Rural Health Perspectives Panel
Aida Bise, MS
Director of Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Services
Family Health La Clinica
Aida Bise is Director of Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Services for Family Health La Clinica (FHLC) based out of Wautoma, WI. Aida brings to FHLC over 20 years of experience working with migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Aida received her Bachelor of Science in Human Services from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and her Master of Science Degree in Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Aida was born and raised in Texas and moved to Wisconsin in 2000. She currently lives in Oshkosh, WI.
Chris Frakes, M Div, PhD
Senior Director of Programs & Services
Southwest Wisconsin Community Action Program, Inc.
Chris Frakes earned a Masters of Divinity in 1994 with the intention of serving rural communities, aware of both the stigma associated with seeking mental and behavioral health services and the scarcity of social service resources available in smaller, rural communities. She went on to complete a PhD in 2004, focusing her work in ethics and practices that center the wellbeing of the most vulnerable. Chris has worked with Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program since 2019. She started the Farm Well WI program, which focuses on improving the mental health and wellbeing of farmers, farmworkers and their families. In her current role she supervises all of SWCAP’s programs & services and works with program managers and community partners to increase our collective impact on the causes and conditions of poverty in southwestern Wisconsin.
Laura Sauve, BSN, RN, PS
Public Health Nurse
Barron County Department of Health and Human Services
Laura Sauve, BSN, RN, PS (prevention specialist), graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire School of Nursing in 1993. She has worked in public health programs for more than 30 years and has experience in multiple program areas. She served as the Barron County Health officer from August 2016 through May 2023. In May 2023, she stepped down to a staff public health nurse position.
Public Health Assistant
Florence County Health Department
Collaborative for Equitable Mental Health Services in Madison Schools Project Panel
Director of Program Planning and Evaluation Esperanza
Centro Hispano of Dane County
Evelyn Cruz provides leadership for Esperanza: Nuestra Cultura de Salud, a Wisconsin Partnership Program funded community and academic partnership between Centro Hispano and UW School of Education psychology programs, to promote equity for Latine mental health and wellbeing. Esperanza’s work is grounded on healing ethno and racial trauma (HEART) and radical healing models. Evelyn worked at the Wisconsin State Health Department as the Minority Health Officer, and as Maternal and Child Health Equity Consultant. Evelyn has over 20 years of program development and implementation of local and statewide initiatives to improve working conditions and health and wellbeing of racial and ethnic minoritized populations in Wisconsin.
Katie Eklund, PhD, NCSP
School Psychology Program
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr. Katie Eklund is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the School Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to ntering academia, Dr. Eklund worked in public education for 10 years as a school administrator, school psychologist, and school social worker. She is currently a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and licensed Psychologist. Dr. Eklund’s research focuses on school mental health, including early detection and intervention for children who have behavioral and social-emotional concerns, culturally-responsive mental health interventions, social emotional learning, school climate, and school safety. Dr. Eklund serves as Co-Director of the Madison Education Partnership, a research-practice partnership between Madison Metropolitan School District and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also serves as Co-Director of the School Mental Health Collaborative, a center focuses on conducting research that informs policy and practices related to the promotion of the social emotional and behavioral success of all students.
Community Advisor Board Member & Mother
Keisha Marsh has been an active member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Prevention Research Center Community Advisory Board (CAB) since 2021. Keisha holds an associate degree in Nursing (RN, LPN) from Madison Area Technical College, as well as certifications to practice as a Nursing Assistant/Childcare Provider and Health Unit Coordinator. Keisha is a single mother of seven children. Yes, seven, but a strong praying mother of seven she often forgets to mention. Keisha loves to listen to music, cook, decorate, meditate, pray, inspire others with gifts and surprises, and spend time with her family. As a natural-born leader and advocate, Keisha is deeply passionate about working with families with Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). She works to help children of all ages have a fair chance at being successful by holding MMSD accountable for their success. Keisha plans to become a motivational speaker for adolescents with learning disabilities and women who have experienced mental/physical abuse and trauma.
