Meet Our Specialists

StarShine Hospice is home to specialists with a wide variety of backgrounds and areas of focus. As a team, this diversity makes us better prepared to care for your child’s unique needs. Learn more about our faculty and staff.

A photo of DonnaMaria E. Cortezzo.

DonnaMaria E. Cortezzo, MD Attending Neonatologist, Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology 513-803-4232

A photo of Hilary Flint.

Hilary A. Flint, DO, MEd Pediatrician, Palliative Medicine Specialist, Department of Anesthesia 513-636-5479

A photo of Lori Herbst.

Lori Herbst, MD Attending Physician, Division of Hospital Medicine 513-803-4829

A photo of Mark Meyer.

Mark Meyer, MD Medical Director, Pediatric Palliative and Comfort Care Team 513-636-4408

A photo of Rachel Thienprayoon.

Rachel Thienprayoon, MD, MSCS Medical Director, StarShine Hospice 513-827-7954

A photo of Norbert J. Weidner.

Norbert J. Weidner, MD Anesthesiologist, Department of Anesthesia 513-636-4408

StarShine Professional Services

Physician Care

Experienced pediatric and palliative care physicians are on call 24-hours a day to support the team in caring for your child.  These doctors work with your child’s primary doctor, and any subspecialists involved in their care, to provide an extra layer of support and to focus on your child’s pain and symptom control.

Clinical Coordinator

This is a registered nurse who coordinates the care of the patient with the family; assisting with obtaining supplies, medications, scheduling in home nurse visits, triaging your child’s needs, and discussing family concerns in partnership with the patient’s team of physicians. A clinical coordinator is available on weekdays during business hours.

Nurses

These are specially trained Registered Nurses who make intermittent home visits.  They provide nurse assessment and treatment; pain assessment and management in partnership with the physician; nursing procedures for the patient and support to both the patient and family. Nursing support is available 24-hours a day to provide help over the phone or with a home visit.

Social Worker

Encourages partnership of patients and families in diagnostic, treatment, and decision-making processes, while challenging barriers to involvement. Creates opportunities for discussion of emotions and/or tasks related to the integration of the diagnosis of life-limiting illness. Facilitates obtaining resources to assist families during this difficult time.

Child Life Specialist

Has education and special training in working with life-limiting and terminally ill children and their families, using principles of child development to provide therapeutic interventions, education, emotional support and resource information to caregivers/family, siblings and patients regarding palliative care and hospice conversations.  In addition, the Child Life Specialist can work together with school personnel to help inform and support those who are close to the ill child and siblings.

Chaplain 

A chaplain is available to support and attend to the spiritual needs of all patients and their families, regardless of whether they have a particular faith community connection or not. Spiritual care is provided through visiting and supportive listening; reflecting on upcoming decisions; discussing concerns or fears about illness or end of life issues; offering encouragement and comfort; making meaning out of the current experience; and offering prayer, sacraments, or other faith rituals according to individual needs.

Holistic Health Specialist 

Integrative Care begins with the premise that we have natural healing capacity. Healing is enhanced by incorporating safe, evidence-based elements of conventional medicine and complementary therapies.  This may  include massage therapy and other bodywork (energy work, craniosacral therapy), relaxation practices, and teaching techniques for pain management, comfort, & relaxation to achieve optimal body-mind-spirit wellness. Though patients are a priority, holistic health specialists also work with family members for relaxation and support.

Bereavement Coordinator

The process of bereavement can start at the moment of diagnosis. We believe that having support available when you need it, both during your child’s life and afterwards can be a positive factor in dealing with a very difficult time for any family. A Licensed Independent Social Worker with specialized training in working with grieving individuals and families is available to: facilitate difficult end-of-life discussions with the family and/or the health care providers; provide supportive counseling after a loss in the team.

Music Therapist

Music therapy has been shown to be an efficacious and valid treatment option for medical patients with a variety of diagnoses.  Music therapy programs are based on individual assessment, treatment planning, and ongoing program evaluation, addressing a vast continuum of outcomes, including reduction of pain and anxiety, stress management, communication, and emotional expression.

Through a planned and systematic use of music and music interventions, the music therapist provides opportunities for:

  • Anxiety and stress reduction
  • Non-pharmacological management of pain and discomfort
  • Positive changes in mood and emotional states
  • Active and positive patient participation in treatment

In addition, music therapy may allow for:

  • Emotional intimacy with families and caregivers
  • Relaxation for the entire family
  • Meaningful time spent together in a positive, creative way

Other therapies

Some patients are eligible to receive occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy in the home.  If you are interested in these services, please speak to a StarShine coordinator.

Palliative and Comfort Care Team at Cincinnati Children's

If your child is admitted to Children’s Hospital, the palliative care team will follow him or her for the duration of your admission.  The palliative care team includes doctors, nurse practitioners, social workers and a nurse coordinator.  Our role is to focus on your child’s pain and symptom management, assist with complex decision making, and to provide continuity of care with StarShine.

Meet Our Team

Download a PDF showing the various doctors, nurses and specialists who comprise the StarShine Hospice team. StarShine Team

Heartbeat Music