Meet Our Team
Our energetic and compassionate team is committed to providing excellent care to the families we serve. We have carefully selected each provider and staff member over the years to provide the warm, friendly atmosphere we are now known for. Our office is a welcoming, inclusive, and loving environment. We prioritize the health and safety of your children above all else. We do also like to have fun! You might see us celebrating holidays, dressing up in themed costumes, or just generally enjoying each other and our role in the GROW family.
Our Nurse Practitioner
MSN, RN, CPNP-PC
Jessica was born and raised in Southern California. She graduated from California State University Long Beach summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1995 and began her nursing career at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She continued working in pediatric hospitals until shortly after the birth of her first daughter. At this time she became very interested in breastfeeding, and transferred to working in Mother-Baby units in hospitals. Two years after her second daughter was born, in 2006, she moved to Texas. She has worked at Seton on the Mother-Baby unit since then, working both as a Registered Nurse and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She is a CPR instructor and enjoys teaching and precepting/orienting new and experienced nurses. She attended the University of Texas at Austin for her Master of Science in Nursing degree, earning her certification as Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She is also a member of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners, and is Board Certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
On her days off, you can find Jessica at the Cedar Park dog park with her two dogs, watching her daughter’s volleyball games, or at the movies with friends and family.
Jessica has a sincere interest in family-centered, holistic care. We are thankful to have her as a resource with her wealth of knowledge, especially in newborn care and breastfeeding, and as a provider who allows us to maintain same-day availability most days. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see her, we highly recommend getting to know her, especially if you are parenting a newborn or an adolescent.
Jessica is closed to new patients at this time.
Our Medical Assistants
Medical Office Assistant
Anuska was born and raised in Venezuela. She just graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with honors and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, with a minor in chemistry. She is excited to contribute to the GROW team with her ~2 years of experience at a volunteer-ran clinic. Her long-term goals involve medicine, research, and healthcare reform. Outside of work, Anuska enjoys hiking, camping, art, science, analog synthesizers, and reading.
Our Administrative Staff
We are always excited to connect with talented healthcare professionals. If you may be interested in future employment opportunities at GROW, please send us your resume here, and we’ll keep your information handy for the next time we are looking to expand our team.
In Loving Memory
Our beloved nurse, Sarah Stirton, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on December 17, 2017. She was the best of the best as far as triage nurses go, and was an incredible person filled with kindness, wisdom, and a passion for life. She poured her heart and soul into her family, especially her son Bennett, and her husband Andrew. She delighted in holding babies, reading, cooking, and spending time outdoors.
Sarah worked with Dr. Owens at her previous practice, and followed her to GROW. She was here from the very beginning. She is a legacy, and we miss her terribly.
Juliette Howes Owens, MD, FAAP
Dr. Owens was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, while her father, also a pediatrician, was in residency there. She subsequently grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana and moved to Texas in high school where she attended the Texas Academy of Math and Science at the University of North Texas. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Owens received her M.D. from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans.
Dr. Owens then moved to San Diego, California where she completed her pediatric residency at the University of California at San Diego and served as chief resident in 2003-2004. She finally got to Austin in 2004 and began working with the Seton Medical Center neonatology group. During that time, Dr. Owens enjoyed taking care of well and sick newborns (and their worried parents!).
She began her private practice career in 2007, where she worked for 7 years for an existing practice. She then formed GROW Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, along with Dr. Leigh Grady, in 2014.
Natalie Rusk, MD, FAAP
Dr. Rusk grew up just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard University and medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. She then completed pediatric residency training at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she met her husband who was one of her residency classmates. After two years of working in Urgent Care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Rusk and her Longhorn husband moved to Austin in 2006. She worked as a primary care pediatrician in Austin until 2016, when she and her family decided to relocate back to Philadelphia to be near her family. She returned to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a primary care pediatrician and took care of children in West Philadelphia. However, after two brutal winters digging out of the snow, she has happily returned to her adopted hometown (and the heat!) to join GROW in 2018. Dr. Rusk has been board-certified in pediatrics since 2004 and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has special interests in travel medicine, obesity, and asthma. She was recognized in Austin Monthly as a ‘Best of Austin’ pediatrician in 2013. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, walking her two dogs, traveling, camping, and trying new restaurants with friends. She also stays busy being mom to two very active children!
