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Catalpa Health Announces New Board Members


 APPLETON, Wis. (May 14,2021)Catalpa Health, a mental health and wellness service provider for children and adolescents in the Fox Valley, is pleased to announce the appointment of two new board members; Shaun A. Gunderson, with J. J. Keller & Associates of Neenah, Wisc., and Michael Bergmann, with Ascension Wisconsin of the Fox Valley Region.

“Our board of directors is comprised of a dedicated team of community leaders, as well as appointed leaders from our health care partners: Ascension, Children’s Wisconsin and ThedaCare,” said Mary Downs, President and CEO of Catalpa Health. “This group of individuals cares deeply about the mental health of the children in our community and furthering the mission of Catalpa.”

Shaun A. Gunderson is currently the Vice President of Managed Services for J. J. Keller & Associates in Neenah, Wis., where she is responsible for overseeing product management, operations, and client services for the Managed Services business unit. Her depth in business process optimization will be a great asset to the Catalpa board. Additionally, Shaun has been involved in the community as a member of the MBA Alumni Advisory Board with the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, a volunteer with Pillars in Appleton, Wis., and she sits on the Advisory Council for The Center for Grieving Children in Appleton, Wisc.

Michael Bergmann is a former Advocate Aurora Health executive and was hired earlier this year by Ascension Wisconsin as the President of the Fox Valley Ascension hospitals. In his previous roles, Bergmann oversaw strategy, resource management, safety, patient experience, employee engagement, community perception and growth. Michael’s extensive healthcare knowledge and experience will be a positive asset to the Catalpa board and mission.

The 2021 Catalpa Health Board of Directors are: Chair, David Vander  Zanden, Retired; Vice Chair, Tina Lechnir of Ascension; Secretary, Gail Ostrander of Children’s Wisconsin; Treasurer, Julie Meyer of ThedaCare Behavioral Health; Wendy Barton, M.D. of ThedaCare; Amy Herbst of Children’s Wisconsin; Shaun Gunderson of J. J. Keller & Associates; Michael Bergmann of Ascension; and Tom Schmidt of U.S. Venture.

Catalpa Health is a pediatric mental health organization that provides mental health services including psychiatry, mental health therapy and psychological evaluations to children, teens and families through clinics in Appleton, Oshkosh, and Waupaca. Additionally, mental health therapy services are offered in more than 50 area schools.  As a collaboration of Ascension Wisconsin, Children’s Wisconsin, ThedaCare, and the community, Catalpa Health believes in community partnerships and works with other mental health providers to ensure that all children and teens are receiving the right care at the right time, close to home. For more information on Catalpa Health, please visit our website at or follow us at


*Telehealth Outage: Feb. 10, 2021 – 2:00pm

We are currently experience some challenges with our telehealth platform Doxy with some virtual appointments. If this is the case for your scheduled appointment time, providers will be calling you direction for your session.

Questions? Give us a call at 920.750.7000 for immediate assistance.

We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this might cause in the meantime. Additional updates will be provided on our Facebook and here as they come available.

Encouraging the Entire Family to Mask Up is as Easy as 1-2-3

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a curve ball to students this summer – from postponed camps and travel teams to less time having fun in the sun with friends. But children are learning a new lesson: The importance of wearing a face covering to keep family and friends safe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says face coverings slow the spread of COVID-19 by people who unknowingly have the virus. New research published this summer in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimates anywhere from 30% to 45% of people with the coronavirus have no symptoms.  In May, officials guessed about a quarter of Americans were asymptomatic.

“When kids and adults with COVID-19 breathe, speak, cough or sneeze, virus particles will be trapped in their mask, protecting other people from being infected,” explained Jennifer Frank, MD, Chief Medical Officer at ThedaCare, a Be Safe Wisconsin partner. “Respiratory droplets can spread the virus, so people wearing cloth face coverings play an important role in curbing cases.”

The CDC guidance on face coverings suggests everyone older than the age of two wear a cloth mask when outside the home. Making kids feel comfortable wearing a mask now will get them ahead of the school year, when they will likely be required to suit up with one in the classroom for everyone’s safety – students, teachers, parents and administrators.

