BLEND Steering Board

David L. Smith, M.D., Steering Board Chair – Sartell Pediatrics

Board Certified: Pediatrics
Medical School: Wright State University, Dayton, OH, 2002 Residency: Columbus Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio. Joined St. Cloud Medical Group 2005.

Dr. Smith opened Sartell Pediatrics in the fall of 2012, making it the only independent pediatric practice in Central Minnesota.

“Dr Smith enjoys pediatrics and working with children/young adults so that we can address issues such as obesity by helping establish healthy habits early in life.”

Hobbies: Golf, watching college football.

Dave Tilstra M.D., Steering Board Vice Chair – CentraCare Clinic President

Medical School: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA Residency: Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA Fellow: American Academy of Pediatrics Fellowship: Medical Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Board Certified: Pediatrics and Genetics
Member: American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Medical Genetics; American Society of Human Genetics; American College of Physician Executives

Areas of Responsibility as Clinic President: 

  • Management of CentraCare Clinic (a multi-specialty group practice with ten clinic sites in seven communities)
  • Financial planning and budgets for the clinic
  • Recruitment of professional and managerial staff
  • Patient care services and outcomes
  • Relationships between CentraCare Clinic and referring providers in Central Minnesota
  • Personal growth and development of physicians and staff
  • Breadth and depth of clinic services

Length of Service: Since 1995

Read Dr. Tilstra’s opinion piece titled – “Area wins in battle to help kids stay fit” published in the St. Cloud Times on May 5, 2015.

Bob Thueringer – Chief Operating Officer – Coborn’s Inc.

Bob was named Chief Operations Officer of Coborn’s, Incorporated in 1999, where his primary responsibilities include corporate administration and store operations.

Bob started as a bagger/ stocker for the family-owned grocery store in 1967, working part-time while attending high school and then St. Cloud State University.

Upon graduation from college with a degree in marketing and history, Bob was offered the position of Operations and Personnel Manager. He has moved through the ranks and is now in his current position as Chief Operations Officer.

Bob and his wife, JoAnn, live in Sauk Rapids and have three grown children.

Brenda Braulick – Food Service Director – ISD 748

Brenda Braulick has worked in school food service for 20 years in several area school districts, most recently for the Sartell-St Stephen Public Schools.

She is passionate to empower parents and children with information to enable them to make healthy and fun food choices with an emphasis on the importance of family meal time. She is an active member of Minnesota School Food Service Association and is currently serving as President for the School Food Service Directors of Minnesota.

Brenda gives back to the community by actively serving at Crossroads Christian Church. In her free time she enjoys nature walks, gardening and reading.

Greg Gack – Executive Director St. Cloud YMCA

Greg has being serving his community through the YMCA for 20 years. This past August his family moved to St. Cloud where he began his tenure as the Executive Director of the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA. Prior to St. Cloud Greg has worked for YMCA’s in Phoenix, AZ, Salina and Kansas City, KS, and his most recent role as Executive Director of the North Branch YMCA in Wichita, Ks.

Early in his career as a Youth Program Director his passion grew to serve healthy lifestyle choices to children and families. This homecoming for his wife Kendra and two children provides Greg the opportunity to settle into our great family valued community where he begins to serve Central Minnesota.

Greg’s passion for BLEND stems from his desire to create opportunities for families to have accessible health related services.

Ashley Kibutha (Studniski), RD, LD – Coborn’s, Inc.

In May of 2011, Ashley graduated from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University with a degree in Nutrition and a concentration in Dietetics.  After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she completed her dietetic internship through Iowa State University’s Distance program. A majority of her rotations were completed at the Saint Cloud Hospital, with community rotations fulfilled at local organizations in the central Minnesota region. In February of 2012, Ashley received her license as a Registered Dietitian. Her first position was working in the Natural Foods Department at the Sauk Rapids Coborn’s Grocery Store.  In October of 2012, Ashley was promoted to Supermarket Dietitian for Coborn’s Grocery Stores, located mainly at the Sauk Rapids store.

