Reach Out and Read Iowa Executive Board Members

Susan O'Brien

Reach Out And Read Iowa Interim Board Chair

My professional career has been 16 years in non-profit management. I became involved with Reach Out and Read after I toured the site at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, IA with Dr. Amy Shriver and immediately fell in love with the program and wanted to align myself with this organization. I am passionate about helping our most vulnerable population, ensuring Iowa's children have the best start to life. I am currently nearing completion of my MPA degree from Drake University in non-profit management. I am currently the state program manager for the Chicago, IL based non-profit National Able Network overseeing the Senior Community Employment Service program, a workforce training program for low income seniors 55 and better. I manage a team of 8 across the state of Iowa.

Amy Shriver, MD

Reach Out And Read Iowa Medical Director

Amy Shriver, MD, has served as Reach Out and Read Iowa Medical Director since 2013. She is a general pediatrician at the Blank Children's Pediatric Clinic in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Shriver completed medical school at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in 2004. Her pediatric residency training as well as a Chief Residency were completed at the University of Colorado at the Children's Hospital of Denver. Upon her residency graduation, she became the medical director for Reach Out and Read at the Child Health Clinic in Denver. In addition, she spent two years as the Pediatric Residency Advocacy Director for the University of Colorado prior to moving to Des Moines in 2010. Dr. Shriver is passionate about educating future physicians and is an adjunct professor for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa. She assists the Blank Pediatric Residency program with advocacy education and has received numerous grants supporting pediatric advocacy initiatives. She enjoys being active in the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is currently the chapter's grant facilitator for the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) program. With two young children of her own, she is passionate about early childhood brain development.

Julie Thelen, CPA

Reach Out and Read Iowa Treasurer

Julie Thelen is a CPA with Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa. She has worked in Financial Controls Management there for just over 4 years. Prior to that, she held a position with a small crop insurance company called Farmers Mutual Hail, where she headed up the Enterprise Risk Management program. From 2006 to 2010, she worked in Public Accounting for Ernst & Young (EY) and McGladrey (RSM) where she gained extensive knowledge while auditing insurance companies across the US. In her spare time, Julie has enjoyed volunteering for the Iowa Society of CPAs on a Committee called Financial Literacy, where she was chair for five years. This program teaches basic money concepts to Kindergarteners about how to Save, Share, and Spent Smart. She also works with a highs school program that teaches students about budgeting, debt, credit scores, and making good financial decisions throughout a lifetime. Julie has served on the Board of Directors for the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association (IASA) for seven years. This organization focuses on providing relevant, inexpensive continuing education for CPAs in the insurance industry. In remaining spare time, Julie enjoys spoiling her niece and nephews, playing volleyball, golfing, and travelling.

Paige Thorson, ESQ.

Reach Out and Read Iowa Secretary

Paige Thorson is an attorney at Nyemaster Goode, PC in Des Moines, Iowa. Her practice is concentrated on legislative representation and government relations. Paige obtained her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Iowa State University and her Juris Doctorate from Drake University College of Law. Prior to joining Nyemaster Goode, she worked for the Department on Aging and the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, and most recently as the Policy Advisor for the Department of Human Services. Paige lives in Norwalk, Iowa with her Husband, Ryan, and twin daughters, Ella and Sadie.
REACH OUT AND READ IOWA
BOARD MEMBERS

Kandace Bass, MD


Kandace Bass, MD, is a general pediatrician who works for Mercy Clinics in Indianola, Iowa. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics in Kansas City, MO. Kandace moved to the Des Moines area in July 2016. She is the medical consultant for the Mercy Central Clinic Reach Out and Read program. Kandace is a strong believer in the importance of reading to children to promote their brain development. Both Kandace and her husband Peter love to read. While she does not yet have children of her own yet, Dr. Bass enjoys reading to her nieces and nephew.

Juan Carlos Cadenillas, MS, MPH

Polk County Health Department, Des Moines, Iowa

Originally from Lima (Peru), Juan C. Cadenillas moved to Iowa 10 years ago. He obtained Master level degrees at Iowa State University and Des Moines University. His professional experience includes working in several communication projects, including private, non-profit, and government programs. He is currently working at the Polk County Health Department as a Public Health Planner coordinating the community engagement activities for a landmark study in children’s health and development called “National Children’s Study.” He is married to Mindy Euken Cadenillas and they live in Des Moines. Together are very active members in the community by serving and volunteering with various local community organizations.

Jamie Christophersen, MD

Pediatrician, Bettendorf, Iowa

Lindsay Grow, Ed. D.

Asst. Professor of Education, Grandview University, Des Moines, IA

Dr. Grow is an Assistant Professor of Education at Grand View University in Des Moines. She is passionate about literacy and helping kids learn to read from a young age. She has a B.A. in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa with endorsements in reading, English/language arts, and music. She did her Master’s and Doctorate work at the University of Kentucky in the field of literacy. Dr. Grow enjoys reading books with her two young kids, photography, cooking with her husband, traveling, and playing the violin at church.

Lana Herteen

Community Child Advocate, Blank Children's Hospital

Lana Herteen is employed as a Forensic Interviewer with the Regional Child Protection Center – Blank Children’s Hospital. Lana has been requested to provide expert witness testimony on child sexual abuse dynamics in multiple criminal cases. Lana is licensed as a mental health counselor with a BS in psychology from Iowa State University and a MA degree in psychology from Indiana State University. Lana has 16 years clinical experience working with children, adolescents, and families focusing on child abuse and trauma response. She actively participates in case review as a member of Polk County’s Child Sexual Abuse Resource Coalition (CSARC) and is a resource to the community providing training to professionals and educational presentations to the public. Lana is a member of the Trauma Informed Care Learning Collaborative.

