Board of Directors

The board of IMUSA is a volunteer team of committed professionals in the fields of nursing, occupational therapy, infant mental health, early childhood education, and nonprofit management. 

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Joyce Ahrens, OTR/L, CEIM
President

Joyce has 24 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings. She founded Integrated Abilities, LLC, providing pediatric OT, infant massage classes, and a sensory-based rehabilitation program she has developed for seniors.

Early in her career, Joyce realized the importance of touch for quality of life across the lifespan, creating a Hugs For Health program at her workplace. Joyce served on the board of another non-profit for 7 years, and is thrilled to now share her skills with IMUSA. Her developmental knowledge as an OT and her experience as a mother to her two daughters is the foundation of her intense interest in promotion of nurturing touch, bonding, and attachment

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Dan Berman, M.Ed.
Vice President

Dan has dedicated his career to making an impact on the lives of children and families in Early Childhood Education. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Boston University, and a Master’s Degree in Child Studies from Vanderbilt University’s esteemed Peabody College. After teaching in New York, Boston and Nashville, Dan moved to Tampa Bay to run a large, nonprofit preschool. In addition to children, Dan has a passion for helping others in the field. He has worked as a trainer for the ELC of Pinellas, presented on a number of Early Childhood topics at state and national conferences, and taught college courses on Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction. Additionally, he volunteers his time as the Vice President for Infant Massage USA, as President of the Pinellas County chapter of NAEYC and in the child life department at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St Petersburg, FL. Dan’s recently developed and implemented a pilot program that helped new dads bond with their babies. “Who’s the Man?!” provided developmentally appropriate activities and opportunities to help men, primarily in high risk areas, connect with their 0-18 month old children, an age in which men are typically absent from the parenting process. He has also been an Infant Massage instructor and currently works as a consultant for the Children’s Forum, based in Tallahassee, on a project to increase quality and diversity in the ECE workforce.

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Michael Curtis, CEIM, CIT
Treasurer, Chapter Representitive

Michael has over thirty-three years of experience working with the non-profit sector. He was the Director of Rancho San Antonio Boys for over 25 years and Executive Director of The Heart Touch Project. He has been an American Red Cross Instructor for 35 years and volunteers with Jewish Home for the Aging and Trinity Care Hospice for adults, children and infants.

Michael became a Certified Infant Massage Instructor in April of 2000 and a Certified International Trainer in 2009. He has been active on the Infant Massage USA board for ten years, while also training CEIMS around the United States.

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Linda Storm, CEIM, IAIMT, IPMHC
Trainer Liason

Linda began her journey as an elementary/special education teacher. While working with children and parents, she felt that there was a huge need to work with younger children and parents. She found the work of Infant massage and became a Certified Educator of Infant Massage CEIMs in 1999 and an International Trainer in 2002.  She has completed her Certification in Infant Parent Mental Health from the University of Boston and is an adjunct professor at Cabarrus College of Health Science. Linda has presented at many state and national conferences such as the Zero to Three, Prevent Child Abuse America and has been published in national and local publications. She is co-author of the Sensational Baby Program.

 In 2005, she helped found Infant Massage USA® and was the Executive Director until 2014. Linda continues to be involved with the IMUSA Board and an active Trainer.

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Katie Lierz

Katie Lierz is a Child Life Specialist at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Saint Petersburg, Florida. She received her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education at Kansas State University and her Maser’s in Child Life from the University of La Verne. Katie has worked with children of all ages and in many contexts, including health care settings and foster care systems, but has always considered her niche to be infant/toddler development. As a board member of IMUSA, Katie hopes to use her leadership skills to help facilitate growth and awareness for the practice of infant massage as a valued tool to promote bonding, attachment, and positive development of young children.

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Joy Jessica Baumgartner, MHNP

Joy Jessica Baumgartner has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She has worked as a Registered Nurse in Progressive Care Unit, Mental Health, Home Health and Wound Care and as a New Parent Support Specialist associated with the United States Military.

In 1998 was the first time Joy learned and practiced infant massage when her first child was about a month old and continued to do so with the rest of her children until now. Massage is big part of her 4-year old’s bed time routine. Since 2009, Joy has been a certified National and International Infant Massage Educator. Joy is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Infant Massage USA.

The majority of Joy's experience come from working with families associated with the military. As the spouse of a retired military and mother of four, she is intimately familiar with the stressors and needs of families dealing with deployments. She is multi-lingual familiar with English, Tagalog, Cebuano, Vietnamese and developing Japanese. 

She currently is employed as the Program Manager of the New Parent Support Program, Behavioral Health Family Advocacy Program, Marine Corps Community Services, at the MCB Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan.

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Jenn Schaefer, MA, LPC, CCLS, CEIM, CAS

Jenn Schaefer, MA, LPC, CCLS, CEIM, CAS is a mental health professional currently working with the Autism population. She currently works at St. David’s Center within their Autism Day Treatment Program in southwest Minneapolis serving preschool aged children, and provides in-home family psychotherapy within her role in the program. Jennifer obtained her BS in child development with an emphasis in child life from Texas Women’s University in Denton, TX and her MA in Adlerian counseling and psychotherapy from Adler Graduate School in Richfield, MN. Prior to her position at St. David’s Center, Jennifer completed her child life internship at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in St. Paul and has worked as a certified child life specialist at Hennepin County Medical Hospital in Minneapolis. She is a member of the Web and Online Networking Committee for the Association of Child Life Professionals. Jennifer has recently begun her own practice to begin providing in-home child life services.

Ronna Johnson, PNP 

Ronna Johnson has thirty eight years of experience as a Registered Nurse and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, which includes 34 years’ work within the child welfare system focusing on improving the care of children with complex medical and developmental needs, by training, mentoring and supporting case work staff and foster/adoptive/kinship caregivers. Her passion over the past 8 years has been coaching, and supporting families caring for drug affected infants. This passion extended to families in recovery over the past two years, educating and supporting mothers in recovery prenatally and postpartum, focusing on supporting their recovery and engagement in best care of their babies with prenatal exposures and drug affects. Promoting strong attachment bonds is the foundation of the work of optimizing best outcomes for these at risk high needs infants. Infant massage is one of the most valuable tools that Ronna offers to caregivers to promote recovery and connection for these babies.