Staff & Board Members
Mary has been a part of the Free Clinic since its doors first opened in April 2007. She is proud to be affiliated with a program that has such a significant impact on the quality of people’s life. She earned a degree in Education and Human Services from the University of WI-Oshkosh and has worked in the non-profit sector throughout her career.
Jena is a Registered Nurse with 17 years of nursing experience working in Public Health for Ramsey County and Pierce County. She joined the Free Clinic team in June of 2015. She has been an advocate for under-served populations and makes working at the Free Clinic a great fit.
Robert Johnson, MD
Dr. Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School and has been board certified for over 30 years. He completed his residency at Bethesda Lutheran Hospital and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and Western Wisconsin Medical Association. He practiced at the Vibrant Health River Falls Medical Clinic (previously the River Falls Medical Clinic) in addition to the countless volunteer hours donated to the Free Clinic of Pierce & St. Croix Counties as the Medica Director and a practitioner providing care to patients of the Free Clinic on a regular weekly basis.
Leah Gavin, RPh
Leah is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and has been a pharmacist for over 30 years. She is owner of Freeman Drug Store in River Falls that has been a family based business since she was a child. As the Free Clinics’ Pharmaceutical Director she has volunteered a significant amount of time including dispensing medications to patients that were prescribed by one of the Free Clinic Health Care Providers on clinic nights. Leah enjoys quilting and spending time with her family including her two beautiful grandchildren. She is well-known in the River Falls community for commitment to going the extra mile to help those in need.
Brad worked with the Aging Resource Center for Douglas County for 15 years. Throughout that time, Brad has been involved with many non-profit boards and is currently the Chair of Greater Wisconsin Chapter for the Alzheimer’s Association and on the advisory board for the State of Wisconsin’s “Include, Respect I Self-Direct” (IRIS) program. He is a former chair of the Duluth-Superior Transit Authority and a former national delegate member for the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2005, Brad was awarded Governor Doyle’s Senior Service Award. Brad taught at the Fond du Lac Community and Tribal School in Cloquet, Minnesota for several years. Brad is a graduate of social work at University of Wisconsin-Superior and lives in North Hudson.
Leo has lived in the River Falls area all of his life, graduating from UWRF in 1973 and Hamline University School of Law in 1978. He and his wife Donna enjoy spending time at the cabin and being with their 3 adult children and their families, which now include 4 grandchildren.
“I enjoy being a part of the Free Clinic because of the commitment of the people involved in bringing this needed service to the community. In the tough economic times we live in, we can ensure that the Free Clinic will have the tools and resources it needs to provide medical attention to those who need it most. ”
Mary Conroy-Johnson (Board Chair)
Mary and her husband Dr. Bob Johnson are the backbone of the Free Clinic. It was their passion for helping others, a commitment to the healthcare profession, and a deep desire to strengthening our community that prompted them to step forward as leaders in starting the Free Clinic. Mary’s extensive nursing background, patient advocacy skills and community connections were instrumental in making a dream of providing access to health care for uninsured, low income individuals a reality. She continues to stay actively involved in the Free Clinic and has dedicated an amazing amount of her time, talent and energy. Since moving to River Falls in 1978, Mary has served in various community activities and enjoys quilting, gardening and spending time with her family, including her two sons, daughter-in-law, grandson with another one on his way!
Julie and her husband Dave live in Spring Valley. They have two adult sons who live in the Eau Claire area. Together, they enjoy golfing, gardening, and watching the Brewers play.
“I enjoy being a part of the Free Clinic because the Free Clinic has made a difference for many individuals and families and it’s a blessing to be part of that. It is so important to have an option of health care for individuals who find themselves without health insurance. We are so fortunate to have the Free Clinic incorporated into Vibrant Health Family Clinics to serve the best interest of all of our patients.”
Julie and her husband, Mark, live in River Falls where they’ve raised their four children. Their family continues to grow with son-in-laws and grandchildren. Julie is a Business Banker/CPA with Bremer Bank, N.A. Prior to joining Bremer, she worked in public accounting and as CFO for a manufacturing company. Spending time with family and volunteering are very important to Julie.
““I enjoy being a part of the Free Clinic because I feel that I am helping my community through my involvement with the Free Clinic. Our community needs each of us in many ways -- financially, spiritually and otherwise. As a board member, I am able to offer my experience and compassion to indirectly help families be in a better place. Everyone needs to believe that there is hope and possibilities. Volunteering with the Free Clinic is my way of sharing hope and possibilities with families and our community."
Father Gerald Harris
Fr. Jerry, as he is known to many, grew up in River Falls, and had worked as a registered nurse, which to this day, still is. He has been in ministry for 32 years and touches the lives of all that he serves. Offering leadership to the Free Clinic is one example of the leadership he provides to the community and his desire to actively get involved in such outreach efforts.
“I enjoy being a part of the Free Clinic because I feel I can make a difference in people that simply need access to health care through no fault of their own. A society is judged in how it cares for those most in need.”