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Board, Staff & Committees

Toddler playing with small fountains

The American Academy of Pediatrics – Colorado Chapter is governed by volunteer officers, a board of directors, advisors and is supported by a part-time executive director and lobbying team.

Executive Committee

Stacy Parra, MD, FAAP – Chapter President
2024-2026
Dr. Parra is a general pediatrician at Pediatrics 5280 in Centennial/Castle Rock. She currently serves as AAP Colorado’s Vice President. She has a keen interest in preventive medicine, including immunization and early childhood intervention. Stacy has been involved in AAP-CO through the Legislation and Policy Committee and the Membership Committee. On behalf of the Chapter, she has testified at the State Capitol, been a media spokesperson, and has served on the Colorado Medical Society Committee on Legislation. Stacy loves to hike, cook, read, and spend time with her husband and dog.

David Higgins, MD, MPH, FAAP – Chapter Vice-President
2024-2026
Dr. Higgins is a Colorado-raised general pediatrician, public health and preventive medicine specialist, and pediatric health services researcher at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. After completing medical school at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, he completed post- doctoral training programs in pediatrics, public health, and general preventive medicine, including associate and chief residencies at the University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Colorado School of Public Health, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Higgins has experience as a private-practice community pediatrician, academic physician, health services researcher, public health advisor, and child health advocate, giving him a deep understanding of pediatric healthcare in Colorado. Outside work, you will find him exploring the Colorado outdoors with his wife and two wild children or coaching youth soccer.

Autumn Orser, MD,FAAP – Secretary
2024-2026
Dr. Orser is a board-certified pediatrician who has been serving the children and youth of Colorado Springs at Peak Vista Community Health Centers for over a decade. She’s an innovative physician executive who has extensive experience in value-based care, data-informed quality improvement, integrated medical, dental, and behavioral health, and team-based care. Autumn and her husband have two children and in their free time, they enjoy scuba diving, hobby farming, and traveling.

Kaitlin Whelan, MD, FAAP -Treasurer 
2024-2026
Dr. Whelan is a primary care pediatrician at the Child Health Clinic and previously worked in private practice for over 4 years at Peak Pediatrics. Kaitlin is interested in social determinants of health, preventive care, and mental health with the goal of improving access to care. She has been actively involved in AAP-CO and AAP nationally since her time in residency at Children’s Colorado. On behalf of the chapter, she has testified at the State Capitol, spoken to the media, and educates residents on the AAP and advocacy. Kaitlin has served as co-chair of the Youth Mental Health Action Day and is one of the AAP-CO Mental Health champions. In her free time, Kaitlin likes to travel, hike, snowboard, and listen to audiobooks.

Cassana “Cassie” Littler, MD, FAAP – Immediate Past President
2024-2026
Dr. Littler is a pediatrician with Denver Health. Prior to that, Cassie provided pediatric care to the families and children of Mesa County. Cassie received her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Colorado and completed her pediatric residency in Iowa. She served as the AAP CATCH Grant facilitator for the Colorado Chapter from 2011 to 2019. Cassie is a member of the Council on Community Pediatrics, the Section on Obesity and is an active member of the Chapter’s Legislation and Policy Committee.  Cassie enjoys camping, hiking, biking and spending time with her family.

Board

Zoe Bouchelle, MD, MSHP, FAAP
2024-2028
Dr. Bouchelle is a pediatric hospitalist and researcher at Denver Health and a faculty scholar at PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She is passionate about engaging in research and advocacy to address child poverty and improve income and social supports for families with children. She earned her MD from Harvard Medical School. She completed residency and chief residency at CHOP and completed the National Clinician Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Master of Science in Health Policy Research. Zoe is a co-founder and co-leader of the APA Special Interest Group on Social Determinants of Health. She is a member of the Johns Hopkins Guaranteed Income and Health Consortium and a co-investigator in the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Zoe loves to travel, cook, stand up paddleboard, and spend time with her four-year-old son Jack!