In this position, she teaches nutrition classes, perform cooking demonstrations, leads grocery store tours, and provides personal consultations that include meal planning and personal shopping. One of Ashley’s main roles in this position is to oversee the NuVal program throughout the Coborn’s division. Ashley also collaborates with local wellness leaders by playing an active role in a variety of health initiatives throughout the central Minnesota region.

Mike Matanich – Stearns County Human Services

Mr. Matanich is currently the Stearns County Human Services, Public Health Division Community Health Supervisor.

As the Community Health Supervisor, Mike works across multiple discipline areas at the county, region and state levels. He works to strengthen the public health system by establishing relationships, developing new policy and implementing grant duties of the Centers for Disease Control Public Health Preparedness Grant, Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), Child & Teen Checkup Program, Safe Communities, and Stearns County EMS and many other county level initiatives.

Previously, Mike was a Program Manager for StayWell Health Management Systems. At StayWell he managed and coordinated health and wellness programs and services across the country for a variety of organizations: The Boeing Company, Chrysler, DuPont, Amgen Inc., Wayne State University, LSG Sky Chefs and many others.

Mike has 17 years of health education experience. This experience includes assessing health risks and providing customized programming used to address the identified risk areas of diverse populations through customized programming including large clinics/screenings, onsite programming and many other forms of education and interventions.

Lisa M. Guetzko, MD – HealthPartners

Undergraduate Degree: Wartburg College, Waverly IA
Medical Degree: University of Iowa – Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 2006
Residency in Pediatrics: University of South Florida College of Medicine, Pediatric Residency Program 2009
Certification: American Board of Pediatrics
Special Interests: Primary pediatrics, global health

Dr. Guetzko believes every person is entitled to quality medical care, and I enjoy working at HealthPartners because I respect the organization’s goal of providing equal, affordable quality care to all. My special interests include primary pediatrics and global health. I am inspired by people who give their time and energy to make other people’s lives better. If you always give your best effort, you can accomplish anything in life.

In my spare time, I enjoy traveling and a variety of activities. I love to be outside, taking in all the outdoors has to offer, including gardening, downhill skiing, swimming and rollerblading. I also enjoy cooking, baking and entertaining friends and family.

Dr. Daniel Bittman – Superintendent – ISD 47

Dr. Bittman has served as Superintendent of the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District since July 1, 2010.   Previously, he served as Assistant Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Education, Director of Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Centennial School District, and as Director (Elementary) in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas Nevada.

Dr. Bittman earned his B.A. Degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in Secondary Education, specializing in Spanish, Psychology, and Coaching, and his M. Ed and Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Higher Education from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, which often includes attending various athletic and music-related events, traveling, and reading.

Kristin Johnson RD, CSP, LD – Pediatric Clinical Dietitian at St Cloud Hospital – CentraCare Health

Kristin was born and raised in southern Wisconsin. She received her BS in Dietetics from the University of Wisconsin – Stout in Menomonie, WI. She completed her Dietetic Internship at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. In addition to obtaining her registration and state licensure in dietetics, she has obtained professional certifications as a Certified Lactation Specialist and a Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition.

Kristin began her employment with the Women and Children’s Center at St Cloud Hospital in January of 2010. She devices nutrition care plans and provides nutrition education for infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant and postpartum women admitted to the hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, general pediatrics and Family Birthing Center. She also provides pediatric ambulatory medical nutrition therapy for children with food allergies, celiac disease, failure to thrive, overweight/obesity, tube feeding management, high cholesterol, and other nutrition concerns. She is involved in both the Infant and Child Development Clinic and the Cleft and Craniofacial Clinic. She also provides community presentations on food allergies and various pediatric nutrition topics.