Experts say getting kids to comply starts with parents and other authority figures in their life. Additional Be Safe Partners explain that when you are armed with the right information, it is as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Speak honestly.  Experts say children need to hear the facts but without the fear. Catalpa Health Psychiatrist, Eric Rueff, DO, said, “Explain the risk of illness, but do not try to scare children into wearing face coverings by giving worse case scenarios. Make them aware that when someone may have the illness and not know it, they could easily spread it.”
  2. Focus on germs. “Explain that germs are special to your own body. Some are good and some are bad,” said Peter Roloff, MD, and Pediatrician and Regional Medical Director of Primary Care at Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin. “Since we can’t always tell which are good or bad, a cloth face covering helps keep those germs away. Masks also help remind us not to touch our mouth and nose.”
  3. Empower children to be heroes. Children are often seen as potential “spreaders” of the coronavirus because most are believed to be asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms. “They can protect older relatives and teachers who may get the illness worse than kids,” Dr. Rueff noted. This can be reinforced by watching videos on the topic as a family for younger children and teenagers. “Most of us are visual learners so this is a good way to learn together as a family.” Dr. Roloff added, “Some children feel that they do not have control of many things but wearing a mask and caring for others is something that they can control and feel empowered about.”

Of course, emotional support helps to make this change easier too. Be Safe Partners Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin, Catalpa Health, and ThedaCare say as parents and guardians educate and empower, they should do so with empathy and kindness all while having fun to keep everyone to alleviate any anxiousness along the way.

  • Show empathy by commiserating with how annoying and stuffy a mask can be.
  • Encourage kindness by modeling how masks are worn to keep others safe, which can be an altruistic feeling for a child.
  • Be happy by injecting humor to diffuse stressful conflicts over wearing the mask, rather than letting any frustration lead to anger.

Leading by example is most effective when expecting change from your children, so parents do as you say not as you do. And older siblings wearing their own mask can make a difference too. Children look up to older family members and mimic them.

Be Safe Wisconsin experts suggest a family gradually introduce mask wearing and work toward permanent change. Work in increments: 5 minutes one time, then 10 minutes another, then 30 minutes and so on. The child eventually will get through an entire activity wearing a face covering. Practicing at home will help when children are in public. Parents will have less to worry about when it comes to proper us.

“Thanking children for wearing a mask to protect others will positively reinforce mask use and make the children feel like they are doing their part,” Dr. Roloff said.


Catalpa Health was a contributor to this article, written and published by Be Safe Wisconsin.

Important Update: Catalpa Appleton Clinic

The Catalpa team continues to made decisions regarding face-to-face visits with guidance and recommendations from the CDC, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and our professional organizations and associations. If there are changes to this based on your personal treatment plan, your provider or a Catalpa team member will communicate this with you directly.

There is currently no set date to resume in-person services at this time at our physical locations. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation using the guidelines indicated above. If you are receiving care at our Appleton clinic locations, face-to-face services will not resume in the 442 and 444 N. Westhill Blvd. locations. These clinic spaces will officially move to one new location, 4635 W. College Avenue, as of Monday, August 3, 2020. While we’re eager to visit with you in this new space, please continue to schedule and plan for telehealth visits until changes are communicated by your provider or another Catalpa team member.

Please note that to accommodate the clinic move and final IT and technology transitions, ALL Catalpa Health locations will be closed and not providing services (including telehealth) on Friday, July 31. Please plan ahead for medication refills and other needs. 

Find regular updates online at and on our Catalpa Health Facebook page. For questions or concerns, please contact us at 920.750.7000.

Please note: a letter was mailed with this information to all Catalpa clients the week of July 1, 2020. To view a copy of the note in its entirety, please click the preferred translated version below:

Catalpa Client Letter – English

Catalpa Client Letter – Hmong translation

Catalpa Client Letter – Spanish translation

We are here for you, every step of the way.

Catalpa Health names Carrie Penovich new Chief Operating Officer

In June, Catalpa Health welcomed Carrie Penovich as its new chief operating offer and financial leader.

As the chief operating officer and financial leader, Penovich will be responsible for providing strategic direction for all business operation functions that support patient flow through the clinic; as well as overseeing financial functions and developing Catalpa Health’s overall business policies. Prior to her position at Catalpa, Penovich held the role of chief clinical services officer at Aurora Medical Center Manitowoc County.

Penovich earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Carroll University, along with a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. In additiona, she has served various community organizations including the United Way, Lakeshore Technical College Foundation and the Two Rivers Business Association.

She enjoys traveling and spending time with her family in her free time.

We’re excited to have welcomed Carrie to the Catalpa Health family!

Have a Safe – and Fun – Summer Close to Home

How to Have a Safe – and Fun – Summer Close to Home

A safer-at-home season of life does not mean your summer will be void of fun. Experts say the best way to enjoy the next few months is to come together – 6 feet apart – and keep your mind and body in motion, mostly outside.

A couple of our Catalpa Health mental health therapists gave recommendations on what that could look like for you and your family this summer in collaboration with Be Safe Wisconsin.

View the piece and get ready for a fun summer here.

Be Safe Curbside

Three weeks ago, when Be Safe Wisconsin launched, stay at home orders were in place, masks were just introduced as a precaution and non-essential businesses were closed. As a partner of the Be Safe Wisconsin commitment to safety and education, we wanted to share their latest blog post on how to stay safe curbside.

