Meet our experienced team of cancer and blood disorder specialists

The physicians and nurse practitioners of Children’s Minnesota cancer and blood disorders team specialize in either oncology (cancer) or hematology (blood disorders), which means they know the ins and outs of just about every cancer or blood disorder a child might face.

Our accomplished team consists of several types of dedicated professionals, including:

  • Board-certified physicians who focus on either oncology or hematology
  • Pediatric nurse practitioners who average 13 years of experience with the Children’s cancer and blood disorders program and are all certified by the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON)

In addition, we have more than 100 staff members who work specifically with the cancer and blood disorders program, plus we work with a variety of experts from other departments. Our extensive network includes pharmacogenomics, genetic counselors, geneticists, nurses, case managers, hematology/oncology pharmacists, rehabilitation therapists, dietitians, social workers, music therapists, massage therapists, child life experts, interpreters, and home care and hospice specialists, as well as professionals from many other disciplines — all part of our collaborative care team.

The cancer and blood disorders program is led by:

Susan Kearney, MD

Medical director

Director, Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders

Sarah Griffin, RN, MA

Director, Cancer and Blood Disorders Clinic &

Infusion Center

Justin Nelson-Deering, MHA, CPhT

Director of Ambulatory, Center for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders

Chase Elgard, RN

Manager, Clinic and Infusion Center

Pauline Mitby

Clinical Research Manager

Melissa Belling, RN

Nursing Supervisor

Marina Budilovsky

Business Supervisor

Hematology, bleeding and clotting, sickle cell disease

Kathleen Garland, MD

Program Director, Hematology and Gynecology

Co- Program Director, Stroke

Stephanie Fritch Lilla, MD

Program Director, Sickle Cell

Program Director, Thalassemia

Leukemia and lymphoma

Nathan Gossai, MD

Program Director, Leukemia &


Julia Gourde, APRN, CNP

APP Associate Medical Director

Michael Richards, MD, PhD

Program Director of Clinical Research

Susan Sencer, MD

VP Chief Specialty Pediatrics


Anne Bendel, MD

Program Director, Neuro-oncology

Harper Family Foundation Endowed Chair for Novel Therapies &

Cancer Research

Solid tumor

Adolescent and young adult


General Hematology Oncology

Kris Ann Schultz, MD, MSc

Scientific Director of CBD Research

Pine Tree Endowed Chair in Cancer