Meet the Team of Soulistic Hospice

Our dedicated hospice team works together with a high level of cooperation, coordination, and communication, serving our patients and families with the utmost respect and consideration for every individual involved. We are more than just co-workers; we are a family and a team committed to serving the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those with life-limiting illness. Some of our primary team members are introduced below.

Marayeh Cunningham, Ph.D.

Executive Director
Clinical Psychologist
Interfaith Minister

Dr. Cunningham is a Clinical Psychologist who has over 40 years’ experience in health care management. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, and was a professor and psychotherapist at U.C. Berkeley. She was in private practice in San Francisco and La Jolla, California, as well as Sedona, Arizona before moving to the Tucson area, where she brought together a team of highly qualified, caring professionals and volunteers whose shared mission is to provide the highest quality of care to everyone. In addition to being the Executive Director of Soulistic Hospice, she is a published author, educator, and speaker.

Dr. Nelson Sandoval, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Nelson Sandoval, MD graduated from Universidad Autonoma De Guadalajara, Facultad De Medicina and specializes in internal medicine. He has been serving the Tucson community since completing a residency with the Tucson Hospital Medical Education Program. Dr. Sandoval joined the Soulistic team in 2018 and is fluent in Spanish.

Centria Catherine J. Lilly

Board of Directors
Chief Financial Officer

Centria has over two-decades experience in nonprofit financial management where she has worked as chief financial officer of Global Community Communications Alliance and as a liaison administrator with numerous affiliated nonprofit organizations. Prior to her role as CFO with Soulistic Hospice, Centria served as Executive Director of International and Local Adoptions in Hawaii, as a Guardian Ad Litem advocating the rights of children removed from their homes due to neglect and abuse, and as a counselor to teen parents. She is committed to ensuring a balanced portfolio of growth initiatives and maintaining high levels of integrity and transparency.

Aladi Goodman, RN

Director of Clinical Services
Interfaith Minister

Aladi was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand and received her diploma as a comprehensive registered nurse in 1993. Her nursing experience encompasses a variety of healthcare fields including psychiatric, post-partum, geriatric, orthopedic, rehabilitation, home health, and hospice care. Aladi is an educator in her field of expertise to both public and professional audiences. She is intuitive and sensitive to both patients and their loved ones and has dedicated her life to serving humanity. Aladi is also a musician and artist and has a love of animals.

Deb Ohman, RN

Clinical Team Manager

Deb is the Clinical Team Manager for Soulistic. She is from Minnesota. She says, "It’s very cold there!  That’s why Tucson is now my home.  I love the sunshine and people of Tucson, and in particular the mountains!" Deb started as a Nursing Assistant and has been an RN for 36 years. She has hospital, nursing home and home care experience in addition to Hospice. Deb also worked for an insurance company as an RNCM and Patient Advocate. Aside from her Nursing degree, Deb has a BA in Organizational Management and Communication. Deb enjoys sports of all kinds. She played volleyball for 20 years.

Cristina Martinez, RN

RN Case Manager

Cristina was born and raised in Tucson. She finds nursing to be a deep spiritual calling, and a part of the reason she is on this earth. Providing care for vulnerable populations is something she holds dear to her heart. Caring for others is very humbling and she loves this work tremendously. In her free time she loves to be with her family, participate in her churches events, cycle, paint, read, do arts and crafts, and loves HIIT exercise too. She is a proud mother of three beautiful boys and wife to an amazing man. She feels very blessed and driven to be part of a team, where your care is the focal point and our utmost priority. 

Yvonne Nowak, RN

RN Case Manager

Yvonne was born in Tucson, raised in Amado, and currently resides in Sahuarita. She started as a CNA, then worked as a PCT at Flagstaff Medical Center in the ICU and St. Joseph's Hospital. She finished her nursing degree in 2011 and worked at Banner University Medical Center. Yvonne spends her free time reading, crocheting, and doing various family activities with her husband and son.

Shannon Watanabe, RN

RN Case Manager

Shannon was born on Oahu and raised on the Big Island of Hawai'I. She has worked in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as the RN Treatment Advocate for the Hawai'I Island HIV/AIDS Foundation, as a Resident Care Director, and as a Clinical Care Manager. While Shannon is an RN Case Manager for Soulistic, and she enjoys drag racing (with their own family race team), dancing, karaoke and travelling. Shannon says, "It was through my personal experiences with various hospices for family members, particularly my father, that I’ve always had a special place in my heart for people who worked in Hospice."

Julie McKee, RN

CNA Supervisor

Julie is from St. Louis, Missouri and has lived in Texas, South Carolina, New Mexico and Wyoming. She has worked as an RN in hospital Rehab and Psychiatry, then in Geriatrics as an RN Case Manager, in Admissions and Marketing. Julie serves as a Community Care Coordinator, ensuring that our patients are happy and have what they need. She is also the CNA supervisor and scheduler. Things that lie close to her heart are family, music, exercise, reading, and spiritual growth. Working in the hospice field is where her heart is, as a nurse.

