We invite you to meet our Team, the very people that are going to offer you hope for your child.
Matthew L. Newell
Director – The Family Hope Center
Portrait by Connor Trafton
Matthew has traveled and lectured internationally on all phases of brain growth and development. He has been certified at the Developmentalist and Teaching levels in Child Brain Development, and is a certified BodyTalk Practitioner. He is also certified in Craniosacral and Myofascial Release therapy. Matthew has taught and helped well over 15,000 parents in his 25 years of experience.
He has personally designed mobility programs for thousands of children, teaching parents how to take their child from paralysis to crawling, creeping, walking, running, and on to physical excellence. He has been awarded many international awards, including ‘The Founders Award’ from The International Academy for Child Brain Development. This is the highest award of the Academy. Former recipients of this award include Dr. Jonas Salk, Dr. Linus Pauling, Dr. David Krech, Dr. Jeffrey Bland, Glenn Doman, and Dr. Rhea Seddon (Astronaut).
Carol J. Newell
Vice Director – The Family Hope Center
Carol has over 25 years’ experience instructing and guiding parents of special needs children. She has taught parents to teach their children to go from blindness to seeing, from deafness to hearing, from an inability to read to reading at age level, and from far below average in intelligence and social awareness to above average in both these areas.
Portrait by Connor Trafton
Carol was certified with the National Nursery Nurse Examination Board in England, where she worked with healthy children and children with varying degrees of health problems for four years. Like Matthew, Carol has been certified at the Developmentalist and Teaching levels in Child Brain Development, and in Craniosacral and Myofascial Release therapy
Among her many international awards, she has been awarded the highest award given by the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, ‘The Leonardo da Vinci Award’, and the highest award given by the of the International Academy for Child Brain Development, ‘The Founders Award’. Former recipients of The Founders Award include Dr. Jonas Salk, Dr. Desmond Morris, Dr. Linus Pauling, Glenn Doman and Dr. Raymond Dart.
Bernardo Merizalde, M.D.
Bernardo Merizalde, M.D. has explored complementary and integrative approaches in medicine since 1979; starting with acupuncture and herbal medicine, and later integrated in homeopathy, nutrition and functional medicine. He performed part of his medical internship in the jungle, and a public health service year in the rural plains of Colombia.
Dr. Merizalde attended Hahnemann Hospital’s Psychiatry and Neurology residency program and became Board Certified in that specialty. HahnemannHospital was originally a homeopathic hospital. He found that learning about the mind and mind-body relationships helped him become a better rounded practitioner and gave him tools to address the emotional and spiritual components of healing. Dr. Merizalde has also trained and practice medical hypnosis since 1989.
The Medical Director has given talks and seminars on homeopathy and integrative medicine to undergraduate and graduate students, professionals, and consumer groups. He has also presented at Jefferson University, University of Pennsylvania,Hahnemann Hospital, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Temple University, the Philadelphia Psychiatric Society, the American Psychiatric Association, the International Homeopathic Medical League, and various consumer groups. Dr. Merizalde has published several articles on homeopathic medicine in clinical practice, and homeopathic research, in peer review journals.
Currently, Dr. Merizalde serves as the president of the American Institute of Homeopathy, the oldest extant medical organization in the US; the International Homeopathic Medical League, and a member of the board of directors of the Greater Philadelphia Society for Clinical Hypnosis.
Linda J. Baker, M.D.
Dr. Baker comes to The Family Hope Center from a private pediatric practice, where she developed a large and devoted following over a period of 20 years. From 1994 to 1999 she was the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Chestnut Hill Hospital, a highly respected hospital in Philadelphia.
Dr. Baker did a Fellowship in Ambulatory Pediatrics at Albert Einstein Medical Hospital, and a Pediatric Internship and Residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. She received her B.A. with highest honors (Phi Beta Kappa) from UC Riverside, and her M.D. from the University of California at San Diego.
Dr. Baker is a member of the American Board of Pediatrics, and of the National Center for Homeopathy. She is delighted to be working with the special children who come to The Family Hope Center, and with their parents.
Coralee Thompson, M.D.
International Medical Director
After receiving her medical degree in 1989 from the University of Washington School of Medicine, and family practice residency at the Medical College of Virginia, Coralee Thompson, M.D. began her work with special needs children at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential inPhiladelphia. As medical director from 1998 until 2006, the focus of her expertise included nutritional intervention, Quantitative EEG analysis and neurofeedback, and a variety of natural approaches to help in the assessment and treatment of brain dysfunction.
