Plenary II: African American Women’s Health Network

Community Champions: Women Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the African American Community

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 9:00-10:15, Pyle Center, Alumni Lounge

Moderator: Gale Johnson

Panelist: Lisa Peyton Caire, Fabu, and Betty Banks

Welcome by Lori DiPrete Brown, Director, 4W Initiative

Introduction by Gale Johnson, Director, Wisconsin Well Woman Program

This plenary will raise awareness about the remarkable work of three talented community leaders in Madison, WI who have devoted themselves to improving the lives of black women and their families. These community champions will discuss how their partnership with UW-Madison and other organizations allows them to reach large segments of the community in the effort to eliminate health disparities and other barriers impacting the lives of African American women and girls.

Lisa Peyton Caire is a Virginia native and Madison transplant, and writer, women’s health advocate, non-profit leader, and change agent. An educator by training, Lisa’s work has spanned the PK-12 education spectrum in Dane County and beyond. Regarded for her vision, leadership, and ability to impact others, Ms. Peyton-Caire has led and/or pioneered many successful initiatives that continue to enrich the lives of youth and adults, including leadership development and pre-college preparatory programs for young women and first generation college students in Madison. She is the founding director of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, a Wisconsin based non-profit organization committed to eliminating health disparities and other barriers impacting the lives of African American women and girls.

Fabu, as she is professionally known, is a poet, columnist, storyteller, and an educator who works and writes to encourage, inspire and remind. As the Madison Poet Laureate (2008-2012), she continues to share experiences living in the South, the Midwest and in Africa. As an outreach specialist for the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease and Research Center, she recruits African Americans into memory studies and also facilitates free Get Movin’ Exercise classes (a day and night class), a free computer class with DoIt and the Urban League of Greater Madison, as well as educational events for brain health. Fabu was selected as the 2019 recipient of the School of Medicine and Public Health Staff Award for Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the 2019 award-winner from the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce for making her love of poetry into a business. She received the 2016 UW Madison Women of Color Award for her work in poetry and community. Fabu is also a scholar of African American literature, and published four books of poetry: Poems, Dreams and Roses; In Our Own Tongues; Journey to Wisconsin:  African American Life in Haiku; and Love Poems.

Betty Banks, a native Madisonian, is the co-founder of a non-profit called  “Today not Tomorrow” (TNT) whose mission is to strengthen families and build community. Its first major initiative was the creation of “Club TNT,” a weekly one-hour local TV show to encourage youth to pursue healthy behavior and habits. Since then, TNT launched several other initiatives including Project Babies, which offers information, advocacy and activities to help mothers care for and parent their kids up to age two. Project Babies has partnered with the center, along with the African-American Breast Feeding Alliance, Harambe Village Doulas, Project Babies and Integrated Fitness and Neighborhood Connectors in an effort to help families improve and understand their own health as well as the health of their children.

Gale Johnson (Moderator) has been the director of the Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) in the Department of Health Services for more than 20 years. This statewide program is Wisconsin’s component of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ms. Johnson is a past chair of the CDC Council for Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control. For three years she was also a member of the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Control Advisory Committee. For many years, Ms. Johnson has been a very active member of the Wisconsin Women of Color Network. She has also been a member of the African American Health Network of Dane County since its inception in 2003. Recognizing the importance of women living long healthy lives, Ms. Johnson has coordinated health programs for both organizations. Ms. Johnson is a “life-long learner” and has had the opportunity to work with, and learn from many outstanding clinicians, researchers, advocates and community leaders who are dedicated to the health and well-being of women and their families.