Laura Wise, MD, FAAP
Dr. Wise was born and raised in San Antonio and fell in love with Austin while obtaining her Bachelor of Science at the University of Texas. During that time, she cultivated a passion for global health during a semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where she volunteered with pediatric patients at a tuberculosis hospital. She also developed a love for newborns while working as a midwife assistant during her last year of college.
She received her Medical Degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, where she further explored her interests in border health, learned medical Spanish and worked with underserved populations. She was nominated by her peers to the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which recognizes excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service.
Dr. Wise was thrilled to return to Austin to complete her residency at UT Austin Dell Medical School. During her intern year, she met and trained with Dr. Grady during her newborn rotation. She first came to GROW as a resident in 2016 and joined as a staff physician in 2017.
In her spare time, Dr. Wise is an avid reader, plays piano and drums with Austin Samba. Newly married, she and her husband Eric (also a pediatrician!) cherish any opportunity to travel, enjoy the outdoors, dote on their two cats, and spend time with family.
Dr. Wise is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2020, she was named one of Texas Super Doctors Rising Stars. Dr. Wise became a co-owner of GROW Pediatrics in 2021.
Jasmin, BSN, RN
Jasmin has been a pediatric nurse since 2011. She has experience in pediatric critical care and pediatric pulmonology. Prior to becoming a nurse, she worked for many years as a veterinary technician. Pediatrics is her passion, and she loves working with children of all ages. Jasmin and her wife welcomed their son in 2015, and the family’s home is also host to several sweet pets. At GROW, Jasmin is is primarily phone-based as a telephone triage RN, and many of our families recognize her friendly voice as a source of guidance and reassurance. We are proud to offer this service daily- and grateful to have Jasmin in this position three days a week! Jasmin loves meeting the families she helps over the phone, so please tell her “Hi!” if you should see her in the office.
Erin, BSN, RN, IBCLC
Erin received her BSN from Boston College in 1993 and began her career as a Women’s Health nurse at Hartford Hospital. Over the course of the next 18 years, she expanded into Labor & Delivery, and the Newborn Nursery units. After her family’s move to Austin, she spent the next 5 years in Pediatrics before embracing her love of breast-feeding education and becoming a licensed IBCLC. She looks forward to serving GROW as a triage RN and lactation consultant.
When she’s not applying her passion to patient care, she loves spending time with her husband and 3 teenagers and enjoys traveling, baking and reading (when the spare quite moment presents itself).
Melissa, BSN, RN
Melissa came into nursing after having raised her family. She’s been an RN since 2012 working in the pediatric pulmonary unit, as a school nurse and with nursing students at UT Austin. Her special interest is working with new parents and their families, but she loves kids of all ages. She is drawn to pediatrics because, while she only gave birth to one child, pediatrics provides her the opportunity to love hundreds!
While she wasn’t born in Texas, she moved here 23 years ago and has put down some deep roots. She and her husband spend their free time enjoying international travel and learning about the culture and history of the areas they visit. They have one grown daughter who has lived on 4 continents and gives them plenty of new places to explore as a family. Melissa is our newest addition to our telephone triage team, and you will be fortunate enough to hear her calming voice when you call with inquiries about your little one.
Avery, BSN, RN
Avery has been a pediatric nurse since 2012, and has experience in pediatric acute care, school nursing, and research. In addition to her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Avery also has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Public Affairs. She loves protocols, policies, and research. We enjoy having this kind and intelligent nurse in our office when she isn’t working at a local children’s hospital!
Randi became a nurse in 2006, and worked for a local hospital for 12 years in both Labor and Delivery and the Transition Nursery. Needless to say, she has a lot of experience with babies! She has two children, and enjoys traveling with her family.
Randi has been with GROW since we first opened. She and her husband helped us assemble furniture and set up the practice. She has worked for us on a PRN basis since then! Randi’s favorite part about working at GROW is meeting and working with our families.