Kristen Guetschow, PhD
Director of Mental Health
Madison Metropolitan School District
Kristen Guetschow is currently working as the Director of Mental Health for the Madison Metropolitan School District. She has worked as a school psychologist for 20+ years at all levels before this current role. She loves working with community partners and school staff to be in service of students and families to support student mental health and wellbeing. She completed her undergraduate and PhD work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Head of School
Woodland Montessori School
Lisa Berry, Head of School at Woodland Montessori School, boasts 25 years of experience in the educational field. Lisa aims to promote mental wellness for both children and adults in the Madison community. As a mother of four and a Gigi to three adorable little ones, she is deeply committed to advocating for the mental well-being of her community. She is privileged to have been granted the opportunity to speak behind the scenes on various platforms, ensuring that all voices are heard. Lisa looks forward to continuing to participate in these platforms and contribute to the crucial conversation on mental wellness.
Nelsie Stern, MS, LPC
Associate Director of School-Based Mental Health
Journey Mental Health Center
Nelsie Stern is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has been practicing for the last 12 years. With a focus on trauma therapy, she has worked with children and families in New Orleans and Madison. Nelsie is the Associate Director of School-Based Mental Health at Journey Mental Health Center, managing the REST (Resilient response to the Effects of Stress and Trauma) Program which helps schools identify and support students with social emotional and mental health needs. The REST Program provides Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) groups for 8 school districts across Dane County. She also manages the Behavioral Health in Schools program in partnership with Sun Prairie Area School District. She is a co-chair of the Children’s Mental Health Collaborative.
Children with Special Health Care Needs: Parents & Siblings Share Their Experiences
Healing Our Hearts Foundation
Felica Turner-Walton is the Executive Director of Healing Our Hearts Foundation. Her work as an advocate for Infant and Maternal Health started after the passing of her son Zaire in 2016. A native of Detroit, MI, Felica grew up in Greenwood, MS where she saw first-hand the lack of support for families in loss due to gun violence, infant/maternal loss, or natural causes.
At an early age, Felica knew she would in some way be in the medical field, having her great grandmother be diagnosed with and succumbing to complications related to Alzheimer’s and her Godmother passing from natural causes. In early 2002 Felicia’s son was diagnosed with epilepsy. After moving to Wisconsin, she found out that her son was improperly diagnosed. Today he is 26 yrs old and a father of two beautiful girls – one who has Turner’s syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects females. The lack of support she and her family received around their loss ignited a fire within her and catapulted her drive to create a support services organization focused on supporting Black families in loss to help heal some of the trauma and hurt that grief can cause.
Felica currently holds Wisconsin certifications as a Peer Support Specialist and Parent Peer Support Specialist. Felica is also a Maternal Mental Health Peer Support Specialist. She is a Birth and Bereavement Doula. Felica is a wife and mother of 6 children (two, which are not Earthside), working passionately as a Grief Coach and Certified Grief Educator in honor of her children. She is a graduate of United Way’s Boardwalk Program and University of Wisconsin Odyssey Program. She is also a current LEND trainee, supporting initiatives for families of Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs (CYSHN).
Felica volunteers with many organizations within Dane County and strives to push partnerships and collaborations. She likes to spend her time helping others along their own healing journey. In her spare time, Felica loves crafting, traveling, and spending time with her family.
She is a recipient of the 2022 Amy Awards, dedicated to Amy and Jocelyn Gannon.
Family Engagement Specialist
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ida Winters is the mother of three wonderful young men who all live with special healthcare needs and one who received a late diagnosis of Autism. Ida is committed to being the person that she needed during her and her children’s journey to and through a diagnosis and being an avid advocate for change at home, in her community, and wherever she is needed. Ida strongly believes the only way for change to truly happen is by educating and empowering the underserved, underprivileged, underrepresented, as well as overlooked, populations and changing the narrative from “underserved to well served!”