From 1992 until 2006, Dr. Thompson was a board certified member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other memberships included The International Academy for Child Brain Development, American Medical Society, and the Cranial Academy. She received both the Brazilian Gold Medal and the Leonardo da Vinci Award for her work in the International Academyfor Child Brain Development.
In recent years Dr. Thompson has worked with Dr. Philip Maffetone to create a holistic approach to evaluating and treating the brain, body and mind. She regularly gives presentations on brain physiology, nutrition, biofeedback and other topics to both professionals and lay audiences.
Andrea L. Stevens, M.S.
Andi has devoted years of study and practice to diet, nutrition, and human wellness. She is a Registered Nurse with an M.S. in Human Nutrition and a B.Ed. in Health Science. She is also a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Certified Body Ecologist.
Andi comes to The Family Hope Center with years of experience helping people of all ages improve their health through diet, nutrition and a comprehensive approach to wellness. She presents nutrition information through an education-based approach that is easy to understand and implement.
Family Hope Center considers proper diet and nutrition essential to the healing process for our special children. We are delighted to have a nutritionist of Andi’s experience, professionalism and compassion filling this vital role at FHC.
Learn more about Andrea and her private practice, HealthBasicsTM
, dedicated to using whole food nutrition and digestive system health to achieve your health goals naturally.
Gregory G. Fischer
Associate Brain Developmentalist
Greg has extensive experience in hyperbaric oxygen therapy, neurofeedback evaluations, and cranial sacral and fascia release therapies
. He joined The Family Hope Center in October, 2004. Greg is certified in Craniosacral and Myofascial Release therapy, and is a certified Body Talk Practitioner.
Greg comes to us with a wealth of experience helping brain-injured children and their families, including a half year supervising and directing the treatment program for a brain-injured young adult. He brings unusual insight and care to all his work with our families, and is constantly seeking new and better ways to help the children who come to the Center.
Mira Helena Bergkvist, M.D.
International Medical Team
I graduated as a Medical Doctor in 1980 from the Medical Faculty, Odense University in Denmark.
My practice has spanned over 23 years of clinical experience from Public Hospitals in Denmark in which I worked 10 years as a senior eye specialist. From 2003 through 2010, I practiced as a Consultant Eye Specialist. My postgraduate education included: Internal Medicine, Urology, Ear/Nose/Throat, Neurosurgery and Ophthalmology. My special concern and interest revolves around visual function and rehabilitation in the brain of all children and especially children with neurological challenges.
It is a great pleasure to join the staff of The Family Hope Center and help with the children.
Director of Education and Social Development.
Jennifer Paget has worked as an educator with parents and children for 28 years in a variety of medical, mental health, and educational settings. Jennifer specializes in helping parents promote social-emotional connections, dynamic thought processes, and effective, productive behavior. In 1990 she received her master’s degree in education from Bank Street College of Education in New York City.From 2006 until 2012 she was a Certified Consultant in Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®
), a parent-training program for the treatment of autistic spectrum disorders. She continues to integrate the principles of RDI®
into her work with families.
Barry R. Gillespie, D.M.D., M.S.D.
Director, Brain Therapy International
In 1975 Dr Barry Gillespie began his professional career as a periodontist. But because of his own headaches and sinus infections that his medical doctors could not resolve, he began his own healing journey into alternative care. When he found that craniosacral therapy, fascial therapy, and healthy living principles provided an excellent therapeutic combination for him, he applied these modalities with success to his adult headache sufferers. In the 1980s and 1990s he extensively worked with children to naturally correct common conditions such as asthma, earaches, ADHD, and headaches.
In 2003 he joined the medical staff at The Family Hope Center and taught the team Brain Therapy. They discovered that the breathing brain and unrestricted fascia were key components for the healing of brain-injured children. In 2006 he began his research in working with newborns. After evaluating and treating hundreds of infants, he published his third book in the fall of 2010. The Brain Score Approach
advocates the concept of excellent brain function at birth to optimize cognitive function for a lifetime and prevent at least thirty diseases. Dr Gillespie plans to spend the rest of his life in the healing of the world’s children.