Nichole Feeney, MD, FAAP
2022-2026
Nichole Feeney, MD, FAAP is med/peds/hospice trained. Dr. Feeney completed her residency in Rochester, NY, including serving as a chief resident. From 2005 to 2014, Nichole had her own private practice in rural Tennessee. She now lives on the Western Slope where she continues to practice pediatrics and internal medicine and serves as the medicine department chair for the area hospital. By serving on AAP Colorado’s Board, Dr. Feeney hopes to improve Colorado both for children in general and also for her soon to be four teenagers who have benefited so much from this state.

Anne Frank, MD, FAAP
2024-2028
Dr. Frank is a Med/Peds outpatient physician at Denver Health for the last 10 years, practicing pediatrics at Eastside Pediatrics and assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at University of Colorado School of Medicine. She completed her medical degree from Indiana University and compelted a combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency at Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine. Anne is active in medical education at the undergraduate and graduate level, including working as a director of the Denver Health Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship and as co-director of the Clinical Pillar for CU School of medicine. Anne has additional interests in advocacy and care of children in Foster and Kinship care and treatment of substance use disorders. She works in the Connections for Kids Foster Care Clinic and acts as a Peds
Trans/GNB Health Champion and is a member of the AAP Council on Foster Care and Kinship Care and Section on LGBT Health and Wellness. Anne has been so thrilled to work with the CO-AAP Gun Violence Prevention group in secure storage projects and the Legislative Policy Committee providing testimony around a variety of topics including pediatric behavioral health. In her free time, Anne enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 children, and dog camping at new sites around Colorado. She is also an avid runner and loves to cross-country ski.

Brooke Geyer, DO, FAAP
2022-2026
Dr. Geyer is a Pediatric Palliative Care and Pediatric Hospitalist at Children’s Colorado in Colorado Springs. She has a strong interest in increasing access to palliative care and hospice services for children throughout Colorado. She has previous experience testifying at the State Capital in Missouri, where she previously practiced. She has advocated for children’s needs both in Missouri and Colorado at the state level. In addition to palliative care she is passionate about helping children access affordable and high quality preschool and childcare. When not working Brooke enjoys hiking, tending animals on her farm, gardening and traveling.

Amy Goldsein, MD, FAAP
2022-2026
Dr. Goldstein is an early career pediatric hospitalist who recently moved back to Colorado. She was a Boettcher Foundation Scholar and is committed to giving back to the Colorado community. She received her MD from Creighton University and did her pediatric residency in Omaha, NE. She has a passion for student and resident education. She also has a passion for advocating for mental health issues among children. She wants to improve the communication process between hospital admissions and primary pediatricians in order to provide more complete and holistic care for children. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and dog and re-exploring the Colorado outdoors!

Becca Hadeed, DO, MPH, FAAP
2024-2028
Dr. Hadeed serves as a pediatric hospitalist at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and Rose Medical Center and previously several years as an outpatient pediatrician. As a former NHSC Scholar, Dr. Hadeed is passionate about caring for the underserved pediatric populations in the Denver metro area. She completed medical school in Oregon, pediatric residency at UCSF, and a Master of Public Health at Boston University. Dr. Hadeed hopes to support the Colorado AAP chapter by bringing her experience and passion for pediatric immigrant health and the underserved pediatric population in Colorado, as well as education and background in research and international public health. She has worked in several countries, including China, Guatemala, Malawi, Peru, Argentina, and Zimbabwe. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, her husband who is also a pediatrician, and their two young children, and doing all of the outdoor activities in the mountains of Colorado.

Martin A. Koyle MD, MSc, MMgmt, MBA(cert.), FAAP, FACS, FRCSC, FRCS (Eng.), FAAP
2024-2028
Dr. Koyle served as Chief of Pediatric Urology at Colorado Children’s Hospital from 1989-2008 and was Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at UC School of Medicine. He continues to be active nationally in the AAP mentorship program, and is Vice Chair, AAP Section on Urology advocacy and Policy Committee. He also is the Pediatric Urology representative on the American College of Surgeons Pediatric Surgical Subcommittee for Global Health. He advocates for increased pediatric surgical subspecialty representation in AAP affairs and leadership positions at the national and regional levels. He has specific interests in education, quality improvement and patient safety, physician wellness, and healthcare policy.