Ida is the founder of Sankofa Midwest and currently works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center as an Outreach Associate, Wisconsin Care Integration Initiative (WiCII) Family Engagement Specialist. Additionally, she works with the Wisconsin Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (WI LEND Program) as a Family Peer Mentor and LCS co-facilitator. Ida is a former Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs Family Leader. Ida is a LEND graduate and was named as the Association of University Centers on Disabilities 2020-2021 Emerging Leader for Wisconsin. Ida is also part of the WI LEND planning committee, community engagement, ECHO Autism and Anxiety, Accelerated Equity Learning Community (AELC) team with the National Maternal Child Health Workforce Development Center (WI), and currently works with Autism Society of Southeastern WI. She serves a member of the National Resource Center for Patient/Family-Centered Medical Home Health Equity Subcommittee (NRC-PFCMH).
In the past, Ida has worked as an Autism Family Navigator at the Next Step Clinic in Milwaukee, WI. providing developmental screenings, referrals, supports, and education to families, caregivers, and professionals about child development and the importance of early identification. Ida was co-chair of Next Step Clinic’s Community Advisory Board and co-chair of the Milwaukee Coalition for Children’s Mental Health Community of Practice Community Health Worker Strategy. She has worked as a Family Advocate and Wellness Coach in Mental Health America of Wisconsin’s Strong Family Healthy Home program and worked with the Autism Society of Southeastern WI as a group facilitator (Morning Coffee).
Lakeeta Watts, AAS, CHW, CD, CLS, CPES, CBE
Essentially Empowered, Inc.
Lakeeta Watts is the founder and Executive Director of Essentially Empowered, Inc., an organization based in Milwaukee that services multiple counties in Southeast Wisconsin. Essentially Empowered provides youth development opportunities, resource and referral services, trauma-informed programming, and full spectrum doula support. Lakeeta is a Certified Community Health Worker, Full Spectrum Holistic Doula, Certified Lactation Specialist, and Student Midwife. Lakeeta aims to reduce health disparities experienced by people of color through trauma-informed care, advocacy, and policy change.
LaNiyah Alexander, 15, is a Youth Ambassador of Essentially Empowered, Inc. and a student in the Upward Bound program at Marquette University. She is trained in trauma-informed care for birth workers, birthing from the core, unassisted birthing, and CPR.
LaNiyah is Lakeeta Watts’ daughter.
Integrating Mental Health Service for Women & Infants into Wisconsin Home Visiting: Voices from the Field
Franchesca Vasquez, LCSW
Counseling & Consulting Professionals, LLC
Franchesca Carley Vasquez, LCSW, is an outpatient mental health clinician providing individual, dyadic, and family therapy in the Brown County area. Before obtaining a master’s degree, she spent over 15 years as a home visitor and program manager supporting children and families in their early years of life. Franchesca completed the Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health Certificate Program through the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 and has been facilitating the Mother-Infant Therapy Group in varying roles since 2017. Franchesca finds joy in supporting primary caregivers and young children with attachment and enhancing their emotional well-being.
Kathleen Hipke, PhD
Core Research Project Director
Kathleen Hipke, PhD, is the Director of the UWPRC Core Research Project. Dr. Hipke is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She has professional roots in prevention science and extensive experience in the treatment of and professional training related to perinatal, infant and early childhood mental health.
Nichole Brown, AA
Family & Childchare Resources of N.E.W.
Nichole Brown is a Parent Educator at Family & Childcare Resources of N.E.W. in Green Bay, WI. Nichole holds an associate degree in Applied Science/Human Services and a technical diploma in Substance Abuse Counseling. Nichole is a certified Early Childhood Professional and licensed Family Childcare Professional.
Shelby Belanger-Beeker, MA
Family Program Manager
Family & Childcare Resources of N.E.W.
Shelby Belanger-Beekman is a Family Programs Manager at Family & Childcare Resources of N.E.W. She holds a master’s degree in Human Services. Shelby started with Family & Childcare Resources of N.E.W. as a Parent Educator in October 2017. After four years as Parent Educator, Shelby was promoted to her current role. While working as a Parent Educator, she participated in several rounds of the Maternal-Infant Therapy Group as an infant room support and a dyadic support. Completing two rounds as a Mothers Group support this year, Shelby continues to encounter many different types of personalities and parenting struggles. Through both roles she has had the opportunity to work with a variety of personality types and group dynamics, allowing her to gain many unique skills and learn new strategies to help mothers and the staff supporting them work through postpartum depression.