Tarenta Baldeschi

Spiritual Care Coordinator

Tarenta is from Bamberg (Bavaria), Germany and Livorno (Tuscany), Italy.  He has experience in stone restoration (churches, castles and old estates), being a teacher of homesteading, and as master gardener. He completed high school in Germany, then a 3 year apprenticeship for stone-masonry and sculpting.  Tarenta is an avid reader of spiritual history and gardening/farming. He loves to cook and sing in choir, and is interested in all cultures. Tarenta is family oriented and has 4 kids. He says, "My passion is spiritual culture building to change the paradigm from taking care of yourself only to care about your family, neighbors and the world at large."

LeAnn Swinehart, RN, BSN, MNA

Compliance Officer

Born in Nebraska but raised in Tucson Arizona, LeAnn considers herself a native of Tucson. Early in life she was called to a career in nursing, volunteering in hospitals during the summer months while completing a high-school training program to become a nursing assistant. While working and raising a family she finished both a BSN and Masters in Nursing Administration. LeAnn has worked as both an Administrator and Director of Nursing over several years in both acute and sub-acute care. With the death of her grandmother and father, LeAnn was drawn to a career in hospice working first as an RN Case Manager.

Sandy Lopez

Human Resources

Sandy was born and raised in sunny Nogales, Arizona. She was a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant from 2008-2013. Sandy currently wears many hats for Soulistic, including Human Resources, and Accounting and Billing. She really loves her job and spending time with her family, travelling, and watching movies. Her four children enjoy dancing, karaoke, as well as taking family photos. Sandy is a big fan of baseball and the Diamondbacks. Her focus is on getting her children through school and on to college.

Pamela Gadziala, BSN

RN Case Manager

Pamela is from Rancho Cucamonga in Southern CA, and military life has moved her around a lot. Her background includes Air Force nurse, Internal Medicine Clinics, Insurance and Home Health. Pam says, "I am leading a group of youth and adults to World Youth Day in Panama in 2019.  My prayer every day is that of St Francis: to give to others by showing love. I enjoy hospice because it allows me to really know my patients and families and promote the deeper healing of mind and spirit when the body is failing."

Beyana Grace, RN, BSN

Lead Field RN Case Manager

Beyana graduated with a BSRN from Arizona State University, Tempe in 1980. She has worked in women’s health and geriatrics, and did graduate studies in Somatic Psychology/Dance Movement Therapy at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She brings warmth and comfort to those she cares for. Beyana is also a HeartMath instructor and is dedicated to serving others with the utmost respect and compassion. In her life beyond nursing, Beyana enjoys creative dance movement, gardening and spending time with family and friends.

Lah-May Bremer

Financial Administrator
IT Administrator
Interfaith Minister

Lah-May graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Business Administration, specializing in Business Computer Methods. She joined Soulistic Medical Institute and Soulistic Hospice in 2009 and is the Financial Administrator, IT Administrator, and HIPAA Security Officer. She lives a sustainable lifestyle which complements the technical aspects of her job and better enables her to serve the caregivers and staff.

Ele-Elleid Kay

Manager of Volunteer Services

Ele-Elleid’'s passion is helping people, which she does every day while serving the patients of Soulistic Hospice and Soulistic Medical Institute. Ele-Elleid’'s previous experiences in serving Native American tribes in Wisconsin, the homeless, the incarcerated, the abused, and the addicted, have given her a strong conviction to help people regardless of their life circumstances.

Karene Bennett, MUP

Spiritual Care Coordinator

Karene is committed to helping to make this a better world; one of compassion and humanity. Having a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and over 30 years of experience in dozens of human service programs, Karene’s sincere desire to help people, presented him with opportunities in grant-writing, planning, and volunteer coordinating for public, private and non-profit corporations. Karene also spent several years in the Peace Corps, serving in South America, where his bilingual abilities and cultural insights have resurfaced to complement his natural ability to communicate with people in all walks of life.

DaMaeAn Steinhardt

Spiritual Care Coordinator

DaMaeAn grew up in New York City and graduated from Duke University with a degree in English. He has a love for all people and is dedicated to serving others and creating a harmonious world where all citizens thrive and where there exists true peace and justice. He has worked with professional sports teams and teaches children physical education, including coaching youth baseball and soccer for many years. He is the Program Director for a community radio station in Tucson called KVAN Visionary Radio, 91.7 FM, DaMaeAn is an ordained minister and works with the Spiritual Care Team at Soulistic Hospice providing patients and their families spiritual care and support.

AhNuit Nelson, BS

Spiritual Care Coordinator
Interfaith Minister

AhNuit became an ordained minister in 1996 and joined Soulistic Hospice as a Chaplain in 2009, bringing more than three decades of experience in education and volunteer services. He served in the U.S. Army during the revolutionary uprising in the Dominican Republic and has taught Special Education for Children with Behavioral Difficulties. AhNuit has dedicated hundreds of hours in various areas of humanitarian outreach and is sensitive to the needs of others during difficult life transitions. He has an instant camaraderie with patients, especially military veterans and their families.

