Developmental and Behavioral Services, Mat-Su Valley, Alaska
Richard Crisostomo, PMHNP, RN

Richard Crisostomo, PMHNP, RN

Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

As a psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Ptarmigan Connections my role is to provide children and families medication management, guidance on getting connected with various resources in the community, mental health education, compassion, and care. I will be participating in various events such as presentations and blogs to help grow community partnerships.

I’m from Nevada, where I obtained my Bachelors and Masters degree from the University of Nevada, Reno Orvis School of Nursing. Before moving to Alaska I practiced as a PMHNP for the University of Nevada School of Medicine. During my graduate studies I worked as an RN in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. I am excited to be a part of the Alaskan community and look forward to helping patients receive the care they need. You can find me hiking, fishing, and riding ATV’s during my spare time.

L. Michelle Grimes, PhD


I am a licensed psychologist with specialty training in working with children and families. My goal is to help families find evidence-based solutions to children’s psychological and behavioral concerns so they can move forward with achieving their immediate and future goals. At Ptarmigan Connections I provide neurodevelopmental evaluations for youth who have a broad range of behavioral and developmental concerns. I also have a background in evidence-based treatments for youth and families. I enjoy consulting and working on community outreach events.

I was born and raised in the Matanuska Valley. I received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Alaska, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Idaho State University. My internship and fellowship were focused on clinical child psychology. My predoctoral internship was completed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. My postdoctoral fellowship was completed through Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In addition to my clinical work, I am a faculty member at Southern Utah University where I am active in teaching and research. My family and I are thrilled to be back home in Alaska. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, needle-felting, gardening, and cooking.

L. Michelle Grimes, PhD
Ellen Kelsey, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist

Ellen Kelsey, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

I believe one of the most important keys to a high quality of life is communication: expressing your own thoughts, being understood, and understanding others. I want your child to communicate to the best of his or her ability and love to celebrate each successful step in the journey.

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas. I have received training in PECS, PROMPT, SATPAC, Beckman Oral Motor protocol, and LAMP and enjoy working with children of all ages and difficulties, including: articulation, receptive/expressive/pragmatic (social) communication, feeding/swallowing, fluency, and voice. Much of my focus the past few years has involved feeding/swallowing, as well as guiding children that are minimally or nonverbal into the world of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

Elowyn M. Smith, DO


Pediatrician Dr. Elowyn Smith, D.O. is happy to be part of the team at Ptarmigan Connections. Her expertise with children who experience complex medical, developmental, and behavioral health problems is an invaluable contribution to our community.

Alaska's Center for Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, Ptarmigan Connections, Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River, Alaska
Alaska's Center for Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, Ptarmigan Connections, Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River, Alaska

Barbara Caldwell, RN

Nurse Case Manager

Barbara Caldwell, R.N., BSN, case manager, is a native of Iowa and has lived in the Mat-Su Valley for the past 28 years. Barbara has been a pediatric nurse her entire career, and has 24 years neonatal intensive care experience. She has been a pediatric clinical nurse for 18 years, with 10 years as Dr. Elowyn Smith's clinic nurse.

You will find her with her grandchildren, cycling, hiking, and admiring wildflowers in her spare time.

Amber Shea, PMHNP, RN

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Children bring us great joy, deep sorrow, and amaze us every day. Sometimes we wish they would never get hurt, always do what's right, and live an easy life full of pleasure. Thankfully, even though this is not what we are given, we can choose to help them achieve the healthiest life possible.

As a team member at Ptarmigan Connections, I help children and families by providing medication management, complimentary and alternative solutions, mental health education, validation and encouragement. My experience in the field spans more than 10 years. I have worked with very young children to very mature adults, and enjoy all ages and stages of development.

My education is through the University of Alaska's Nursing program where I earned a bachelor's and a master's in nursing science. I am a nationally certified Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and I have a state license for both Registered Nurse and Advance Nurse Practitioner.

3 Amber Shea, Psych NP

Erika L. Stannard, PsyD

Psychologist/ Director of Clinical Services

My great passion is connecting children and families to healing resources. When a child is not developing as expected, it is common to feel overwhelmed. I help by providing early identification of developmental and behavioral disorders, educating parents and professionals about treatment strategies, and collaborating with a child’s wellness team for ongoing care.

My educational background includes a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Rochester, as well as a master of science degree in counseling psychology and a doctor of psychology degree from Alaska Pacific University. Additionally, I have a certificate in Primary Care Behavioral Health from the University of Massachusetts and a postdoctoral certificate in neuropsychology from Fielding Graduate University. I am a licensed psychologist, chemical dependency clinical supervisor, and supervisor for licensed professional counselors in the state of Alaska.

Heather Lee, MS, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

The greatest thing about us all is our potential, that capacity or ability to develop into something in the future. As a counselor, mother, coach, mentor and community member, my greatest interest is in helping people to meet their potential. Removing barriers, developing skills, gaining insight, healing trauma, and gathering support are all pathways to helping an individual live as fully as possible. I am excited to be working with Ptarmigan Connections to foster the potential in all our clients.

I received my BA in Human Biology from Brown University in 1991. I went on to graduate from Alaska Pacific University with a Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology in 1996. I am a licensed professional counselor with experience working in substance abuse treatment, marriage and family therapy, as well as group and individual therapy. I have specialized training in EMDR, psychodrama, equine and reiki therapies, as well as being an MBTI certified practitioner. While I have practiced therapy across the age continuum, I am especially drawn to working with middle school age kids and their families.

Heidi (technician

Heidi Walter


Bio coming soon.





Miriam Hinther, LPN, CPST

Nurse/ Assessment Coordinator

As long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. Over my many years of experience in the health care field, I found myself drawn to pediatrics. There is something about helping children to grow and succeed to become the best that they can be. Working with the families and helping them navigate through the coordination of care with their special needs child has become a focus for me. Helping them to find balance in it all is the goal.

I was honorably discharged from the USAF Reserves in 1997. My 8 years of service has allowed me to learn a great many skills. From my beginnings as medical service specialist working in clinics and the inpatient setting; to becoming an aeromedical evacuation technician that cares for patients onboard C-130 and C-141 aircraft at the end of my service. I graduated from nursing school at Southwest Technology Center in Oklahoma as a practical nurse in early 2003 and received my license shortly thereafter. I became a certified child passenger safety technician in May 2010. This skill allows me to assist families/caregivers with the transportation of children safely in a vehicle. I am currently working on continuing education that will help me to best serve the children and families we care for as a pediatric care coordinator.

Alaska's Center for Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, Ptarmigan Connections, Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River, Alaska
Alaska's Center for Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics, Ptarmigan Connections, Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River, Alaska

Bobbi Kousoulos

Office Administrator

I believe the most important resource we have is our kids and there is nothing more important we could invest in for our future then our children. I am proud to be a small piece of this puzzle in helping children have better futures and getting to know them and their families.

I received my Bachelor degree in Business Management in 1999 from Montana State University – Billings. I have been working in the pediatric field for 10 years which has given me the opportunity to work in almost every capacity in the office. When I am not working I volunteer as the director of Mid-Valley Wolves Wrestling Club. I feel extracurricular activities are important in giving kids opportunities to see what they can accomplish.