Native Health in Wisconsin: From Rural to Urban Panel
Candi Cornelius, MSN, RN, CLC
Prenatal Care Coordinator
Oneida Community Health Center
Candi Cornelius is from the Oneida and Menominee Nations of Wisconsin. She has lived on the Oneida reservation all her life with her three grown daughters. Candi received her Bachelor’s in Nursing from UW Eau Claire and her Masters in Nursing from Bellin College.
Candi has been working for the Oneida Community Health Center as the Prenatal Care Coordinator for twelve years. Her role is to support and educate local Native American pregnant women along with ensuring they have access to all needed services during and after pregnancy to improve birth outcomes for both moms and babies. Candi offers childbirth education sessions to the Oneida community three times a year along with providing a variety of presentations on Native Maternal Health nationwide.
For the past few years Candi has the opportunity to increase awareness of the dire need to improve Native American Maternal Health through presentations and advocacy work. Candi is passionate about finding solutions or change in practice to protect the lives of the precious life givers/women.
Madalyn Johns, MSN, RN
Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center
Madalyn Johns, enrolled citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and descendant of the Oneida Nation Tribe of Wisconsin, is a Registered Nurse at the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center (GLIIHC). Specifically, she is the Deputy Lead Nurse and the Infection Prevention and Control Officer. She has a deep passion for learning and serving her community in various fields of public health.
Prior to her current role, Madalyn worked at GLIIHC with the Youth Empowerment Project as a youth mentor, focusing on substance abuse and suicide prevention for Native youth. Additionally, she spent some time in Oklahoma completing a nursing internship at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center.
Madalyn obtained her B.S. in Biology at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (UWL), and her Master of Nursing at Marquette University. During her undergraduate studies at UWL, she served as president of the Native American Student Association for four years and remains very proud of this role she held during her studies.
Madalyn has lived in the greater Milwaukee area her whole life and loves the Midwest. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their mini goldendoodle, time at the lake or near any water, journaling and watching Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Will Funmaker, MBA, MLT (ASCP)CM
Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center (GLITEC)
Will Funmaker earned an associate degree in medical lab technology from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. He used that education to draw blood and work with blood chemistry and blood products while interacting with people of different ages and in various environments. He furthered his education by attaining a bachelor’s degree in applied leadership from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay and a Master of Business Administration in management from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. During that time, Will began to oversee individual health clinics and eventually multiple federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) before joining GLITEC, a program of Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC). Through his work experiences, Will has participated in writing grants, grant reports, data collection, reporting of data to funders, and strategic planning. He currently works as the Director of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center and the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Area Tribal Health Board.
Eileen Zeiger, MA
Wisconsin Association for Perinatal Care
Eileen (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association for Perinatal Care. She is a member of Wisconsin’s Maternal Mortality Review Team and the Madison-Dane County Fetal Infant Mortality Review Team. She is also a member of the Executive Committee for the National Network of Perinatal Quality Collaboratives. She has previously worked at organizations in the fields of gender-based health and gender-based violence. She holds an MA in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Joshua Zawadi, CHW
Life Redefined, INC.
Joshua Zawadi, CHW is the owner and founder of Melanated Daddy. Melanated Daddy is a fatherhood and mental health advocacy platform that celebrates the process of parenting and unpacking trauma to heal in order to guide others to be intentional figures in the lives of their children. Joshua Zawadi is also the man behind the Dad Doula and Dad Connect programs. The mission of Dad Doula is to provide resources and guidance for non-birthing parents as they plan to support the birthing person during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and thereafter. Dad Doula teaches how to advocate and support with intentional presence. This service is extended to expecting parents, new-again parents, and parents looking to re-enter their children’s lives. Dad Connect is simply a curated space for dads to come together to connect, vent, and learn from one another in a safe space.
Josh Zawadi is an Army Veteran, husband, and biological and bonus dad to four children. He is a lover of Christ and believes in community. He also identifies as a feminist. His passion of fatherhood is rooted in the belief that Iron Sharpens Iron.