Rusha Lev, MD, FAAP
2022-2026
Rusha Lev is a pediatrician at Denver Health where she has worked doing mostly outpatient pediatrics for 12 years. She completed medical school at the University of Colorado and pediatric residency at Oakland Children’s Hospital. She has particular interests in Health at Every Size (HAES) and advocacy work, especially around school and creating closer connections between educators and pediatricians. She has been active with AAP Colorado in their work with COVID and return to school and other matters related to mental health and universal pre-K. She is a member of the AAP Councils on School Health and Community Pediatrics and the Section on Obesity. She has 4 wonderful and crazy children and likes to spend time with them outdoors, as well as get out on her own on the trails of Golden, Colorado.

Mary MacLeod-Oguntuase, DO, FAAP
2022-2026
Dr. MacLeod-Oguntuase is a pediatric hospitalist serving northern Colorado. A graduate and former chief resident of Ascension St. John’s pediatric residency program in Detroit, and former active duty pediatrician with the U.S. Air Force, she has a passion for medically under-served pediatric populations, as well as medical education. She has served in pediatric advocacy groups associated with the Michigan AAP chapter, served in various administrative leadership roles at a military clinic, authored pediatric board preparatory curriculum, and has special interests in vaccine hesitancy and pediatric immigrant health. Now completing her MPH with Johns Hopkins University, she enjoys her free time with her husband, family and dogs, preferably outdoors, as well as running marathons and trail races.

David Markenson, MD, MBA, FAAP
2022-2026
Dr. Markenson currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for the American Red Cross. Prior to this role he worked in multiple roles with HealthOne as a physician executive including as CMO of Sky Ridge Medical Center. Dr. Markenson has served as President of the Colorado Medical Society (CMS) and has served on the CMS board. Dr. Markenson has held multiple positions with AAP national committees and continues to advise on Disaster Medicine issues. Dr. Markenson is fellowship trained in both Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and continues to work clinically in both areas. Dr. Markenson hopes to support the AAP chapter’s advocacy efforts by bringing his experience with governmental relations, not-for-profit management, organized medicine and advocacy.

Brianna Morgan, MD, MPH, FAAP
2024-2028
Dr. Morgan is a primary care pediatrician at Every Child Pediatrics in Thornton. She is originally from New York City and attended Stony Brook School of Medicine. She has been involved with the AAP Colorado since moving to Denver for residency at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She is an active member of the Legislative Policy Committee and will attend her third AAP Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. this spring. Her interests are in advancing immigrant health, access to care, and health justice. She spends her free time skiing, snowboarding, traveling to the ends of the earth, and frolicking outdoors with her dog.

Michelle Shiffman, MD, FAAP
2024-2028
Dr. Shiffman is a pediatrician at Denver Health. She completed her Medical School in Portland, Oregon and her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She is interested in early literacy and school readiness, child development, immunization policy, resident education and gender affirming care. She is involved with Reach Out and Read Colorado as the Medical Director for the last 3 years and has been an advocate for them as they applied for state funding through the legislative process as well as creating and implementing a resident and medical education program. She is bilingual and worked with Immunize Colorado and the CDPHE to discuss vaccine hesitancy and misinformation about childhood immunizations with parents in both English and Spanish. She is also a member of the AAP- CO Legislation and Policy Committee. In her free time she loves to travel, water and snow ski and spend time with her husband, 2 year old son and two dogs.

Amanda Stanton, DO
2024-2028
Dr. Stanton is a board certified pediatrician and sports medicine physician who works in both the clinic and hospital settings in southwest Colorado. She completed her training at Geisinger Health System in central Pennsylvania, including a year as chief resident. She has an avid love for outdoor sports and spends much of her time exploring the San Juan Mountains with her husband and son. She enjoys treating hip dysplasia and adolescent scoliosis and hopes to improve access for this care in southwest Colorado. She recognizes there are barriers to healthcare in rural locations and hopes to work with the AAP to improve health equity and accessibility for all of our children.

