Hospice Medical Providers

John Nelson, MD
Medical Director

Dr John Nelson_web

Dr. Nelson graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Philosophy from Loyola University in New Orleans and attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco. He did his residency in Family Practice at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Nelson has been the Medical Director at Hospice of Humboldt since 2003. Previously he worked for the United Indian Health Services, in the Mad River ER, and as the Medical Director of the Six Rivers Medical Clinic in Willow Creek. Dr. Nelson was a Commander in the US Navy Medical Corps and lives in McKinleyville.

Dr. Nelson oversees all of the medical services provided by Hospice of Humboldt to our patients. He also provides professional training for our clinicians and consults on pain management issues.

As of May 2019, Hospice of Humboldt has a contract with St. Joseph Hospital to provide hospital-based palliative care services through Dr. Nelson as the Medical Director of the St. Joseph Hospital inpatient palliative care program.

Karen Ayers, RN, MS, ACNP
Nurse Practitioner


Ms. Ayers graduated cum laude with a BS in Nursing from Humboldt State University where she also completed her pre-med requirements. She received her Masters of Science at the University of California, San Francisco where she completed the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program in 2003. Ms. Ayers has worked for Hospice of Humboldt since 2011 and continues to work at St. Joseph Hospital. She loves running and gardening in the Humboldt area.

Jennifer Heidmann, MD

Dr. Heidmann received her music degree and later her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She has been interested in end of life care since medical school and was mentored by some of the nation’s leaders in palliative care during residency. Since coming to Humboldt in 2002, she has worked in clinical and hospital settings in internal medicine. Dr. Heidmann joined Hospice of Humboldt in April 2014. She lives in Arcata with her husband, three teenagers, dogs and chickens.

Joni McAtee, MD

Dr. McAtee received a degree in Chemistry at Humboldt State University before attending University of California Davis School of Medicine where she was also a member of a rural training program: Rural PRIME.   She then moved to a full spectrum Family Medicine Residency in Duluth, Minnesota before her return to Humboldt County to practice full scope family medicine.  She currently works as a hospitalist and primary care provider at Fortuna Community Health Center. Dr. McAtee and her sister, an RN, share a love of palliative and hospice medicine and now have the opportunity to work together at Hospice of Humboldt.  She enjoys cooking, ceramics, hiking with her dog, and kayaking along the Humboldt coast and rivers.

Katherine Schoenfield, PhD, MSN, FNP-C
Nurse Practitioner

Ms. Schoenfield received a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Humboldt State University in 2007 and in 2009 a Master of Nursing degree from Sonoma State University. In 2014, she received her Doctorate of Philosophy in nursing from Washington State University. Ms. Schoenfield has a longtime commitment to the health and wellness of her community. Before joining the Hospice of Humboldt medical provider team in 2018, her extensive local professional history includes providing care as a Nurse Practitioner at Eureka Family Practice and the College of the Redwoods Health Center and as nursing faculty at both College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University. She enjoys gardening and spending time with her two children.

Allegra Stroup, RN, NP
Nurse Practitioner

Ms. Stroup received a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology from Humboldt State University in 1989 before moving to Seattle, Washington where she received an Associate Degree in nursing from Shoreline Community College in 1993.  Upon her return to Humboldt County, she started a career spanning 21 years at Mad River Community Hospital, working in several different departments s.  In 2014, she received her Master of Science degree in nursing from Sonoma State University and became a board-certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.    Ms. Stroup worked with the Eureka Community Health Clinic for four years before becoming part of the Hospice of Humboldt medical provider team.   She feels very fortunate to be able to work with Hospice of Humboldt to give meaningful assistance to the community that she has made her home for the last 40 years. She enjoys gardening, going to the Arcata Farmers’ Market, and the frequent community art events.