New board members named

New board members have joined the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (DSAMn). The new members will help DSAMn fulfill their mission […]

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New board members have joined the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (DSAMn). The new members will help DSAMn fulfill their mission to empower individuals and families, to create community, and to celebrate the abilities of people with Down syndrome. 

John Estrem is the CEO of Hammer/NER, one of the largest disability services providers in Minnesota. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Estrem has spent his 35-plus year career in ministry and Human Services. In 2012, he was appointed CEO of Hammer Residences. In the past 12 years, Hammer has grown significantly, most recently with an acquisition of Northeast Residences, another non-profit provider in the east metro area). They now provide services at 68 locations in the east and west metro. Fifty-nine of these locations are homes and none are an innovative apartment program with 24-hour supports. Hammer & NER also provides case management services, care coordination and operates Hammer Travel. Prior to his role at Hammer NER, he was the executive director of Episcopal Community Services and CEO of Catholic Charities. Estrem has spoken as a housing expert at DSAMn’s statewide conference and he is the former Board Chair of ARRM, the association of disability and housing and support providers. 

Dr. Carrie Muench is a board certified pediatrician who has practiced outpatient pediatrics in the west metro area over the last two decades. She has volunteered at several organizations that support individuals with Down syndrome, including the DSAMn, Jack’s Basket and Gigi’s Playhouse. She is currently on leave from outpatient medicine due to the needs of her family, but remains active in local volunteering and is currently participating in the Minnesota Partners in Policymaking course to learn about more ways to support the disability community. Muench has three children. her youngest has Down syndrome. 

Dr. Michele Olson is a board certified pediatric dentist and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, Minnesota Dental Association and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry. She received her bachelor of science in zoology and chemistry at North Dakota State University and earned her doctor of dental surgery from the University of Minnesota.

She worked as a general dentist prior returning to the University of Minnesota where she earned a certificate in Pediatric Dentistry. She also completed a fellowship in leadership and education in neurodevelopmental disability through the University of Minnesota. She is a clinical director of Special Smiles for Special Olympics and the faculty advisor for the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry Student Chapter. Olson and her husband have two children including a teenage daughter with Down syndrome. 

Tara Solem is the district manager and water planner for Lake County. She is a resident of Two Harbors and longtime volunteer with the DSAMn – most recently has serving as DSAMn’s Duluth and Northern Minnesota Parent Group co-facilitator. In addition, Solem is a recent graduate of Partners in Policymaking. Tara has three children. Her youngest has Down syndrome.  

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