Our Care Management Team
Lauren Sherman is the President and an Expert Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. Lauren is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in both Illinois and Colorado, Advanced Practice Social Worker in Wisconsin and is one of just a few people in Illinois who holds the National Master Guardian distinction from the Center for Guardianship Certification. She previously served on the education committee for the National Guardianship Association and helped to create education programs for individuals throughout the country that worked in the guardianship field or served as guardian for a loved one. Lauren has published numerous articles related to her research with children and adults as well as her current field of guardianship. She has spoken frequently on guardianship and other clinical matters for hospitals, nursing homes, and other care settings on a local and national level.
Erin McArdle is the Intake and Education Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Illinois State University, and her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Concordia University. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois, with clinical strengths and an expansive knowledge base of disease states, diagnoses and disabilities as related to all ages. Erin’s professional experience has provided her with a clinical base that is strengthened by a knowledge of medical social work, Illinois State entitlements, and successful ways to holistically manage all facets of a client’s care. Erin has successfully managed complex cases and is a versatile, solid member of the team.
Patricia Cline is a Certified Life Care Planner and Expert Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. Patricia’s extensive professional experience in home care, medical and rehabilitation hospitals, state facilities, and private settings is well reflected in her service to clients. Her experience additionally includes provision of Life Care Planning consultative and expert witness services. Patricia earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from DePaul University and her Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work. As an Illinois Licensed Clinical Social Worker also credentialed in Wisconsin, a Certified Life Care Planner, Certified Case Manager and a National Certified Guardian, Pat shows her professional excellence through her ability to perform thorough, insightful bio-psycho-social assessments that are specifically tailored to meet the presenting need of the clients and referring parties. Patricia is a member of The International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals, The National Association of Social Workers, and The Aging Life Care Association.
Jennifer Gazda is an Expert Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Valparaiso University, her Master of Social Work from the University of St. Francis, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. Over the past ten years, Jennifer has developed diverse professional experience working with individuals and families in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and the legal arena. Jennifer’s knowledge of medical, clinical, and family court issues is thorough and extensive. Additionally, Jennifer has specialized training in crisis intervention, with particular areas of specialization in abuse and neglect, and developmental disabilities.
Jennifer Axelson is a Certified Life Care Planner and Expert Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Relationships from Illinois State University, her Secondary Education Teaching Certification from Northern Illinois University, and her Master of Social Work from Aurora University. Jennifer is also a Certified Case Manager and Certified Life Care Planner. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Clinical Manager, Jennifer has diverse work experience, including appropriate vs. abnormal child development, chronic and catastrophic medical complexities, the dynamics of aging and chronic pain management. Additionally, Jennifer has experience in school social work, grant management, mental health, substance abuse, and Illinois state child protective arenas. As a supervisor of clinical staff, Jennifer has taken part in or overseen hundreds of assessments and the implementation of their resulting plans of care.
Joan Brncich is a Nurse Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois and is a Registered Nurse and Certified Nurse of the Operating Room. Joan has over 25 years of clinical nursing experience in a variety of healthcare settings. She has substantial expertise working with children and adults with chronic and traumatic orthopedic and spine-related needs. Joan combines extensive qualifications in problem solving, resource planning, and education to provide high-quality and compassionate care to the clients she serves.
Stephanie Berkner serves as a Senior Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work from Colorado State University, and her Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago with a clinical specialization in Health. Stephanie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. Stephanie holds a Child Welfare Employee License and a Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol License through Illinois DCFS. She has extensive experience working with children and adolescents, the geriatric population, individuals with mental illness, and individuals with terminal illness. Stephanie is passionate about advocating for her clients and hopes to provide each client with the level of care that they deserve.
Elisa Laurusonis serves as a Senior Life Care Manager in the North Shore area of Chicago, Illinois. She earned her Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago and is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. While Elisa has had a broad range of experience with social issues such as poverty, child abuse, and medical social work, she specializes in working with older adults and people with mental illness. Elisa strives to incorporate a whole-person methodology into working with clients and their families, and believes that compassion and empathy are the cornerstones of her work with others.
Ashlyn Scanlan serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Illinois State University and her Master of Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago. Ashlyn specialized in school social work and has her Type 73 Certificate; she is also a Licensed Social Worker in Illinois. Ashlyn has gained valuable experience in the areas of mental illness, special needs, juvenile delinquency and Illinois State Entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Social Security Benefits. Ashlyn excels in her ability to advocate for clients, create individualized plans and in her understanding of therapeutic approaches.
Aubrey Runyan serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Iowa and her Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work. Aubrey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. Aubrey’s experience ranges from reproductive health to chronic illness with individuals in all ages. Aubrey brings enthusiasm and compassion to her work with the clients she serves in hopes of improving their quality of life.
Katy Hoff serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations. She earned her Bachelor of Science from University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. Katy earned her Masters in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her studies were concentrated on Addictions with a Counseling Specialization. Katy is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois and aspires to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the future. She has experience providing counseling services to survivors of sexual trauma through Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center. Katy also has spent years working with adults with developmental disabilities, identifying goals for achievement and developing plans for success. She is strongly motivated to provide holistic support to her client’s through her positive attitude, empathy, and experience.–
Diana Otstott serves a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Social Work at Aurora University. Additionally, Diana obtained a specialization certificate from Aurora University in medical social work. Diana is experienced in working with adolescents, young adults, and adults with mental illnesses and drug related illnesses. She is currently working towards becoming a licensed social worker and plans to become a licensed clinical social worker. Her goal is to make sure her clients receive the best care possible to improve their quality of life.
