Meet the Experts: 2024 Bloom Expert Panel

Plans are well underway for our 11th annual Bloom: Mini Conference for Moms, and as always we are so excited for this event!  This year’s Co-Hosts are University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Team Iowa Physical Therapy, and The Children’s Dental Center, and we are so grateful for their support in bringing this wonderful event to all of the moms in our community.

Bloom 2022 Sponsors

Additional thanks to our Title Sponsors for Bloom 2024, West Music and Hills Bank. We are so lucky to have so many amazing resources and businesses represented at The Celebration Farm next weekend!

We hope you can join us for an amazing morning filled with local shopping, sharing of resources, fun snacks,TONS of giveaways, and our absolute favorite part: the expert panel.

We are so, so grateful to these incredible experts from our community who have agreed to come and share their knowledge with us.  For those of you who have never been to the event before, the panelists will each take about 2-3 minutes to introduce themselves and tell you more about what they have to offer to moms and families in our community.  After that, we will open it up for questions from the audience.  This is such a powerful part of the event; we absolutely LOVE watching moms ask all of the questions they’ve wanted to ask, and to have all of the right people there to answer them!

Without further ado, here are the 2024 Bloom Panelists.  Special thanks to each and every one of them for giving their time and joining us this year!

Diana Bayer-Bowstead, DO

Diana Bayer, DO, is an Immunologist and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at University of Iowa Health Care. Her pediatric specialties include allergy and immunology. Bayer received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Des Moines University, a pediatric residency at Wayne State University School of Medicine, and a fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine.

Laura Hanna-Bergen, CNM

Laura is a midwife and psychiatric nurse practitioner specializing in perinatal psychiatry at UI Health Care.  She sees women from teens through menopause and care for people during pregnancy and through the lifespan.

Pam Hoogerwerf, BS

Pam grew up in Iowa and attended the University of Iowa where she became a die-hard Hawkeye on the cheerleading squad. She majored in broadcasting journalism and health promotion but first went to work for United Airlines as a Flight Attendant. Her fiancé and now husband lured her back to Iowa City where she began her career within University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She transitioned over to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in 2008 where she began her role as Director of Community Outreach and Injury Prevention. She has obtained special certification in injury prevention and is a certified child passenger safety technician. One of the programs she manages is the Safety Store, where customers can obtain assistance with children’s injury prevention products including car seats, BOB strollers, HALO swaddles, cabinet locks and bike helmets. She is passionate about keeping kids safe and enjoys traveling the state promoting messages related to that. She has been married for 37 years and has a 34 year old daughter and a 22 year old son so she feels like she has been a mom for a long time. She loves all kinds of fitness and being outdoors.

Shelly Hsiao, PA-C

Shelly Hsiao is a Physician Assistant in Pediatric Psychiatry and an Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at University of Iowa Health Care. Shelly completed her Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and a fellowship in Psychiatry at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Shelly has experience treating depression, anxiety, ADHD, insomnia, OCD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and perinatal mental health. Outside of the office she enjoys gardening, traveling, playing the community string orchestra, visiting family, and eating different cuisines

Ellen O’Brien, RN, IBCLC, LMT

Balanced Birth in North Liberty
As a lactation expert specializing in holistic breastfeeding support, I am dedicated to providing comprehensive care for mothers and their babies. I approach each client with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to their unique journey. My holistic approach integrates evidence-based practices with personalized care, addressing not only the physical aspects of breastfeeding but also the emotional, psychological, and social factors that can impact lactation success.
My goal is to empower mothers to overcome challenges, build confidence in their breastfeeding journey, and create a nurturing bond with their babies. Through compassionate guidance, practical strategies, and ongoing support, I strive to foster a positive and fulfilling breastfeeding experience for every family I work with. As a Spinning Babies Aware Practitioner and massage therapist I also offer balancing massage to help create comfort in pregnancy and prepare the body for physiologic birth by fostering space in the body for baby to find the optimal positioning.

Kim Passini, PT

Kim graduated from the University of Iowa Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2017. She is originally from Ames, Iowa and completed her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University in 2015 with a major in Kinesiology. Kim is certified in integrative dry needling and has also taken continuing education courses with a focus in women’s health and in pre/post-partum. She additionally works as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa teaching case-based learning classes. In her free time, Kim enjoys teaching barre classes, traveling with her husband Kyle, and cheering on the Cyclones and Hawkeyes.

Sonia Reighard, M.A., CCC-SLP

Sonia Reighard is a Speech-Language Pathologist and owner of Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center in North Liberty, IA.  Her passion is to work with children who have difficulties communicating with others.  Whether it be articulation, feeding and swallowing, social skills, comprehension, or expressive language, she and the other speech-language pathologists and learning specialists at Enrichment TLC devote considerable time to acquiring training for research-proven techniques.   Sonia was originally an SLP in the schools and saw a need for additional services.  Like many schools, the resources and qualification criteria were limited, resulting in many students “falling through the cracks.”   This is why Sonia started Enrichment TLC.  They now service children from birth through early adulthood.  They are experienced in working with students who have a variety of diagnoses, everything from a minor articulation delay to apraxia of speech, feeding and swallowing difficulties, reading delays, comprehension, ADD/ADHD, Autism, and language impairments. They act as a bridge to help children who are struggling form foundational skills that are needed for success.

James Skvor, DDS

James is a born and raised Iowa native from Cedar Rapids. He attended undergrad at the University of Iowa, where he competed nationally for their Taekwondo team. Following undergrad, he remained at the University of Iowa and continued my studies at the College of Dentistry. After graduating in 2018, James began working at The Family Dental Center and practiced as a general dentist for three years. He has always loved getting to work with kids, but during his time as a general dentist, his passion for treating kids and those with special healthcare needs only grew. Therefore, he returned to school and completed a pediatric residency at the University of Florida. While there, he gained extensive experience in all aspects of pediatric dentistry, including trauma, sedation, and restorative dentistry. Dr. James had the honor of serving as their chief resident, as well as receiving the Todd Foege Health Advocacy and Leadership Award. He graduated from residency in 2023 and was thrilled to move back to this amazing community. His goal as a pediatric dentist is to not only provide exceptional care for your child’s teeth but to also make their experience at the dentist one they enjoy and are excited about.

James is also specially trained in treating infants and children who have tongue and lip ties. He has completed many courses related to oral ties, including the Tongue Tie Academy. As a father, he understands how challenges related to oral ties can affect many areas of growth and development, so he strives to help parents and kids overcome these.

Outside of work, you can find James spending time outdoors with his beautiful wife Makenzie, going to local events and embracing being a girl dad with his three daughters, tackling a house project, and rooting on the Hawkeyes. Dr. James looks forward to meeting you and your child(ren) in the near future!

Elizabeth Wikle, MD 

Elizabeth Wikle, MD is a Pediatrician and Clinical Assistant Professor of General Pediatrics at University of Iowa Health Care. Wikle completed her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine followed by a residency in Pediatrics at University of Texas Dell Medical School. Wikle has experience treating adolescents and children with complex medical conditions, though enjoys working with children of all ages.

If you don’t have your tickets to Bloom yet, ACT QUICK.  Ticket sales end early next week, and may end sooner if we sell out! Click here to get yours!

Iowa City Moms Blog
At Iowa City Moms Blog we’re a group of local moms who are passionate about connecting other moms to one another and to our community! Whether you’re an experienced mom, a newbie, expecting, or aspiring to be a mom someday, this blog is for you! Join us as we navigate this journey that is motherhood in the Iowa City area!


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