Read the article in its entirety here.

Catalpa Health Supports Be Safe Wisconsin


Catalpa Health is proud to announce we have joined local health organizations, officials and advocates to call on Northeast and Central Wisconsin residents to maintain their active role in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Be Safe Wisconsin encourages community members’ ongoing commitment to flattening the COVID-19 curve, and we are pleased to join like-minded organizations and individuals in amplifying the importance of a sustained commitment to safe behaviors.

Now and into the future some form of social distancing will be a focus. Local trends, along with recent and ongoing experiences around the country, prove that we can significantly flatten our curve when everyone commits to social distancing and other safe behaviors.

Be Safe Wisconsin will serve as a voice of unity and as a valuable resource to area residents as we all seek to navigate this ongoing journey. Together, we can help save lives.

In order to do so, right now, Be Safe Wisconsin is asking us to:

  • Stay home as much as possible and practice good hygiene, including hand washing and sanitizing
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces, including mobile devices
  • Continue to use face masks when in public places
  • Remain at least 6 feet apart from others and wear a mask or face covering if you absolutely must go out

Visit to take the Be Safe pledge, sign up for updates and access local resources from coalition supporters and other organizations that offer online symptom checkers, community hotlines and telemedicine information

We are proud to be a partner of Be Safe Wisconsin and serve as a model for others around the nation of ways communities can reduce the virus’s spread and support our health care workers’ and first responders’ ability to treat COVID-19 patients.

Stay well. Be safe. Stay home.


Catalpa Health now offering telehealth visits

Catalpa Health, a children’s mental health and wellness provider with clinics in Appleton, Oshkosh and Waupaca, is now offering telehealth appointments via Video web chat or Phone.

If you have a previously scheduled appointment, your appointment will happen at the scheduled time:

 Steps for a Video Visit (at least 15 minutes before the appointment time):

  • Use your computer, tablet, smartphone or other device that is equipped with a camera and microphone (usually these are built into the device).
  • Use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers
  • Go to
  • Click “Our Providers” at the top
  • Scroll down and Click on your provider’s picture
  • Scroll down and Click “Start a telemedicine call with (provider)” inside the white box
  • On the site that pops up, enter the client’s name and click “Check-in”
  • You are now in a virtual waiting room and waiting for the provider to finish with their last patient and accept your video chat to start

Click here for a step-by-step video of how this process works!

 If you have technical difficulties, don’t worry. Your provider will call you instead as a backup at your preferred phone number.

 If we have not connected after 15 minutes past your scheduled time, please call our main number for help: 920.750.7000.

 IMPORTANT: In order for a video chat to work, your device must allow the browser you use to have access to your camera and microphone. Usually a pop up window will ask you to allow this, but on some devices you have to activate settings another way. This can take time to figure out. Please try out the steps above a few hours or a day before your visit (stopping before you actually check the client in).

 Steps for a Phone Visit:

  • If you do not have a device to do a video chat, or you would prefer a phone call instead, that is acceptable for most visits.
  • Your provider will call your preferred number on file at the scheduled visit time. This may come from a “Blocked” or “Unknown” number. So please pick up at the visit time.

If you are already a client and wish to schedule a new appointment:

  • Call our Catalpa Access Line – 920.750.7000

If you are a new family to Catalpa:

  • Call our Catalpa Access Line – 920.750.7000 and ask for an initial assessment appointment.

Catalpa Health to provide services over the phone as its clinics temporarily close

APPLETON, Wis. (March 17, 2020) – Catalpa Health, a mental health care provider for children and teens, has temporarily closed its physical clinic locations effective Tuesday, March 17, in accordance with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ guidance regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

Catalpa team members will continue to provide services to clients, including student-clients who utilize Catalpa’s school-based services, over the phone or through MyThedaCare to those clients with existing MyThedaCare accounts. The organization is reaching out directly to clients who are impacted by this change.

Catalpa will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to clients and their families. The organization expects to reopen in alignment with the public schools. If clients or their families have questions, they should contact their provider using their MyThedaCare account or by calling Catalpa Health at its main number, 920-750-7000. For updates on how Catalpa’s services are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, visit its website at or follow Catalpa Health on Facebook at

About Catalpa Health

Catalpa Health provides mental health services including psychiatric evaluations, neuropsychological evaluations, psychological evaluations and concussion testing to children and teens, as well as mental health therapy to children, teens and families throughout the Fox Valley, Oshkosh and Waupaca. A collaboration of Ascension Wisconsin, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and ThedaCare, Catalpa Health believes in community partnerships and works with other mental health providers to ensure that all children and teens are receiving the right care at the right time, close to home.