Johann Peterson, MD
Coordinator of Activities and Volunteers
Debbie Barnes, MFT
Co-Director of Behavioral Health
Sarah Kerem, MFT
Co-Director of Behavioral Health
Director of Special Events
Director of Community Outreach
Outreach and Special
Patient Outreach, Referrals and Treatment
Donnie Hernandez, CPA
Johann grew up in Illinois, graduated from Brown University with a degree in Mathematics, and began his career as a software developer in San Francisco after college. He soon realized medicine was his calling, and went on to get his M.D. at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. He trained in General Pediatrics at UC Davis, then specialized in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Stanford University. Upon completion of his training, Johann worked as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UC Davis Medical Center for two years, but left to start the Pediatric Gastroenterology division at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, where he is now the Medical Director.
Johann is honored to participate in the medical care of the children of Sacramento. He has a special interest in chronic symptoms such as pain and nausea, and takes great satisfaction in establishing a rapport with his patients and their families while working together with them to manage these often difficult and disabling problems. He has a son with a complex medical history whose challenges inspired him to pursue gastroenterology as a career.
Alison is a native of Northern California. Growing up in Chico, she worked in her father’s allergy practice and learned the ins and outs of a medical office. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Spanish, worked in retail corporate management in the San Francisco Bay Area and then joined the staff of a not-for-profit career resource center. Alison has lived in Spain and Argentina, and she has volunteered her time as a medical Spanish-English interpreter. She now lives in Sacramento, where she founded and runs Stormlogger.com, a web startup focused on providing weather data for stormwater mitigation to construction project managers.
One of Alison’s children has a complex medical history, including a long-term feeding tube. The experience has made her passionate about bringing more humanity into the medical care of chronically ill children wherever possible. As the spouse and daughter of physicians, and a parent to a child with medical problems, Alison acts as an effective translator between patients and their families on one hand, and medical professionals on the other. She actively participates in the It Takes Guts workshops and summer camp.
Suzie Cohen has lived in the Sacramento area for more than 30 years. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School and Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she received her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and American Literature, Cum Laude and With Honors, she went to graduate school and taught English at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She received a Master of Arts (M.A.) in English, from UCI in 1967 as well as a California Lifetime Junior College Teaching Credential thereafter.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Suzie taught English at several community colleges in Orange and Santa Clara Counties before moving to Northern California after which she worked in adult and juvenile justice, social justice and corrections from the mid-1970s until she retired at the end of 2012.
In 1996 she opened a criminal justice, juvenile justice, social justice and organizational consulting firm which worked to provide justice system and human service agencies the tools to effectively enhance their operations and position themselves for the future. In this regard, Suzie provided analysis, evaluation, group process facilitation, research, grant writing, technical writing, and training services. She also served as an advocate for progressive change in correctional and social justice practices.
Since her retirement, Suzie has worked on, and championed passage of, the End of Life Options Act for the State of California and assists other not for profit organizations as a volunteer.
Madalyn is in her second year of college and has been working with It Takes Guts since the organization was first formed. She has personal experience as a child living with a chronic illness transitioning to adulthood living with chronic illness. This helps strengthen her relationships with the children and families.
Donnie M. Hernandez, CPA, is a manager with Croce, Sanguinetti, & Vander Veen, Inc. Prior to the establishment of Croce, Sanguinetti, & Vander Veen, Inc., Donnie worked at a local accounting firm for over 10 years. His area of emphasis consists of financial statement preparation, audit and assurance services for a variety of industries including agriculture, governmental and non-profit organizations. In addition, he also provides tax services for closely held businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations.
Donnie received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of the Pacific where he majored in business administration with a concentration in accounting. Donnie is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. Donnie is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Stockton Alumni Association.