AsCenTae Holmes, BS

Manager of Admissions
Interfaith Minister

AsCenTae Holmes has more than 20 years of experience as an administrative assistant including at a top ten University Health Sciences department and naturopathic medicine office in Wisconsin, as well as a nonprofit immigration and family law office in Arizona. She received her Associate of Arts Executive Secretarial degree from Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin and a B.S. teaching degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. As the Manager of Admissions, she gives support to not only our staff but also to our patients, their families and their loved ones, and does so with compassion and respect for their unique personal perspective.

Auneea White

Certified Nursing Assistant

Auneea was born and raised in New Zealand and moved to Arizona in 1996. She became a Certified Nursing Assistant in 2009 and immediately felt drawn to hospice care. Prior to becoming a CNA, Auneea had already provided in-home care to elderly people and particularly enjoyed the personal relationships she established with patients and their families. Auneea is always willing to go the extra mile to bring comfort and compassion to others. Auneea is also a gifted artist, and enjoys gardening.

Monica Felix

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Originally from Phoenix, Monica has been caregiving for 14 yrs. She has a charming, gentle personality. She loves to spend time and talk with Seniors, which turned into the career of caregiving. She has experience working in a large senior facility in Green Valley and recently worked for past 3 years with Soulistic.  On her time off she loves to spend time with her 2 children.

BeSaRai Ersek

Administrative Assistant

BeSaRai grew up in Maine, where she had experiences working on organic farms, striving to learn how grow food that is nourishing for the body, mind and spirit, as well as for the earth. She did undergraduate studies in religion at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. During this time she volunteered regularly at a nursing home, visiting patients—an experience that was meaningful for her and those she served. BeSaRai loves to serve people, from small babies to elderly people; she tries to bring hope and joy to the world. She recently moved to Arizona and joined the Soulistic Hospice staff. She enjoys cooking, vegetable gardening, hiking, and writing.

NiCieen Nelson, BS

Medical Records/Volunteer and Bereavement Coordination Assistant

NiCieen joined Soulistic Hospice in 2010 and works in Medical Records. She grew up on a farm in North Dakota and received her BS degree from North Dakota State University. After graduation, she joined the Vista Program, where she set up the math and science curriculum for Sitting Bull College. Later, she taught math and science for over 30 years in both public and private schools, including 15 years teaching on Native American Indian Reservations in the Dakotas. She moved to Arizona with her husband, Ah’Nuit, in 1994 and shares his passion for voluntary humanitarian service to others. NiCieen’s love of facts and figures is a rare and much-appreciated gift to our Medical Records department.

Blue Evening Star Vasvary

Music Therapist

Blue Evening Star is dedicated to serving humanity. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she has been a volunteer in activism, healing services, and musical and ceremonial events for 40 years. As a music therapist in Soulistic Hospice, she aspires to bring a sense of peace and caring to those she has the honor of ministering to. Blue Evening Star is a published author and musician who enjoys reading, playing music with friends, and being with children for leisure and relaxation. 

Jahlandon Viviano, BA

Social Worker

Originally from Greater Philadelphia, Jahlandon is a hospice Social Worker. He got his degree from Penn State - Abington. He has worked with Habitat For Humanity and as an agricultural volunteer in Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia, and California as well as working in Philadelphia for developmentally disabled adults, and in a respite program for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. Jahlandon enjoys nature, sports, and philosophy.

David Workman, NP

Nurse Practitioner

David was born in Montana but has lived all over the US and abroad in England, Scotland, and Germany. He background includes Retired Naval Officer, Nurse Practitioner, and Family Practice. David does in home visits to re-certify our hospice patients. Says, David, "I enjoy family activities with my wife, children and grandchildren. I work with wood with my most recent project of building a motor skiff. E-bike touring is my current passion. 

David Rivera, MSW

Social Worker

David is from Silver City, New Mexico. He has been in social work for 5 years, using his Bachelors and Masters of Social Work to focus on therapy with various populations. David provides resources to meet both the patients' and families' needs to ensure that the end of life journey can be completed with comfort, care, and dignity. His hobbies include traveling, outdoor activities, and exploring.

Carmen Cota

Patient Services Coordinator

Carmen is from Nogales, Arizona. She is a Patient Care Coordinator for Soulistic, helping nurses, staff, patients and families with many things. Carmen feels the purpose of life is to serve, and to show compassion and help others. She loves cooking, baseball, and gardening. Carmen loves working with such a great team!

Sandra Lanpher, RN

RN Case Manager

Sandra is a Registered Nurse Case Manager and truly enjoys going into patients' homes and serving them. Sandra spent her formative years in the desert southeast of New Mexico then in Amarillo, TX where enjoyed hiking in Palo Duro Canyon. She graduated from Amarillo College of Nursing, going on to serve people on medical and surgical floors before moving on to intensive care, as well as working in psychiatric and rehabilitative nursing. For fun Sandra likes to read, go out with friends, have lively conversations and swim. Her favorite time of year is Spring. She often spends a weekend at the ballparks enjoying spring training.