Members of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health will be providing expertise for a new effort to improve health equity in Wisconsin.

Four of the 33 members on the recently created Governor’s Health Equity Council are from the school or health system. Chairing the council is Gina Green-Harris, MBA, director of Center for Community Engagement and Health Partnerships at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Green-Harris also directs the regional Milwaukee office of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute and the Milwaukee program office of the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families, which focuses on reducing infant mortality in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha.

“We are incredibly excited to begin this new venture, and I’m thrilled that so many of my UW colleagues here have been trusted to take on this vital work for our state,” she said.

Other council members affiliated with UW are Paula Tran Inzeo, MPH, program director for Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) in the UW Population Health Institute, Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH, assistant professor of pediatrics, and Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, vice president and chief diversity officer, UW Health. A fifth council member with ties to the school is Amy DeLong, MD, MPH, a physician and medical director for the Ho-Chunk nation who serves on the advisory board for the Native American Center for Health Professions in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

In late September, Gov. Tony Evers announced the 33 appointments to the council.

The council’s mission is to address the various factors that increase health disparities by creating a comprehensive plan to achieve long-lasting and equitable health outcomes for the state’s residents. 

In a 2016 report published by the UW Population Health Institute, Wisconsin was given an overall health disparities grade of “D.”

“In a state that has so much to offer and such great potential for prosperity, we must ensure that all of our residents are lifted up and cared for,” Green-Harris said. “A ‘D’ grade in a state like ours is simply not acceptable.”

Other members of the council include:

  • Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes
  • DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm 
  • Michelle Robinson, Research, Evaluation, & Program Integrity Advisor, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF)
  • Lilliann Paine, Chief of Staff, Milwaukee City Health Department 
  • Micaela Berry-Smith, Executive Director, Harambee Village 
  • Tia Murray, Owner, Co-Founder, and President, Harambee Village 
  • Maria Barker, Director of Latinx Programs and Initiatives, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin
  • Janel Hines, Senior Director of Grant Programs and Strategic Initiatives, Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  • Lisa Peyton-Caire, Founder and President, The Foundation for Black Women's Wellness
  • Andrea Werner, Senior Vice President, Bellin Health Hospital Center
  • Ellen Sexton, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Wisconsin 
  • William Parke-Sutherland, Health Policy Engagement Coordinator, Kids Forward 
  • Sandra Brekke, Senior Consultant, Office of Population Health, Gundersen Health System 
  • Tito Izard, President and CEO, Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. 
  • Jerry Waukau, Tribal Health Director, Menominee Nation
  • Guy (Anahkwet) Reiter, Executive Director, Menikanaehkem, Inc. 
  • Mary Thao, Marshfield Clinic
  • Sarah Ferber, Associate Director, Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing
  • Amy DeLong, Family Physician and Medical Director, Ho-Chunk Nation 
  • Wanda Montgomery, Community Partnerships Director, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
  • Stacy Clark, Intersectionality Among Men Program Coordinator, Diverse & Resilient
  • Elizabeth Valitchka, Strategic Advisor, DCF
  • Joya Headley, Public Health Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Cristal Tinajero Rodríguez, Student, Milwaukee Area Technical College
  • Gale Johnson, Director of Wisconsin Well Woman Program, DHS
  • Isaak Mohamed, Somali Liaison & Community Health Worker, Barron County 
  • Diane Erickson, Clinic Administrator, Red Cliff Community Health Center 
  • Patricia Metropulos, President and CEO, Kathy's House
  • Julie Mitchell, Commercial Medical Director, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin

The first meeting for the Governor’s Health Equity Council took place Sept. 30.

The council was created through an executive order issued by Evers.