Alicia is the loving mother of two handsome boys, and enjoys BBQs and spending time with family and friends. During the summer you can find her enjoying some sun at the beach. Alicia is a skilled and thorough Medical Assistant, and excited to be a part of this awesome team; she loves meeting and working with the families at GROW.
Gladys joined GROW with 3 years of experience working at a local children’s hospital (with pediatric medical & surgical patients). She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry, and is studying for the medical school entrance exam. Popular with our patients, Gladys makes visits fun for our little ones and loves getting to know each of our GROW families. She is the official President of the “GROW Holiday and Celebration Committee”, and is responsible for all of our beautiful decorations. Gladys comes from a large, loving family and brings an incredible energy to our team.
Bree is from a small east Texas town, was raised on a farm, and grew up rodeoing. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in biology (with a minor in chemistry) and is proud of her love of science. She has been a licensed EMT since 2015, and comes to GROW with experience in ophthalmology and emergency/trauma care. Bree is multitalented, and recently has grown her career as a Tattoo Artist, dividing her time between that and her role at GROW. Outside of work you can usually find her on the greenbelt with her dog Archie. She enjoys staying active by hiking, longboarding, and climbing.
Susy was born and raised at the south border of Texas. She spends her time outside work on the bleachers cheering for her three children, who play a variety of sports. She has been a pediatric medical assistant since 2007, and has been with GROW from the beginning! She primarily works as a school health assistant, but comes to GROW for some Saturday clinics. Susy enjoys building relationships with our families, and recognizes many of the little faces that come into our office!
Lynette recently joined our team after many years of working directly with patients as a Certified Medical Assistant. She has worked in family practice and urgent care, and we are glad she landed in pediatrics at GROW. Lynette currently wears a few hats at GROW, as she is responsible for managing our referrals, assisting with insurance billing, processing incoming and outgoing records, as well as answering calls and helping at the front desk.
Emily joined GROW in 2019 as our Practice Manager. Her background in healthcare primarily includes oncology/gynecologic oncology, as well as psychiatry. She holds a BA in both Anthropology and International Studies from Wayne State University in Detroit, which is where she was born and raised. Emily is passionate about equitable and accessible healthcare, as well as childhood literacy, and enjoys connecting, networking and volunteering in these areas. She is committed first and foremost to excellent patient care, and is honored to be serving GROW patients and the amazing families she’s met in Austin. Emily has two young children, and a chef for a husband (yum!). Before coming to Austin in 2016, they lived in the Tampa Bay, Florida area as well as in Philadelphia. In her free time with her family, she loves to travel, cook, eat, experience live music, read books, and love on her beautiful daughters.
Shelly joined GROW in 2019. She received her Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Kansas. She has been a medical assistant since 2010, working at Seton Medical Center on the Medical-Surgical floor, as well as the Emergency Department and later in a Radiation Oncology Clinic. While currently preparing to enter a nursing program to become a registered nurse, Shelly enjoys spending time with her husband and two little boys. In her spare time she likes going out to eat and spending time outdoors with friends. She loves children and looks for any opportunity to hold the babies here at GROW! She is an “easy crier” so if you see her tearing up, don’t worry. She’s just so happy.
Claudia graduated in 2019 from the University of Texas at Austin with a major in Neuroscience and minor in Psychology, and started working with GROW shortly after. She is a thorough and caring medical assistant, loves being around our kiddos here, and you will recognize her by her bright smile! She is inspired by our GROW families and staff as she learns from them, and is looking forward to starting medical school in the fall of 2020. Claudia also spends time at an allergy clinic when she is not caring for our little ones. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, exploring Austin’s unique food choices, and traveling.
Cathy has been in the medical field since 2012. She’s experienced in front desk functions, billing, and insurance verification and benefits. Her past experience includes ophthalmology and orthopedics, but she’s always wanted to work in pediatrics; we’re so glad that her path led her to us at GROW! Cathy is married with two young children, and enjoys camping, live music, spending time with her beautiful family, and participating in her billiards team. Since the birth of her little boy, she has become interested in becoming a Certified Lactation Consultant, and is looking forward to where that journey may take her. Cathy has been gracing our front desk with her wide smile and infectious energy since October of 2019.
