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.

Centria Catherine J. Lilly

Board of Directors
Chief Financial Officer
Interfaith Minister

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.

Dr. Nelson Sandoval, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Nelson Sandoval, MD is from El Salvador. He 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.

Ala'Di Goodman, RN

Director of Clinical Services
Interfaith Minister

Ala'Di 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. Ala'Di 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. Ala'Di is also a musician and artist and has a love of animals.

Marie Pond, FNP-C, ACHPN 

Nurse Practitioner

Marie began in hospice care in the 1990s. Her experiences cover the spectrum of life from birth until death. She is an Advance Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse, an ELNEC Pediatric Palliative Care trainer, and an ELNEC Critical Care and Core Curriculum trainer. Marie has completed training to become a Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist and Certified Infant Massage Teacher. She loves hospice for its team approach and supporting what matters to patients and families during their journey at the end of life. ​Marie enjoys outdoor activities like camping, fishing, riding Harley Davidson motorcycles, and is also involved in her church's motorcycle ministry. 

Beyana Grace, RN

Clinical Coordinator
Interfaith Minister

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.

Cristina Martinez, RN

Clinical Coordinator

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. Cristina feels very blessed and driven to be part of a team, where your care is the focal point and our utmost priority. In her free time she loves to be with her family, participate in her church's 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. 

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.

AsCenTae Holmes, BS

Tubac Office Manager
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.

Ausmaminae Wonson

Tucson Office Manager
Interfaith Minister

Ausmaminae is from Australia and immigrated to Arizona 26 years ago. She has a professional background in hospitality, marketing, and public relations, with a degree in the Fine Arts. Ausmaminae is the Tucson office manager, performing a variety of clerical and administrative tasks, coordinating with the clinical team manager and director, as well as coordinating company events. Ausmaminae says that working for Soulistic has been the most rewarding vocation she has experienced to date. It is not just a job, but a calling where she is daily inspired by the all the clinicians that are dedicated to serving our patients and their families. She is a mother, singer, poet, cook, painter and stain glass mosaic artist. 

Brian Martinez

Community Care Coordinator

Originally from Southern California, Brian has lived in Tucson for the last 16 years. He’s been in the medical industry approximately 14 years, first as a clinician then in medical marketing. Brian serves as a bilingual liaison between referral sources and families, to make sure every family has the best possible experience and understanding of what hospice services entail. Brian fell in love with hospice when his grandmother received services. Brian’s hobbies revolve around spending time with his family. Together they enjoy going to the gym, target practice, fishing and golfing.

Julie McKee, LPN

CNA Supervisor
Community Care Coordinator 

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. Working in the hospice field is where her heart is, as a nurse. Things that lie close to her heart are family, music, exercise, reading, and spiritual growth.

April Gonzalez, MSW

Social Worker

A native Tucsonan, April has worked in social services for over 15 years, achieving a Master's in Social Work. April provides emotional support to patients and families we at Soulistic serve, as well as helping them with community resources, financial issues, long term care needs, private care-giver needs and residential changes. April enjoys taking long walks with her beloved German Sheppard and going swimming at the local pool.

Tarenta Baldeschi

Spiritual Care Coordinator
Interfaith Minister

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

Karene Bennett, MUP

Spiritual Care Coordinator
Interfaith Minister

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.

Ah'Nuit Nelson, BS

Spiritual Care Coordinator
Interfaith Minister

Ah'Nuit 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. Ah'Nuit 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.

Penelope Getman-Descant, RN

Clinical Educator
Hospice Nurse

Penelope was born in Ohio and has lived in New Orleans and Colorado. She was a massage therapist for 15 years and then had a calling to go into nursing. She became a medical/surgical nurse and a traveling nurse, then landed in Tucson to pursue her calling in hospice. Penelope enjoys the one to one time with this population of patients and their families; she feels it’s an honor to assist with this part of life’s journey. She and her husband enjoy hiking, exploring new places and old favorites, particularly the art, cuisine and people (not to mention the roadside attractions). Penelope has a love of animals, and enjoys hot springs and aromatherapy.

Ele-Elleid Kay

Volunteer Coordinator

Ele-Elleid's passion is helping people, which she does every day while serving the patients of Soulistic Hospice. 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.

NiCieen Nelson, BS

Administrative Assistant
Interfaith Minister

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.

