Gateway to Hope Welcomes New Staff Members

Wendy Behnke, MSW
Patient Navigator

Wendy is a candidate for graduation in May 2019 from the Brown School at Washington University. She has found a passion for medical social work and breast cancer advocacy efforts. Wendy has a strong commitment to work towards ending health disparities in the St. Louis community and she believes in access to excellent health care for all and that individuals are more than their diagnosis.  Previously, Wendy worked in a medical clinic serving children and young adults with difficult and challenging diagnoses. There she developed a strong passion for improving the situations of the clients she met.  Before becoming a patient navigator at Gateway to Hope, Wendy was a Master of Social Work intern at the agency. While interning she was able to expand her knowledge and deepen her commitment to improving the lives of individuals who are diagnosed with breast cancer. She will bring a strong level of knowledge and compassion to the patients she assists.

Heather Burns, LMSW
Patient Navigator and Outreach Coordinator

Heather has always been passionate about supporting those in need. She is particularly interested in addressing the health and wellness issues faced by women. The majority of her social work career has been in the medical field. She has an extensive background assisting individuals with navigating the healthcare system, addressing their biopsychosocial needs, and providing disease specific education and support. She has been an active participant and assisted with the coordination of a multidisciplinary specialized treatment clinic. Heather has experience in developing objective focused programs to educate health care providers and community agencies on specific diseases and their psychosocial impacts. A St. Louis native, Heather received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology from Maryville University and her Master’s in Social Work from University of Missouri St. Louis. Some of her graduate work involved participating in a pilot research project with Forward Through Ferguson.

Lauren Williams
Development Assistant

Lauren brings her experience and enthusiasm as a young fundraising professional with a demonstrated history of working in the nonprofit and museum industries to Gateway to Hope. Before joining the organization, Lauren worked as a Fundraising Assistant at the Missouri Botanical Garden for three years and has worked and interned in communications at various museums including the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Before coming to St. Louis, Lauren earned her Bachelor of Arts focused in Public Relations and Art History from the University of Central Arkansas in her hometown of Conway. She brings her skill set in donor relations, event and database management, fundraising, and communications. After moving to St. Louis, she quickly became interested in community and social services, with a particular interest and passion for women’s health. As the daughter of a cancer survivor, she has seen firsthand the emotional, physical, physiological stress that the disease causes and is extremely fulfilled to be part of an organization whose mission is to reduce the toll that cancer takes on the lives of people in St. Louis.