Kyra was born and raised in Houston, TX but has enjoyed living in Austin, TX and Portland, OR. She received her B.A in Biology from Saint Edward’s University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Healthcare Administration at Texas Tech. In her free time, she loves getting outdoors and spending quality time with her husband and sweet baby boy. She also loves to try new restaurants and learn more about other cultures. Kyra is thrilled to be a part of the team here at GROW and is eager to assist your family in any way she can. She’s responsible for referrals, prior authorizations, medical records, and so much more. You may even have seen her at the front desk while her team member was away on maternity leave, and she will still peek out and say “hi!” now and then.
Lindsay, a native Austinite, has been a pediatric nurse since 2004. She has experience in neonatal and pediatric intensive care nursing. Lindsay currently works part time at Dell Children’s and Seton Medical Center in the neonatal ICU. She has always had a heart and passion for pediatrics! Lindsay and her husband have three little girls and one Goldendoodle who keep them busy. She is honored to be able to help families at GROW and will be a calm and compassionate voice on the other end of the phone line when parents need it most.
Lidiya is a third-year student majoring in Public Health and minoring in African and African Diasporas Studies (on the pre-med track) at the University of Texas at Austin. She loves working with children, and has been doing so for the past 5 years. Extensively involved in community and volunteer endeavors, she is a member of Black Health Professions Organization, and has worked with UT Health both for Covid-19 contact tracing, and as a student assistant at UT Nursing School. Originally from Ethiopia, Lidiya speaks fluent Amharic. She enjoys reading books, meeting people, visiting new places, trying new things, and is super excited to be joining us at GROW!
Isabella is a student at the University of Texas pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology on the Pre-Med track. She is a Certified Nurse’s Assistant and Electrocardiography Technician, and obtained multiple clinical certifications through a technical career partnership program while still in high school in Frisco, Texas. She’s had the pleasure of teaching dance to young children, and outside of work, you can find her dancing, studying, or cheering on the Longhorns! Isabella is fluent in Spanish, is excited to be a part of the GROW family as a Medical Assistant, and looks forward to getting to know our patients.
Kaitlyn joined GROW in 2021, and will soon graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a BSA in Biology with a Pre-Heath certificate. She has her eye on Physician Assistant programs and is excited to continue her healthcare education. Previously, Kaitlyn worked as a Patient Care Technician as well as an EKG Tech in a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit. She is extremely excited for the change of pace, and the happiness and giggles that come from working with little ones. She is fluent in Spanish, having spent part of her childhood living in Mexico. Kaitlyn has a one year old dachshund named Pablo who takes up much of her time when she is not working or studying.
E. Elizabeth Howard, MD, MPH, FAAP
Dr. Howard grew up in New Orleans and stayed in the city to complete her undergraduate studies at Tulane University. She received her medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN and completed pediatric residency training here in Austin at Dell Children’s Medical Center in 2012. She worked in primary care in Austin for several years, then relocated for her husband’s job. She has recently returned after completing a Masters in Public Health and training in Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC. She hopes to use her experience to better address the health challenges in the Austin community. As primary pediatrics is her passion, she is thrilled that she has the opportunity to care for the families at GROW!
She and her husband are also happy to be back in the warmer weather where their free days are spent taking their two young children to eat breakfast tacos, walk the trail, sit on the porch at the downtown library and play at the Children’s Alliance playground.
Dr. Howard is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. She is currently working at GROW part-time, and we are absolutely thrilled to have her.
Gina H Duong, MD
Dr. Duong (pronounced “Yoong”) was born and raised in Houston, TX and dreamed of being a community pediatrician from a young age. She attended the University of St. Thomas in Houston and solidified her love for pediatrics while volunteering as a baby holder at Texas Children’s Hospital. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and was named “Most Outstanding Biology graduate” at St. Thomas in 2015. She received her medical degree from the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center, where her mentors and peers awarded her with the “Excellence in Ethics and Professionalism” award in 2019.
She moved to Austin in 2019 to complete her pediatrics residency at Dell Medical School, where she worked at Dell Children’s Medical Center, the Seton Medical Center nursery and NICU, and multiple subspecialty and general pediatric clinics in the greater Austin area.
