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Executive Leadership Team

Jared Perkins

Jared Perkins,

Chief Executive Officer

Jared joined the clinic in 2015 and is dedicated to ensuring that children with special health needs and their families have access to quality, comprehensive care. Jared is passionate about cultivating organizations that are committed to quality, work place culture and sustainability – as well as their role in system advocacy.

Jared received a Master’s in Public Administration through the University of Arizona’s School of Government and Public Policy and was inducted into the National Honors Society for Public Affairs and Administrators. Jared was recognized by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a 2016 40 Under 40 Honoree. He currently serves on the board of the Autism Society of Southern Arizona, and as an advisory member on the Arizona Governor’s Advisory Committee for Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Sonoran University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). Jared is married to his high school sweetheart, Jaime, and together they have four children: Zoe, Sylvia, Aidan and Asher.

Gemma Thomas

Gemma Thomas,

Chief Administrative Officer

Joining Children’s Clinics in 2015, Gemma has held various leadership positions and currently serves as the Chief Administrative Officer. Gemma brings twelve years of healthcare experience to her current position at Children’s Clinics, having worked with vulnerable populations in both direct care and administrative roles. Following completion of her bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Arizona, Gemma received her master’s degree in social work from the Arizona State University School of Social Work with an emphasis on nonprofit administration.  A graduate of the Arizona Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program and Greater Tucson Leadership, Gemma is committed to improving the overall health of children with complex illnesses living in the culturally diverse communities of southern Arizona. Gemma has been recognized by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a 2017 40 Under 40 Honoree and by Tucson Local Media’s 2018 Women of Influence Awards. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Museum Tucson and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southern Arizona Chapter.

Melissa Ritchey

Melissa Ritchey,

Chief Clinical Officer

Melissa Ritchey joined Children’s Clinics in 2017 as Chief Clinical Officer.  Melissa is responsible for the oversight of Primary Care, Family Support Services, Specialty and Rehabilitative Therapies.  Recognized by the Tucson Nurses Week Foundation in 2011 as a “Fabulous Fifty” nurse for her contributions to the health of the community, she was also inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society, which recognizes individuals who have exhibited exceptional achievements in nursing.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Tu Nidito, a nonprofit with a focus on helping children impacted by serious medical conditions and death, and has served as camp nurse for the nonprofit’s Camp Erin, a free bereavement camp for grieving children and teens.  Prior to joining Children’s Clinics, Melissa served as the director of Tucson Medical Center’s Emergency Department, where she oversaw the work of over 150 staff members, providing care to nearly 100,000 adults and pediatric patients annually in a fast-paced environment. Under her direction, TMC’s Emergency Department won the distinction of Tucson’s best emergency department several years running through the Arizona Daily Star’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Melissa received her master’s degree in nursing with an emphasis on clinical systems  leadership at the University of Arizona and her bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Arizona.  She is married to her husband Chris and together they have two children: Izaiah and Emma.

Chris Farley

Chris Farley,

Chief Financial Officer

Chris Farley has 12+ years of hospital experience in both the for profit and nonprofit setting.  This includes direct work with Renown Health in Reno, NV as a financial leader helping to grow their medical group facilities (including primary care, urgent care, and specialty clinics).  This work started with 6 facilities and grew to over 60+ in his 8 years.  This group also expanded from 100+ employed physicians to 300+ during this same time period.  His recent work includes Behavioral Health services in both Reno, NV and Tucson, AZ recently with Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital.  Much of his work has been focused on the pediatric/adolescent population in both a CEO and CFO capacity.  Born and raised in Reno, NV which included attending the University of Nevada and completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Chris relocated to Tucson in July 2018 with his wife Kelsey and their two children: Jackson and Brooklynn.  Chris is committed to helping achieve the Children’s Clinics mission and supporting our values.

Dr. Sydney Rice

Dr. Sydney Rice.

Chief Medical Officer

Sydney Rice is a developmental pediatrician and is dedicated to improving the lives of children who have disabilities and their families. She began working at Children’s Clinics in 1998 and has worked in the clinic in varied roles, including as a pediatrician in the primary care clinic, spina bifida clinics, osteogenesis imperfecta and developmental clinics. She sees children with varied motor and cognitive disabilities. She serves on the Governor’s Committee on Autism Services and is an advocate in the state and regionally for children with disabilities. She works on varied research projects that support the care of children with disabilities such as the CDC Autism surveillance program and directs the University of Arizona LEND (training program for professionals who care for children with disabilities).

Board of Directors

Roger Biede II, DDS 
Square and Compass Representative

Angie Wright, MSN-L, RN
Banner University Medical Center Representative

Van Elrod
President/Square and Compass Board

Misty Hansen
Community Representative

Kate Maguire Jensen
Community Representative/Ronald McDonald House

Jeff Lamie, JD
Tucson Medical Center Representative

Jaclyn Larson
Parent Representative

Rees Lee, MD
U of A College of Medicine, Pediatrics

Brian Nielsen, MD
Professional Staff Representative/Tucson Orthopedic Institute

Tracy Nuckolls
President, Board of Directors

John Stephens, MD
Secretary/Treasurer – TCI Wealth Advisors

Burt Strug, M.D.
Community Representative

Joy Upshaw, RN, MBA
Tucson Medical Center

Tawnya Tretschok, MA
Banner University Medical Center Representative

Katalin Scherer, MD
Banner University Medical Center/MEC President

Medical Executive Committee

Katalin Scherer, MD | Neuromuscular Medicine
Banner UMC, Department of Neurology

Rachel Cramton, MD | Pediatric Hospice & Palliative Care
(President Elect)
Banner UMC, Department of Pediatrics

Francisco Valencia, MD | Orthopedics
(Past President)
University of Arizona,  Orthopedic Specialists

David Crawford, MD | Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Children’s Clinics, Primary Care

Brent Barber, MD – Pediatics Cardiology
(Chairman – Medicine)
Banner UMC – Dept. of Pediatrics Cardiology

Richard Ashley, MD | Pediatrics Urology
(Chairman – Surgery)
Arizona Pediatric Surgery & Urology, Ltd. 


Jordana Smith, MD | Pediatrics Ophthalmology
Banner UMC, Department of Ophthalmology

Andrew Zale, DMD 
El Rio Health Center, Dental Clinic


Family Advisory Board (FAB Team)

Jaclyn Larson, Chair

Elisa Binder, Recorder

Adiba Nelson, Community Liaison

Kimberly Williams, Clinic Liaison

Selene Saenz, Patient

Jessica Tucker, Patient

Caryn Paye, Clinic Liaison