Hospice Medical Providers

John Nelson, MD
Medical Director

Dr John Nelson_webDr. 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.

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, FNP-C
Nurse Practitioner

More biographical information to follow for Ms. Schoenfield.

Erika Steffe, MD

Dr. Steffe received her medical degree from University of California Davis School of Medicine and spent her residency in Internal Medicine at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. In practice for more than 20 years, she is board certified in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, and Addiction Medicine. After a long career as an Infectious Disease Consultant, Dr. Steffe now works in Hospice and Palliative Care, joining the Hospice of Humboldt team in 2017. She and her husband love exploring new places and in her free time, Dr. Steffe enjoys photography, hiking in the redwoods, and Jungian psychology.

Michael Willett, MD


More biographical information to follow for Dr. Willet.