Jahlandon Viviano, BA

Project Coordinator

Originally from Greater Philadelphia, Jahlandon started in hospice as a Social Worker then  moved to admin support as a Project Coordinator. 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.

Yvonne Nowak, RN

Hospice Nurse

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.

Veronica Alvarez, LPN

Hospice Nurse

Veronica has lived in Sahuarita her entire life and attended Pima Community College.  She has worked as a private caregiver and in facilities, and always has had a passion for hospice. Veronica feels blessed to be able to care for people at the end of their life as they are preparing to embark on their next journey. Veronica loves working for Soulistic and with her coworkers. Veronica speaks both English and Spanish and enjoys reading, watching baseball, and family time.

Arlene Case, RN

Hospice Nurse

From Vancouver, Arlene has been in California since 1980 and moved to Green Valley, AZ in 2018 to be close to her sister. Arlene worked as a float nurse in Med-Surg and in a Special Care Nursery before becoming a Hospice nurse in 1980 when Medicare first came out with the Hospice Pilot Project. She has been a Case Manager, a Nursing Supervisor, a Facilities Liaison Nurse and the interim Hospice Director. She also ran a small rural Hospice in Northern California for 10 years. Arlene feels blessed to have found a career that is so inspirational and rewarding.

Camille Bonzani, RN

Hospice Nurse

Camille has spent most of her life in Tucson. She has been a Photography-Art Teacher, a Restauranteur, a Working Artist, a Community Coordinator, a Healthcare Worker, and a Hospice caregiver and nurse for 17 years. As an Admissions Nurse, Camille conveys the beautiful possibilities of walking towards the end of life with awareness and love. As an on-call Nurse, Camille also responds to patient and caregiver concerns, questions and difficulties. Camille enjoys gardening, outings to the dog park, dining with friends, and hosting Airbnb guests.

Sylvia Yepiz, LPN

Hospice Nurse

Sylvia is from the border town of Nogales, Arizona and has lived in Santa Cruz County her entire life. Her medical career as an LPN has touched several different facets of nursing, including clinics, home health, geriatrics and prisons. Sylvia is a longstanding member of the Soulistic Hospice team and loves to serve our patients by providing the best care possible. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and fills a valuable role in caring for our Spanish speaking patients and families. In her free time, Sylvia enjoys reading, listening to music, travelling, and being with her family.

Janette Velarde, LPN

Hospice Nurse

Jannette (Jenna), is originally from Tucson, Arizona. She has been an LPN for 12 years. Prior to joining the Soulistic Hospice team, she spent the majority of her Nursing career working with youth at a Juvenile Detention Center. Jenna also worked at Casa De Los Ninos helping newborns and children in need. It was here that she learned of the Nurtured Heart Approach, which she found life changing. Jenna speaks both Spanish and English, and shares her caring approach with those that she serves. She enjoys music, going to concerts, dancing, travelling and spending time with her family.

Susan Velarde, LPN

Hospice Nurse

Susan is from Florida and California. She moved to Tucson 20 years ago and has been in health care most of her adult life. Susan has a background in Phlebotomy, Microbiology, and as a nurse in skilled nursing facilities, home care, schools and with special needs children. Hospice was always a passion she wanted to pursue, and with Soulistic, Susan is learning this beautiful and rewarding field. She feels very honored to be a part of this great nursing team and says that she has never worked with such amazing and dedicated nurses! Susan has three children at home, and loves to sing, dance and be in nature.

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.

Lorena Chavez

Licensed Nursing Assistant

Lorena went to Pima Community College to become a Medical Assistant and LNA, where she discovered her passion for geriatrics. Lorena has 10 years’ experience with Hospice, and has been in the medical field for 30 years. She has worked in a variety of areas, from restorative therapy to owning her own Assisted Living Home. Lorena has a love and passion for hospice and feels that it was God's calling to her. Lorena says that her patients are one of her greatest teachers and motivators. She loves to listen, sing, dance and have positive interactions with her patients, leaving them with a smile.