David Hildah


David Hildahl is communications coordinator at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. He has 20 years of copywriting experience at a tech company and two ad agencies. He has served on the boards of the American Advertising Federation-Cedar Valley, Girl Scouts of Conestoga Council, and Waterloo Schools Foundation. He was two-term board president of the Waterloo Community Playhouse/Black Hawk Children's Theatre. David lives with his wife and four-year-old daughter in West Des Moines. He likes music, concerts, nonfiction, and coffee. He's also on the quest to find the perfect scone.

Carolyn Jons

Raising Readers, Rotary District 6000, Ames, Iowa

Carolyn Jons is a Sac City native and received degrees from Grinnell College and the University of Iowa. She and her husband Chuck live in Ames. They have three married children and five grandchildren. Carolyn's education and community service reflect her interests in children and education. She is certified as a trainer by Baby TALK in Decatur, IL, and as a coach by the Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. She served 15 years on the Ames School Board and 22 years with Iowa Association of School Boards. Carolyn helped establish Raising Readers in Story County, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase early language and literacy development in children between birth and 8 years of age and to nurture healthy parent-child relationships. In 2006 Raising Readers and McFarland Clinic Pediatrics established the first Reach Out and Read site in Story County. In October 2009 Story County received the Bookend Community Award from the Reach Out and Read National Center for having 100% of primary providers participating in ROR. Carolyn is a member of Ames Morning Rotary Club. She has chaired the Rotary District 6000 Literacy Committee and the Rotarians for Reach Out and Read campaign.

Susan Judkins


Susan Judkins is a Vinton native, Clive city council member, community developer and water resources advocate who serves as the Client Development Director RDG Planning & Design. She has promoted education and leadership development for youth and adults through volunteer work with libraries, service on the Indianola School Board, chairing the Leadership Iowa Board of Governors, founding the Warren County Leadership Institute, and leading Junior Achievement education modules in elementary classrooms in Indianola and Des Moines.

Lisa Judge, CFE, FCLS


I am an Investigator with EMC Insurance Companies. Prior to starting with EMC in February of 2016, I was the Investigations Analyst for the Urbandale Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division for five years. I attended Iowa State University where I double majored in Criminal Justice and Sociology. I have a passion for learning, and investigating, and solving puzzles and problems to find answers and solutions. I am originally from Mason City, Iowa, and have lived in the Des Moines area for eight years. I absolutely love this city and everything it has to offer. I am also the mother of a beautiful, intelligent, spunky nine year old daughter, Sophia. I am a voracious reader, and have tried to instill my passion for reading in my daughter since before she was born. As soon as I found out I was going to be blessed with her in my life, I began reading to her - everything from the daily newspaper, to the textbooks I was studying as I finished my last year in college, to the magazines I picked up in the waiting room of doctor's offices. I am blessed with a skilled, above-average reader who loves to get lost in books as much as I do. I look forward to working with Reach Out and Read to impart the gift of reading on Iowa's children.

Rizwan Shah, MD


Dr. Shah recently served as Chair of the Reach Out and Read Iowa Advisory Committee, from FY14 - FY17. She helped launch the Reach Out and Read Coalition during her tenure as President of the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Shah recently retired from her post as the Medical Director of Blank's Regional Child Protection Center where she had the opportunity to teach child abuse training programs both in Iowa and nationally, as well as clinical teaching in medical schools and hospitals. In retrospect, it was fortunate that when Rizwan Shah came to the United States from Pakistan in 1968, she found no openings in her medical specialty at the time--surgery. So she took a hiatus from medicine to stay home and raise a family with her husband. After a few years, she returned to medicine and switched fields to specialize in pediatrics. Nominated by Rep. Leonard L. Boswell (D-IA-3), Shah came to Des Moines in 1974 for a residency in pediatrics at the Blank Children's Hospital. While practicing in Iowa in 1981, she became aware of an epidemic sweeping the country at the time that was especially devastating to children but that few would acknowledge-crack cocaine. By 1989, she was devoting herself full-time to caring for abused children victimized by their parents' or caregiver's crack abuse. She has taught widely on the linkage between child abuse and drug abuse and was one of a group of physicians to receive the Award of Merit from the Iowa Medical Society in 1999 for helping to facilitate the establishment of children's health programs in Iowa. She has served as Co-Chair of the Iowa Medical Society's Public Health Committee.

Amy Shriver, MD

Reach Out And Read Iowa Medical Director

Amy Shriver, MD, has served as Reach Out and Read Iowa Medical Director since 2013. She is a general pediatrician at the Blank Children's Pediatric Clinic in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Shriver completed medical school at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in 2004. Her pediatric residency training as well as a Chief Residency were completed at the University of Colorado at the Children's Hospital of Denver. Upon her residency graduation, she became the medical director for Reach Out and Read at the Child Health Clinic in Denver. In addition, she spent two years as the Pediatric Residency Advocacy Director for the University of Colorado prior to moving to Des Moines in 2010. Dr. Shriver is passionate about educating future physicians and is an adjunct professor for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa. She assists the Blank Pediatric Residency program with advocacy education and has received numerous grants supporting pediatric advocacy initiatives. She enjoys being active in the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is currently the chapter's grant facilitator for the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) program. With two young children of her own, she is passionate about early childhood brain development.