Prior to her current position at St Cloud Hospital, Kristin worked as public health nutritionist in northern Wisconsin, managing the Women, Infant and Children’s program, providing nutrition education and financial assistance for families with lower socioeconomic status.

In her free time, Kristin enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and engaging in outdoor activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, hiking, camping, and cross country skiing.

Katie Krebs RD, LD – Pediatric Dietitian at St Cloud Hospital and Women and Children’s Center – CentraCare Health

Katie received her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from the College of Saint Benedict. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and Amplatz Children’s Hospital. After her internship, Katie worked at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, providing nutrition care to adults throughout the hospital including transplant, intensive care, cardiology, oncology and general medical patients.

Katie switched gears from working with adults to working primarily with children and their parents in 2013 when she began her employment with the Women and Children’s Center at the Saint Cloud Hospital. She provides nutrition care and education for patients who are admitted to the hospital, including preterm and term infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant and postpartum women. In addition to working in the hospital, she in works a clinic setting, providing nutrition therapy and education to children and their families regarding general nutrition, special diets, weight loss, weight gain, or nutrition support with tube feedings. Katie also provides community presentations on nutrition topics such as food allergies.

Katie grew up right here in Central Minnesota. She enjoys the country lifestyle and spending time outdoors. Some of her hobbies include gardening, cooking and trying new recipes, swimming at the lake, horseback riding, camping, ice skating, and spending time with friends and family.

Joseph Mueller – Multimodal Planner/GIS Specialist – St. Cloud APO

Joseph has been with the St. Cloud APO as a transportation planner and GIS mapping speciliast since October of 2015. Before joining the St. Cloud APO, Joseph completed his undergraduate degree in Geography-GIS from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) and his Masters Degree in Geographic Information Science (MGIS) with a graduate minor in Urban & Regional Planning (Humphry School of Public Affairs) from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities). He has also had many different internships, such as with the US Geological Survey, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Minneapolis Water Department and Travelers Insurance. Joseph works with BLEND to help promote active living in the greater St. Cloud community and encourage more bicycling and walking.

Joseph grew up in Roseville Minnesota, right next to the U of M St. Paul campus and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds but has already managed to become a world traveler, with adventures in Morocco, Spain, Greece, Germany, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, BWCA, India and most recently Argentina. He currently lives in St. Cloud, and enjoys playing the clarinet as part of the St. Cloud Community Band, swimming and swing dancing.

Jodi Gertken – Director of Wellness – CentraCare Health

Jodi is the Project Coordinator for BLEND with the CentraCare Health Foundation, having joined CentraCare Health System in October, 2004. She has 10 years of experience in the public health sector having previously served as:

  • BLEND Coordinator- CentraCare Health Foundation
  • Project Coordinator- Central Minnesota Heart Center
  • Public Health Coordinator- Stearns County Human Services
  • Health Systems Manager- American Cancer Society
  • Public Health Specialist – Morrison County Public Health

She received her undergraduate degree in Community Health and has completed her M.S. degree coursework at St. Cloud State University.

Jodi was born and raised in St. Cloud Minnesota. She’s an exercise enthusiast who enjoys running, spending time with her family, and advocating for strong policies that create healthy, active communities.

Kathy Geislinger – BLEND Coordinator – CentraCare Health Foundation

Kathy received her undergraduate degree in Community Health from St. Cloud State University in 2007. She joined the CentraCare Health Foundation in February 2008 as the BLEND Program Specialist. In August 2016, Kathy accepted the BLEND Coordinator position to continue her passion in community health. Kathy is a member of the MN Food Charter Regional planning committee, sits on the St. Cloud School District Wellness Committee, and works with more than 25 area schools on their healthy fundraising initiatives. Kathy also works across multiple discipline areas throughout the CentraCare Health region to create healthy, active communities.

Kathy is passionate about youth sports and their ability to provide character development and life skills. She is a co-founder of the Eden Valley-Watkins Youth Basketball Association and was an elected member of the board for 5 years. Kathy is ardent about community service, with over 17 years of experience in community volunteerism.

