Family Faculty

group of people smiling outside of children's hospitalFamily Faculty are parents and family members whose children have received or are still receiving services at Children's Specialized Hospital Inpatient, Outpatient, or Long Term Care sites. Their own day-to-day experiences provide a unique perspective, understanding, and empathy for families going through similar situations. Family Faculty partner with staff and families to build a respectful and understanding relationship by listening, providing insights, and encouraging positive communication between staff and families. Our role is also to empower families to become advocates for their children.


Examples of Family Faculty partnerships with staff and families include:

  • Talk and listen to families who receive a new diagnosis
  • Offer support to a new family/first time therapy/first time evaluation
  • Help with a concerned parent who feels his/her child is not making enough progress
  • Support families who are being prepared for discharge
  • Provide family to family resources
  • Offer the perspective of being a caregiver of a child with special needs
  • Share information with all staff on the emotions families may go through and how this might affect all aspects of care and communication
  • Review written correspondence that will be going out to families and offer suggestions from a family perspective
  • Organize educational workshops for families on various topics pertaining to their children’s needs e.g. (Special Needs Trusts and Wills, and services available through DDD)
  • Organize, catalogue, and maintain various resource rooms and resource areas
  • Partner with our Leadership Team to provide new employee orientation, “A Family Perspective” on what it’s like to receive services at Children’s Specialized Hospital
  • Discuss with families the value of their input and importance of completing their Press Ganey Patient and Family Satisfaction Survey
  • Help staff in building relationships with families and one another
  • Work with Foundation staff in sharing our stories with outside groups who are interested in supporting Children’s Specialized Hospital

Meet Our Team

Pat O'Hanlon

Pat O'Hanlon - Pat brought her son Kenny to Children's Specialized Hospital at six months of age. Kenny has Cerebral Palsy and has received multiple services at CSH. Pat is also a Family Advisory Council member.

Jessica Krill

Jessica Krill - Jessica brought her first daughter to CSH 14 years ago when she was diagnosed with a chromosome deletion. Three years later she brought her second daughter who was diagnosed with the same deletion. Jessica helps identify family resources available in her community that are relevant to Children’s Specialized Hospital families.

Linda Waddell

Linda Waddell - Linda is thankful for Children’s Specialized Hospital and the support they have given to her family caring for their daughter who has cerebral palsy. It has taken the village of CSH to raise Kara.

Nancy Panarese

Nancy Panarese - Nancy is raising her grandson Christian who has been receiving services since the age of 9 months. She values the partnerships and team approach so that Christian can reach his full potential.

Shanette Pereira

Shanette Pereira - Shanette’s son was an inpatient at CSH for 6 months after sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury. He also received services at the outpatient site in New Brunswick.

Deidre Torrone

Deidre Torrone - Deidre has been an employee at Children’s Specialized Hospital for 22 years. She has 3 children who have received outpatient therapy services and neurodevelopmental evaluations for the past 15 years.

Luciana Mendes

Luciana Mendes-McGuire - Luciana's daughter, Ariana, came to Children's Specialized Hospital after being in the PICU for six weeks due to a Traumatic Brain Injury. During her two months as an Inpatient she relearned how to eat, walk, and talk. Ariana’s cognitive abilities were also damaged – upon discharge she enrolled in the Children’s Specialized Hospital outpatient Neurorehablitation program and continues to receive physical, speech, and occupational therapy.

Martha Garcia - Martha brought her son Jacob to CSH at 8 months old. Jacob was born pre-mature at 26 weeks gestations, which affected his development. He is globally delayed and has Cerebral Palsy. He has received physical, occupational, and speech therapy at CSH. Jacob is also a patients of our Primary Care Practice in Mountainside and his baby brother Mark is also a patient at the care practice - both seeing Dr. Aronsky as their primary care pediatrician. Martha is part of Family Faculty and also serves as a Board Member of our Board of Trustees in which she represents our patients and families.

Elizabeth Marcketta - Elizabeth's son Tommy receives services at CSH related to his diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Elizabeth and her family are so grateful to everyone at CSH for helping Tommy feel comfortable with who he is and for providing the support for Tommy to learn how to be his best self. Elizabeth loves working with and helping provide support for other families at CSH.

Angelica Angeles - Angelica's daugher, Amerie, was inpatient at CSH for about 5 months. She was receiving outpatient radation at RWJUH while also receiving all therapies available in our New Brunswick inpatient facility. Amerie came in towards the end of a protocol treatment for a rare childhood brain cancer, was globally delayed and needed a lot of help with every day care. Angelica mentions how Amerie blossomed here at CSH and that she was able to see a part of her little girl coming back to the surface. Angelica is honored to have joined the Family Faculty team at CSH.

Jennifer Schonger - Jen is a mom of two wonderful daughters and has brought her youngest daughter to CSH since 2014. She joined the Family Faculty team in 2018 and also served on the Family Advsiory Council. Jen is well versed in the latest research in Autism as well as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and is thankful to be part of such a great team.

Cheryl Hold - Cheryl is appreciative of the exceptional services CSH continues to provide to all of her children.


How to Contact Family Faculty Staff at each site:

Bayonne
1-888-CHILDREN
Martha Garcia - ext. 2816

Clifton
1-888-CHILDREN
Linda Waddell - ext. 5671

Egg Harbor Township
1-888-CHILDREN
Jessica Krill - ext. 3961

Hamilton
1-888-CHILDREN
Jennifer Schonger or Martha Garcia - ext. 2816

Jersey City
1-888-CHILDREN
Martha Garcia - ext. 2816

Mountainside
1-888-CHILDREN
Linda Waddell or Nancy Panarese - ext. 5671

New Brunswick
1-888-CHILDREN
Pat O'Hanlon, Family Faculty Manager - ext. 7378
Luciana Mendes-McGuire - ext. 7432
Shanette Pereira - ext. 7144
Angelica Angeles - ext. 7144
Uma Solaiyappan - ext. 7133

Newark
1-888-CHILDREN
Mirnaly Cabezas - ext. 2996

Toms River - Lakehurst Road
1-888-CHILDREN
Jessica Krill - ext. 3961

Toms River - Stevens Road
1-888-CHILDREN
Deidre Torrone - ext. 3851
Cheryl Hold - ext. 3757
Jessica Krill - ext. 3961

Warren
1-888-CHILDREN
Elizabeth Marcketta - ext. 8719

Patient Stories

  • Dr. Therrien told us he would be there for our family and he referred us to Children’s Specialized Hospital.

    Kenny
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  • “I’m just super grateful,” shares Amanda. “I’m so glad we landed at Children’s Specialized Hospital.”

    Colbie
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  • “I enjoyed Physical Therapy with my Therapist Zack the most!” shares Jayson. “The therapy was always fun. He would have me balance on one leg while we played Uno, we would play catch. It was awesome!”

    Jayson
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Patient Stories

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