Ellen Gruber serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Missouri State University in Child and Family Development with an emphasis in Child Life. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Saint Louis University. She has experience working with both children and adults in the foster care system as well as hospital and school settings. She was a preschool teacher at Washington University in Saint Louis for 4 years where she worked with children aged 6 weeks-6 years. She is currently working towards becoming a licensed social worker and plans to become a licensed clinical social worker. Her goal is to make sure all client’s receive an exceptional level of care and attention to improve their quality of life in all aspects.
Jamie Enger serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from St. Ambrose University in Iowa and her Masters in Social Work from Aurora University with a healthcare specialization. In the past, Jamie has worked in a children’s therapeutic day school as an instructional teaching assistant and in a CILA home with adults with disabilities. Her most recent experience comes from an internship as a foster care case worker and through Linden Oaks Outpatient facility where she served as a clinical therapist intern. Jamie is currently working towards becoming a licensed social worker with hopes to help her clients reach their full potential and improve their overall life quality.
Megan Alipour is an Associate Life Care Manager with Lifecare Innovations Inc. Megan earned her Master of Social Work Degree from Dominican University after receiving her Bachelors of Arts in Social Work from Lewis University. Megan is A Licensed Social Worker in the State of Illinois, and Megan is working towards becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Megan has extensive experience with the aging population with concurring mental health disorders and cognitive impairments. Megan has over 9 years experience working with the elderly through skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, and community based settings. Megan’s empathetic demeanor and problem solving mindset offer tremendous support to individuals and families who are struggling with changing physical and mental health. Her hope is to enhance the client’s quality of life through compassion and a positive perspective
Christina Pritchett serves as an Associate Life Care Manager with Lifecare Innovations Inc. Christina earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia. She went on to earn a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Christina is currently a Licensed Social Worker in the State of Illinois and aspires to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. During her internship at Rainbow House in Columbia, Christina obtained experience working with youth whom have been involved in abuse and neglect cases. While working at Choices Coordinated Care Solutions in Urbana, Christina provided services assisting care coordinators for youth ages 3-21 with behavioral health challenges. She is enthusiastic about gaining experience a variety of client populations. Christina believes providing empathy, exercising compassion, and building strong rapport are vital to the enhancement of a client’s qualify of life.
Jamie Riley serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Appalachian State University in North Carolina. She went on to earn her Master of Social Work degree from Appalachian State University as well. Jamie has interned at a school-based therapy program, where she utilized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to teach behavioral management and emotional regulation to elementary-aged children. In addition, Jamie has worked internationally at a non-profit organization in Uganda where she conducted clinical counseling with teenage mothers in crisis while connecting them to sustainable community resources. Jamie is currently working towards becoming a Licensed Social Worker and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in order to better serve her clients. Jamie is committed to improving her client’s quality of life through compassion, empathy, and advocacy.
Lisa Van Dyke serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Eastern Illinois University and her Master of Counseling, with a specialization in School Counseling, from Governors State University. Lisa’s previous experience includes working at a non-profit agency that assisted pregnant women in need with initial medical services, resources, pregnancy and parenting education, and life skills classes. Lisa worked as a case manager and also led a team of staff to carry out the education and resource portion of services. Lisa has also worked internships working in both a middle school and high school setting, creating guidance curricula and providing group counseling for issues including anger management and self-esteem building, along with working at an alternative school for at-risk teens. Lisa also has experience as a private practice therapist. Lisa is a licensed professional counselor, and is working towards becoming a licensed clinical professional counselor. Her goal is to be a source of comfort while providing excellent care to improve the quality of life for her clients.
Amber Kimble serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree at Missouri State University and her Master of Social Work degree, with a concentration in Mental Health, from University of Illinois at Chicago. Amber’s previous experience includes interning at Hines VA in the Mental Health Intensive Case Management Program which assisted Veterans in remaining independent in their communities. In addition, Amber also interned at Cox North Hospital providing case management for acute cases in the adult inpatient psychiatric unit. She has also worked as a healthcare office manager at Alloy Physical Care. Amber is currently working towards becoming a Licensed Social Worker and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in order to better serve her clients. Her goal is to improve the quality of life for her clients and to ensure their healthcare and personal needs are met using a compassionate approach to care management.
Faith Zaras serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Aurora University. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree she went on to complete her Master of Social Work degree at Aurora University as well. Faith has previously worked within middle schools and high schools to provide a wide range of therapeutic practices to students. In addition, Faith has most recently served as a Social Work and Advocacy Intern at a homeless shelter where she participated in outreach services and worked closely with the transitional housing program. There she built therapeutic relationships within the community in order to help individuals meet their goals and overcome homelessness. Faith is currently working towards becoming a Licensed Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Social Worker in order to better serve her clients. Her goal is to help improve her client’s quality of life through advocacy, empowerment, and empathy.
Timothy Harnew is a Business Development Specialist for Lifecare Innovations and manages the company’s digital marketing efforts. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts, Entertainment and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and is a member of the Association of Senior Service Providers, Senior Citizens Services Coordinating Council as well as five separate chapters of the Illinois Continuity of Care Association. Tim’s background includes professional services in the television and magazine industry, where he developed marketing and advertising campaigns for businesses of all sizes. In addition to his sales and marketing experience, Tim is Google Analytics Certified and proficient in website design, search engine optimization (SEO) and CRM software administration.