Kathy resides in Watkins with her husband and 3 children. In her spare time, she enjoys watching sports – particularly her sons (and husband) playing baseball and daughter participating in a number of sports – working on D.I.Y. projects, photography, gardening and cooking.

Angie Johnson – BLEND Program Specialist – CentraCare Health Foundation

Angie graduated from the University of Mary-Bismarck with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She completed her Associates Degree as Medical Administrative Secretary and Medical Coding from Alexandria Technical college. She has been working on the business side of healthcare as a Certified Professional Coder until this past February, when she added the role of Program Specialist for BLEND.

Angie grew up and resides in Browerville, MN. In her free time, she enjoys time spent with family and friends. She enjoys gardening, cooking, kayaking, walks in the woods with her dog Bones, and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.

Katie Gruber – BLEND Program Specialist – CentraCare Health Foundation

Katie received her undergraduate degree in Community Health and Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2011. Upon graduating, she worked as a Project Coordinator for Morrison County’s Drug-Free Communities Coalition, which focused on reducing alcohol and tobacco use among high school youth. She joined CentraCare in July 2015 as a Program Specialist for Crave the Change, where she worked to reduce tobacco’s harm across Central Minnesota. In August 2016, Katie accepted the BLEND Program Specialist position to continue her passion for improving the health of Central Minnesota residents.

Katie has always had a passion for health and motivating others to live a healthy lifestyle. Her passions have led to coaching youth sports and personal training. In these roles, she enthusiastically serves as a role model to inspire self-confidence, empower motivation, and promote a positive attitude toward life among youth and adults.

Katie grew up in Central Minnesota and currently resides in Little Falls. She enjoys playing and watching sports (especially baseball), fishing, cooking, and spending time with her friends and family.

Hannah Dockendorf – BLEND Program Specialist – CentraCare Health Foundation

Hannah received her undergraduate degree in Community Health with a minor in Psychology from St. Cloud State University in 2014. Upon graduating, she began working for Kandiyohi County Public Health as a Community Health Organizer with the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Her role with the SHIP Grant was to work on reducing obesity rates and tobacco use and exposure in Southwest Minnesota. After nearly two and a half years with SHIP, Hannah wanted to make a bigger impact closer to home and accepted the job as Program Specialist with BLEND in September 2016.

Hannah’s passion is what drives her everyday. She believes everyone deserves the opportunity to live a healthy life, no matter their income, age, or race. She believes that access to physical activity and better nutrition are important factors in making our world a better place to live, work, learn, and play. And that when communities come together, anything can happen.

Hannah lives in Watkins with her husband, their dog Cisco, and their cat Polly. Family, faith, and friends are things she highly values in her every day life. Some of her hobbies include cooking, every outdoor activity under the sun, and working out at the local fitness center.

Emily Ackerman – MN GreenCorps Member – BLEND

Emily is currently serving with MN GreenCorps as a local foods advocate. In particular, Emily is working to introduce Farm-to-Cafeteria in the St. Cloud school district and some early childhood centers. Her love of food coupled with the environmental focus is directly related to her love of science. With her undergraduate degree in Biology from Benedictine College in Kansas, she hopes to some day be a medical professional. Her previous work includes patient care and campus jobs.

Emily’s leisure activities include reading, gardening, crafting, exercising, and improving her cooking.

In Memoriam- Todd J. Steinke

Todd was a vital member of the BLEND Steering Board and was instrumental in the development and growth of BLEND in the community. Todd served as the Director of Development for the Centracare Health Foundation, and Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Health until his untimely passing in September of 2015. Our board continues to remember and honor Todd’s passion, work ethic, and exuberance as we strive to keep reducing childhood obesity rates and positively impact the health and wellness of children in Central Minnesota.

Read the blog “The Vital Role of the BLEND Steering Board Committee“ to learn more about the committee.