Milwaukee Center for Independence: Assisting individuals with special needs

Meet the NEXDAY staff

Successful treatment of people who are recovering from brain injury or stroke requires a team approach. The Nexday team includes a physician, nurse, care coordinator, pharmacist, social worker, personal care worker, therapy team, psychologist and vocational rehabilitation specialist - it all depends on your needs.

Heidi SykoraHeidi Sykora, DNP, BC, APNP is an Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber and Doctor of Nursing Practice with extensive experience developing inpatient, outpatient, and community-based clinical programs, leading teams and promoting process improvements to raise the standard of care for individuals and groups challenged with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities. She earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from Southeastern Louisiana University, a master's degree in nursing from Marquette University, and a doctorate of nursing practice degree from Concordia University in 2011. Dr. Sykora joined MCFI in 2012 from Assisted Living Concepts, where she helped develop the role of regional nurse practitioner. Dr. Sykora was named a 2014 BizTimes Health Care Hero for her work developing and leading MCFI Nexday Brain Injury Rehab Center at Wellspring.  She serves as MCFI's Vice President of Clinical Quality Services and has been instrumental in developing the Nexday brain injury recovery program.


Dr. Patricia Stanik photoPatricia C. Stanik, PhD has worked with persons with brain injury in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She specializes in adult and geriatric clients. Dr. Stanik takes an individualized approach to evaluation. Evaluations focus on developing an opinion about the presence and extent of brain injury, prognosis for recovery and recommendations with an emphasis on returning to previous lifestyle. Her recommendations are cognitive-behaviorally based. She is an associate clinical professor at the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology. She has provided consultation to nursing homes, group homes, work sites, and sheltered workshops. She has testified as an expert witness in brain injury and guardianship cases. Dr. Stanik has been on the staff of major brain injury rehabilitation programs and is published in referred journals. 






Carrie BelskyDirector of Employment Services, MVR, CVE, CPVRS, at the Milwaukee Center for Independence, is responsible for the oversight of all employment programs on the agency’s continuum of care – these include assessment, training, placement and on-the-job supports. She is a Certified Vocational Evaluator and a Certified Private Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist. Carrie, who holds a Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, has more than 20 years of experience in vocational evaluation and functional assessment of people living with a wide variety of cognitive, physical and mental-health-related disabilities. She is also a specialist in Traumatic Brain Injury and return-to-work practices.  Carrie has been with MCFI for 12 years and was instrumental in developing the agency’s customized assessments and work opportunities tailored to the specific needs of both client and employer. Carrie is well-known among Milwaukee area businesses as a “go-to” resource for employer education on sensitivity training and supporting people with disabilities in the workplace.

Cristina Martinez photoCristina O'Brien, Physical Therapist, received her doctor of physical therapy degree from Marquette University in 2010. She also holds a bachelor of arts, Spanish language and literature degree, with a minor in psychology. Dr. Martinez has extensive experience in the treatment of spinal cord injury, neurological disorders and brain injury at Froedtert Hospital, Columbia St. Mary's Hospital and in the Wheaton-Franciscan health care system. She was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. She is fluent in Spanish and loves to travel. Her personal history includes volunteering as a trainer of physical therapy at a pediatric and geriatric clinic in Peru.


Amy Rieck photoAmy Rieck, Occupational Therapist, is a graduate of Mount Mary College and holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Amy has worked in a variety of settings with a primary focus on neurology and brain injury rehabilitation. Before joining MCFI, she worked in both outpatient rehabilitation and on the inpatient brain injury/coma unit at Sacred Heart Rehabilitation.





Kelly Kindschi, Speech Language PathologistKelly Kindschi, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, holds a master's degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been a therapist working with adults since 2002. Her primary areas of focus include swallowing, communication and cognitive assessments and treatment. From her experience in working in a level 1 trauma hospital, Kelly's primary area of interest is in working with traumatic brain injury survivors and their families.




Lindsey Kirschbaum, MS, CTRS, ATRIC, received her master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Wisconsin – Lacrosse in 2009 and has been a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) since 2009. In 2011, Lindsey became a first generation Sibshop facilitator and in 2013, Lindsey received her certification in Aquatic Therapy from the Aquatic Therapy Rehab Institute. Lindsey has worked with adults and children with disabilities in a variety of settings since 2004 and enjoys using various modalities to enhance the experiences of the people she is working with. Her primary areas of interests are in Multi-Sensory Environments and Sibshops. 


Andrew NearyAndrew Neary  is a board-certified music therapist specializing in Neurologic Music Therapy, with the designation of Fellow in the Robert F. Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from Colorado State University.

Andrew completed a 6-month music therapy clinical training internship with Central State Hospital in Georgia in 2007 and returned to Colorado where he worked in private practices and represented the Colorado Music Therapy Association as public relations chair. In 2007 Andrew founded Spare Wings Studio, a recording studio that served the special needs community. Andrew worked with Neurosong Music Therapy in Ft. Collins and provided adaptive guitar lessons, music therapy sessions, and state wide presentations on electronic media in music therapy.


Samantha Brophy, Art Therapist

Samantha Brophy, MS. ATR. PCTL, Art Therapist and Professional Counselor in Training, received her master’s degree from Mount Mary University in Art Therapy in 2008 and a Minor in Counseling in 2010. In 2006, she received two bachelors of science degrees from Eastern Washington University in Psychology and Studio Art.  She has been working with individuals with special needs in many different capacities for over 16 years and has been with MCFI since 2009. She focuses on the needs of the individual by adapting the art session to work on those specific therapeutic needs and providing an environment to express freely.  Her other passion is integrating clients in the community through art outings, learning from local artists and by client art being displayed at local businesses. She looks forward to future challenges and becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor.




View the MCFI Nexday brochure.

Nexday Return-to-Work Services

Nexday Overview

Contact us

 For more information about recovery from brain injury or stroke,  please call Nexday at  (414) 431.5422 or  send us an email. The Nexday Therapies fax number is (414) 481-1433. The center is located at our newly renovated campus at 3333 South Howell Avenue, Bay View, WI 53207, on Milwaukee's South Side. The building, designed especially for people recovering from brain injury and stroke, is entirely accessible to individuals who use wheelchairs and assistive devices.



 Your donation can help people recovering from brain injury or stroke gain the confidence and skills necessary to return to work. Donate securely online.




Lindsey Mages MSW, CAPSW, CBIS is a 2004 BSW graduate and 2006 MSW graduate of UW-Milwaukee. She has taken a special interest in the physical and mental health fields.  Ms. Mages has worked as a medical social worker since 2004 and specifically with clients and their families after brain injury for 6.5 years.  She became a Certified Brain Injury Specialist in 2009 and has continued to educate and support clients, families and professionals in their journey through brain injury recovery, including providing field instruction for UW-Milwaukee Helen Bader School of Social Work Field Students since 2009.


MCFI core programs are nationally accredited by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.) MCFI Pediatric Skilled Nursing has earned gold certification from the Joint Commission (JCAHO).

CARF logo

Joint Commission Gold Seal

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