The Dell Children’s Palliative Care team includes two pediatric specialty physicians, a pediatric nurse practitioner, social worker, chaplain, and nurse. Our team members have the specialized training, experience, and understanding to work with you and your health care team to provide support and help you find the path that is best for your child and family.

Ann Marie Case, MD

Dr. Case hails from the Texas border, but has lived in Austin for over 20 years.  She attended Princeton University, UT McGovern Medical School in Houston, Baylor College of Medicine Pediatric Residency, and the UCSD/Scripps Health Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship program.  She has 3 adult children and enjoys yoga, trail running and traveling with her husband, and being an “empty nester”.

Clinical Focus
Since 2010, Dr. Case has been board-certified in the field of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and has focused primarily in pediatric palliative medicine since joining the DCMC team in 2013. The focus of this specialty is to work with the primary medical team to provide holistic supportive care for children with serious life-threatening conditions. Dr. Case’s goal is to improve quality of life by addressing the physical, social, emotional and spiritual stressors that come with serious complex illness. This includes assisting families with complex decision-making, goals of care discussions, and care coordination, and relieving pain and other distressing symptoms. Dr. Case also provides prenatal consultation and manages patients who require the additional support of pediatric home hospice care.

Passion for Palliative Care
Over the course of her career, Dr. Case has seen incredible advancements in medicine– we can cure previously “incurable” conditions and extend the lives of many children who never would have survived infancy.  As a result, there are an increasing number of families faced with the “rollercoaster life” of complex illness. Dr. Case’s goal is to make this rollercoaster ride a little smoother. This means something different for every patient and family, but her favorite part is finding out what matters most to them, and working with the healthcare team to align the care plan to meet those goals. Dr. Case believes that, for patients with serious chronic conditions, we can always do something to make life better, especially if that means taking away everyday pain or other distressing symptoms.

Dianna Yip, DO

Dr. Yip is a native Texan from Arlington and spent most of her education in various cities of Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a BS in Biochemistry.  She graduated with Honors from UNTHSC – Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, attended the Baylor College of Medicine, and completed residency in pediatrics in 2011.  Dr. Yip then moved to Ohio to complete a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Akron Children’s Hospital. She practiced in Cleveland, Ohio at the venerable Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital with an academic appointment at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Yip eventually assumed the role of Medical Director of Pediatric Palliative Care for nearly 5 years and successfully rebuilt the program. When an opportunity arrived, Dr. Yip was eager to return to her home state.  As an avid fan of a variety of different movement, Dr. Yip enjoys ballroom dancing with her husband and professional teacher, yoga both as a student and eventual teacher, hiking the many state parks, and the occasional run. You can also find her baking delightful treats, often with a focus on nonprocessed ingredients and natural sweeteners.

Clinical Focus
Dr. Yip enjoys a variety of facets of palliative care. From a medical side, she focuses on pain and symptom management in both oncologic and neurologically impaired individuals. She believes in a holistic approach, acknowledging the power of the mind and body connection. Dr. Yip is curious to explore integrative/functional medicine approaches to treatments and how these can be integrated into traditional medicine, rather than pitted against typical practice.

Passion for Palliative Care
Dr. Yip grew up in a house hold that believed in opportunity. Her parents not only emphasized education, but the arts as well. Though medicine sits on the backbone of science, there is also a medium and need for artistry. What Dr. Yip loves most about palliative care is it’s about listening to the story of a family and then walking alongside that family as they make life changing decisions in the middle of great upheaval. Palliative care has taught her how to use medicine to facilitate meeting the goals of quality of life for a patient and family.

Laura Cummins, NP

Laura has been living in Central Texas since attending Baylor University for her undergraduate degree and has been in Austin since 2013. Laura spent the last two years in pediatric primary care after receiving her masters at University of Texas at Austin and is thrilled to be back at Dell Children’s Medical Center working in her area of passion. Laura has two young children and enjoys outdoor activities, martial arts and music in her spare time.

Clinical Focus
Laura has spent her nursing career in pediatrics, working in PICU, IMC, urgent care, home health and primary care. Her variety of experiences have focused her direction in medicine towards health education, symptom management and coordinated care. Laura believes all aspects of palliative care are vital to quality of life, growth, and development in children and families with medically complex diagnoses.

Passion for Palliative Care
Laura’s personal and work experiences have led her to the holistic practice of palliative care. Her entire family is in healthcare and their discussions are often centered around medicine. The value of bridging patients and families to effective care by collaborations between disciplines and helping families navigate medical choices are morals Laura has always strongly pursued. The opportunity to walk alongside a patient and family as they encounter the difficult environment of healthcare is one Laura takes on with humility and great purpose.

Rachel Carnahan-Metzger, LCSW

Rachel joined the palliative care team in January 2012. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work and completed her palliative care training at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney, Australia. She is a social work field supervisor with the University of Texas and Baylor University, and loves helping to develop the next generation of amazing social workers.  Rachel spends time outside of work chasing her children around, swimming, and eating tacos for every meal.

Clinical Focus
Rachel was drawn to social work because of the emphasis on the innate wholeness and worthiness of every individual. She loves working within family systems, especially with medically complex children. Rachel enjoys partnering with families to help maximize coping in crisis and address the psychosocial domains of symptoms, suffering, grief and loss. Rachel provides intensive counseling as well as practical services for families confronted by life-limiting illnesses.

Passion for Palliative Care
Building strong and lasting relationships between patients, families and healthcare providers is the bedrock of palliative care. Rachel’s deepest passion is building these strong relationships with families, and walking alongside them as they navigate the challenges (and joys!) of having a medically complex child. The opportunity to connect with children and families in vulnerable, open moments feels like a treasured honor to Rachel.

Rev. Zachary Wheat, M.Div.

Although Zack grew up in northeast Florida, he has enjoyed the land of tacos and tex-mex that is Austin. After graduating from Florida Southern College Zack got his M.Div from Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Zack then completed his residency right here at Dell Children’s Medical Center, before completing a specialized fellowship in Palliative Care and Hematology and Oncology at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. He has now found his way back to us in Austin and enjoys his dual role working with the Palliative Care and Hem/Onc teams. In his free time, Zack enjoys training for triathlons and finding cool spots to hang his hammock and relax.

Clinical Focus
Zack finds many things interesting but the things running through his mind nowadays include: children’s spirituality (particularly play and school aged children), Advanced Care Planning with adolescents, and the importance of ritual at the end of life. Zack is also interested in the concept of spiritual and existential pain and its impact on total pain.

Passion for Palliative Care
One of Zack’s first significant patient relationships during his residency brought to light the world of pediatric palliative care for him. Zack’s journey toward this work has included many random little things that finally fell in line when he began working with this family. Zack thoroughly enjoys having the opportunity to enter into really difficult times and places with families and patients. Zack works to create opportunities to make meaning and fullness out of life, even when it may be shorter. Zack knows that life is worth living and helping families figure out what makes it that way is what brings him to work every morning.

Chris Salinas, RN

Chris is originally from San Antonio and came to Austin in 2012. She is a graduate of San Antonio College of Nursing. Chris has been a pediatric nurse for over 25 years and began her nursing career at Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, before finally finding her way to the palliative care team. She spends her time away from work with her husband and enjoys outdoor activities.

Clinical Focus
Chris has always had the passion to help others. She was inspired in her childhood, while in the E.R., seeing ladies in white who treated each patient with care and compassion. Chris knew then and there, that nursing was her life’s calling. Chris finds the most fulfilling part of nursing to be providing care, support and building a relationship with patients and families.