Monica Felix

Certified Nursing Assistant

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

Patricia Alegria

Certified Nursing Assistant

Patricia is from Nogales, Mexico. She came to the USA in 1987. Patricia has been a CNA for 30 years, serving the elderly and at Easterseals Foundation with special needs children. She became a CNA through Pima Community College. Patricia loves hospice and says, "I give my patients a high quality of care, compassion, as well emotional support for their loved ones.” Her dream is to one day be able to open her own home for those who need care. Patricia enjoys spending time with her 2 sons and 4 grandchildren. 

Maria Sanchez

Certified Nursing Assistant

Maria was born in Mexico, where she once worked as a police officer. When she moved to the USA, she wanted a change of direction, and went to Pima College to become a CNA. Maria loves to work with hospice patients, and feels it is a special calling to be able to give them love and care. Maria is married with 2 grown sons that are both RNs. Maria enjoys going to the gym and loves to read. She is involved in her church and does counseling for the youth in her church.

Nydia Meza

Certified Nursing Assistant

Nydia was born in Mexico. She has been a CNA for twelve years. She is also a licensed Cosmetologist and works at a salon. Nydia enhances our patients' lives by using her all her skills, which includes giving them haircuts, and making them feel good about themselves at this vulnerable time of life. Nydia has a husband and three children at home. She is very involved with her family and loves to cook.

Laura Rivera

Certified Nursing Assistant

Laura was born in Nogales, Mexico. Before she started working as a CNA, Laura raised her family at home. She graduated from Pima Community College where she got both her Commercial Driving License and Caregiving Institute Certificate. Laura feels blessed to be able to bring joy to the lives of our patients. She says that she loves the hospice field because she gets to meet many different kinds of people, and can even become part of their families. Laura loves listening to music. 

Marisela Rivera

Certified Nursing Assistant

Marisela was born in Mexico. She completed all of her schooling in the US. Marisela was a caregiver for six years before she became a CNA. She takes care of patients in our southern area of Santa Cruz County. Marisela cared for her three children at home before she began caregiving. She loves to work with hospice patients and she sometimes feels like she is one of the family. Marisela enjoys spending time with her family and traveling to new places. 

Christelle Castiano

Certified Nursing Assistant

Christelle was born in New Mexico and moved to Flagstaff to attend Northern AZ University.  When she was unable to attend her grandfather’s passing, she heard how special hospice care was from her family was and decided that this was where she wanted to serve. Christelle was taught from a young age of the importance of taking care of her elders.  This is an integral part of her Native American culture. She always thinks of, and treats her patients as if they were her own grandparents.  Christelle enjoys reading, as well as going to concerts and Broadway plays in Tucson. She is married and is very committed to her family.

Diana Lopez

Licensed Nursing Assistant

Diana has been a caregiver in Nogales, AZ. She graduated from Nogales High School, then went to CGTI (Caregiver Training Institute) and got her LNA. When not serving our patients, Diana enjoys reading, writing, sports, art, and music. She loves to take her daughter to swimming and ballet classes, travelling with her husband, and helping take care of her mother.

Faith Gittins

Licensed Nursing Assistant

Faith is originally from Colorado and moved to Arizona when she was in the 3rd grade. She has been an LNA for 15 years and feels blessed to serve hospice patients and to be able to walk into their homes and give them the best care she can provide. All of her patients look forward to her visits and the special care she provides. Faith says she has never worked for a better hospice company and finds Soulistic Hospice to be extremely loving, organized and truly caring of every patient and employee. Faith has four beautiful daughters and together they enjoy nature, sports, visits with family, and movie nights with popcorn.

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 Certified Nursing Assistant from 2008-2013. Sandy currently wears many hats for Soulistic, including Human Resources, as well as 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. Her focus is on getting her children through school and on to college. Sandy is a big fan of baseball and the Diamondbacks.

BeSaRai Ersek

Administrative Assistant

BeSaRai grew up in Maine, where she had experiences working on organic farms, striving to learn how to 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.

Gloria Montano

Patient Services Coordinator

Gloria was born in Stamford, CT and raised in Tucson. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and a background as a Pharmacy Technician. Gloria serves as a Patient Services Coordinator and an Intake/Admin Assistant. Gloria enjoys working in the hospice field primarily because she feels that she has a part in helping patients and their families get the support of the hospice team during a very difficult time in their lives. Gloria is in a softball family, so most of her weekends are spent on the ballfield, either in town or the surrounding towns in Arizona. When at home, she enjoy spending time with her six grandchildren.