C
Shannon Perryman has over 22 years in healthcare, with the last five years working as a family nurse practitioner. She graduated in 2015 with a Masters in Nursing from South University in Savannah, Georgia, and is board certified through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Throughout her career, she worked primarily in direct patient care both in the inpatient and outpatient setting. She has been with Hospice Austin for seven years, initially as a Registered Nurse and now as an Advanced Practice Nurse
Shannon believes that when faced with a terminal illness, each patient’s journey looks different and her goal is to get to know her patients to address what matters most to them. She believes that hospice is a calling, and to care for those at the end of life is a privilege.