Our Medical Providers
John Nelson, MD
Dr. Nelson has been the Medical Director at Hospice of Humboldt since 2003.
Dr. Nelson graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts 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. Previously he worked for the United Indian Health Services, in the Mad River Emergency Room, and as the Medical Director of the Six Rivers Medical Clinic in Willow Creek. Dr. Nelson was also 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 provides professional training for our clinicians and consults on pain management issues. Dr. Nelson also provides hospital-based palliative care services.
Karen Ayers, ACNP-BC, ACHPN, PMHNP
Clinical Director, Palliative Care
Ms. Ayers graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science 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 (UCSF) where she completed the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program in 2003.
Ms. Ayers is certified in advanced hospice and palliative nursing. She finalized a healthcare leadership project and fellowship through California Health Care Foundation in conjunction with UCSF in 2015. In 2021, she completed a post-master's program to become board certified as a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
Ms. Ayers has worked for Hospice of Humboldt since 2011. During that time, she has also worked in both inpatient and home-based palliative care. She loves running, hiking, cycling, 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.
Dr. Heidmann 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 attended Humboldt State University and received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, then Medical School at the University of California, Davis. She moved to Duluth Minnesota for residency and trained as a full spectrum Family Medicine physician with emphasis on study in critical care, toxicology, geriatrics, and end of life care.
Dr. McAtee has been a physician with Hospice of Humboldt since 2018. She previously worked at Open Door in Fortuna in Family medicine and obstetrics before starting her own private practice. She continues to work as a hospitalist at Redwood Memorial Hospital and on the Palliative Care Service at St. Joseph hospital.
Dr. McAtee lives in Eureka. When she is not working she may be found kayaking, hiking, or biking in our beautiful area.