Michael Thwing, MD
2024-2028
Dr. Thwing is a pediatrician with Pediatric Partners of the Southwest in Durango. Prior to that, Michael worked overseas in Denmark for 3 years and in Vermont for 8 years. Michael received his medical degree from Pennsylvania College of Medicine and completed his pediatric residency Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. He is interested in pediatric psychiatry, antibiotic stewardship, and care of the complex patient. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Durango and enjoys hiking, skiing, and traveling

Meg Turner, MD, FAAP
2022-2026
Dr. Kirkley is a neonatologist at Denver Health Medical Center. She is interested in breastfeeding, early childhood nutrition, immunization policy and prevention of preterm birth. She is involved with DEFINE Colorado, a statewide collaborative effort to improve family engagement in the NICU. Meg has previously testified on behalf of AAP-CO in support of reauthorizing the Colorado Immunization Information System and for strengthening non-medical vaccine exemptions. Meg loves to travel, cook, garden, and spend time with her fiancé and four-year-old son.

Advisors

Martha Middlemist, MD, FAAP
Dr. Middlemist is a community pediatrician at Pediatrics 5280, where she is a partner.  She graduated from the University of Denver, attended the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and completed her pediatric training at Children’s Hospital Colorado.  Dr. Middlemist has served the AAP Colorado as Treasurer, Vice President, and President.  Dr. Middlemist also now serves the American Academy of Pediatrics as the Chair for District VIII.

Kathryn “Kathi” Wells, MD, FAAP
Dr. Kathryn Wells is a Board Certified Child Abuse Pediatrician and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the CU School of Medicine. She is currently the Executive Director of The Kempe Center and serves as an Outreach Liaison with ECHO Colorado. Dr. Wells is originally from Montana where she went to college at Carroll College in Helena, MT. She then earned her medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, NE where she also completed a pediatric residency at Creighton/University of NE combined program. She practiced general pediatrics for 5 years in Caldwell, ID before coming to Colorado in 2001.

Staff & Lobby Team

Executive Director
Ellen Brilliant – Ellen currently serves as the Executive Director for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Colorado Chapter, a position she has held since 2016. Her roots run deep in Colorado’s nonprofit communities, having served as a government relations executive, campaign manager, lobbyist, media spokesperson, door knocker, sign waver, and many “other duties as assigned”.  Ellen has been an advocate by profession for nearly 30 years, and by passion since she could talk.

Special Projects Coordinator
Leisha Andersen, MD, MPH, FAAP – Leisha Andersen worked as a primary care pediatrician in St. Louis, MO and Colorado Springs, CO before redirecting her professional focus toward large-scale, preventative issues affecting pediatric health. As a Quality Improvement and Subject Matter Expert for multiple healthcare and non-profit organizations including the Colorado Chapter of the AAP, she strives to produce an upstream-level impact on the lives of children and families Leisha joined AAP Colorado in 2019.

Lobby Team
Aponte & Busam Public Affairs Consultants

Ruth Aponté, Founding Partner & Political Consultant – Ruth Aponté has been lobbying in Colorado for over 25 years, and is a founding partner of Aponté & Busam. She holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Denver. Ms. Aponté has gained the trust and respect of legislators from both sides of the aisle, and consistently secures bipartisan support for client legislation.

  • Legislation and Policy Committee
  • Education
  • Membership and Recruitment

For more information or to get involved, email info@aapcolorado.org.

Membership

Membership opportunities are available to pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, pediatric surgical specialists, and other pediatric providers. American Academy of Pediatrics – Colorado Chapter (AAP-CO) provides an array of benefits and services to keep you up-to-date and informed and is the only organization that supports you through all four phases of maintenance of certification. As a member, you can be a voice for children and pediatrics.

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