Dr. Duong has a sweet baby boy (and two little dogs!) with her husband Luke, whose career is in biomedical research. In her spare time, she enjoys creating watercolor paintings, watching movies, seeing her best friends, and spending time with her family. She is bilingual and fluent in Vietnamese. She is elated to join GROW pediatrics in August 2022 and has special interests in preventative medicine, breastfeeding medicine, atopic diseases (asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema), and teen mental health.
Dr. Duong will soon be Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. As of July 2022, she will also be an Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.
Carrie Danner, MD, FAAP
Dr. Danner was born in Taipei, Taiwan while her parents were living there for her father’s career. After moving around a bit during her early childhood, her family settled in Houston, where she was raised. Dr. Danner received her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College, outside of Boston. While there, she played the carillon; the ringing of the bells in Wellesley’s beautiful stone bell tower. She then attended medical school at the University of Texas McGovern School of Medicine in Houston, graduating in 2006. She was active in many organizations there, and was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. She completed her residency at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in 2009, and soon after relocated to Austin with her husband and young daughter, while expecting their son. In the years since, Dr. Danner has had the privilege of working on a part time and/or temporary basis at many local Austin pediatric practices, a structure that she prefers because of the flexibility for her family and the opportunity to work with a wide array of patients and colleagues.
We were lucky enough to have Dr. Danner join us in 2021 as a part time pediatrician, oftentimes filling in when our regular docs are away. She’s loved being a part of the GROW family and enjoys being able to put patients at ease with her friendly disposition, making a “scary” doctor visit something fun. Outside of work, her daughter and son, now 14 and 12, keep her very busy. In her spare time, Dr. Danner loves to craft; mainly doing pottery and knitting/crocheting.
“Gris” joined GROW in 2021, just in time to participate in our over-the-top October Spirit Week. She is an enthusiastic and welcome addition to our clinical team. Having received her Medical Assistant Certificate in 2018, she previously worked in adult primary care. She loves working with our pediatric patients and having the privilege of getting to see all of their cute personalities. Gris herself is the mother of four beautiful children, two boys and two girls. They keep her very busy, and in her free time she enjoys adventuring with them outdoors.
Sydney, Medical Assistant
Sydney graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Biochemistry. She is a native Texan and has always had a passion for working with children. In her free time, Sydney enjoys trying new restaurants, going on walks with her french bulldog, and spending time with friends. She is excited to be welcomed as part of the amazing GROW Team, and plans on attending Physician Assistant school in the future.
Lesli recently joined the GROW team in 2022. She brings a smiling face and positive attitude to the front desk during our busy morning times. She has over 15 years of experience working in medical offices, including phlebotomy, lab technician and medical assisting positions. While this is her first experience working in Pediatrics, she is a devoted mother to two young children, and has most recently spent time as a stay at home parent with them. Lesli’s family recently moved to Austin from New Mexico, where she was born and raised. So far, she is definitely not a fan of the Austin area traffic, although she’s loving GROW and her new work community! In her free time, Lesli enjoys coking, baking, eating and listening to music.
Ramsee was born in Galveston and raised in Houston, Texas. She has always wanted to live in Austin, and in November of 2022 moved to town and began her journey at GROW. She’s excited to be pursuing her dream of working in Pediatrics, and is an incredible addition to an already fantastic team. In her free time she loves to dance- and sometimes performs with headliner artists. Ramsee enjoys festivals, home decor, writing in her planner and organizing anything and everything. She has a bubbly personality with a quirky sense of humor and big dreams. You’ll see Ramsee at our front desk Monday through Friday, greeting families and putting little ones at ease.
Lynsey, Medical Assistant
Lynsey is a graduate of UT Austin with a degree in Biology, as well as a Certificate in Children and Health from the Bridging Disciplines program. She came to GROW in early 2023 to gain clinical experience as she prepares for Physician Assistant school in the future, where she hopes to specialize in Pediatrics. Lynsey is wonderful with our little ones, and a pleasure to have in the clinic. Her hobbies include photography, camping, and, biking. In the summer of 2022, she biked from from Austin to Anchorage, AK to raise money for cancer research projects with a nonprofit called Texas 4000 for Cancer.