Three women from UW Health and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health are among seven at UW-Madison to earn 2020 Outstanding Women of Color Awards in March.

Honorees from the academic medical center are:

  • Shiva Bidar-Sielaff
  • Gina Green-Harris
  • Jasmine Zapata, MD ’13, MPH ’17 (PG ’16, ’18)

The annual tradition honors women of color among faculty, staff and students who are deeply rooted in the UW-Madison and Madison communities through their work in one or more of the following areas: social justice, activism and advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged, marginalized populations; community service; scholarly research, writing, speaking and/or teaching on race, ethnicity and indignity in U.S. society; and/ or community building to create an inclusive and respectful environment for all.

Three women pose for an award photo
Left to right: Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Gina Green-Harris and Jasmine Zapata, MD ’13, MPH ’17 (PG ’16, ’18), gather at the award ceremony.

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff

The UW Health chief diversity officer and a Madison alder, Bidar-Sielaff has made myriad contributions to social justice, activism and advocacy on behalf of underrepresented groups. At UW Health, she educates professionals about how to create environments that are accessible, welcoming and culturally relevant for communities of color and LGBTQ+ folx.

Bidar-Sielaff was born in Iran and has lived in Spain and Belgium. She is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Farsi. Having worked at UW Health for more than 20 years, she is known for her skill helping people from all cultures. Her approach calls upon a deep understanding of complex business, employment and financial environments.

Aiming to champion health-care access issues for people with limited English proficiency, she is a founding member of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care and has led work on the National Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Health Care Providers. She co-chairs a local coalition of employers committed to diversity and inclusionary practices. She also volunteers for several organizations that represent Latinx populations.

Gina Green-Harris

Holding many interconnected positions, Green-Harris is the director of the School of Medicine and Public Health's Center for Community Engagement and Health Partnerships, and the Life Course Initiative for Healthy Families in partnership with UW-Milwaukee, as well as the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute’s Regional Milwaukee Office. At UW-Madison, she serves as the school’s diversity inclusion ambassador. In all roles, Green-Harris focuses on grass-roots community engagement models and is a strong advocate and leader for the health care needs of vulnerable individuals from underserved communities.

Under Green-Harris’s leadership, the Community Advisory Board counsels UW-Madison faculty and staff by providing valuable insight for the Alzheimer’s Institute's Regional Milwaukee Office on research and barriers to participation. By providing a sounding board for how UW-Madison investigators approach health equity and community engagement, her work has improved understanding of why disparities exist and how to narrow gaps.

Green-Harris is a nationally recognized expert on the topic of Alzheimer’s dementia disparities for African Americans and the essential need for culturally appropriate ways to provide outreach and engagement, in addition to the importance of including African Americans in research. She collaborates with investigators from throughout the United States who are working with the National Institutes of Health and other state and federal agencies.

Jasmine Zapata, MD ’13, MPH ’17 (PG ’16, ’18)

An assistant professor (CHS) in the UW Department of Pediatrics with an affiliation with the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Zapata is passionate about developing innovative strategies to combat racial inequities in maternal and child health in Madison and beyond.

She cares for healthy infants in Meriter Hospital’s Newborn Nursery, attends high-risk deliveries and oversees the transfer of infants to the neonatal intensive care units at Meriter and the American Family Children’s Hospital. Zapata recognized early in her career that she wanted to do more than care for premature babies—she also wanted to prevent the risks of being born critically ill.

Shortly after joining the School of Medicine and Public Health faculty, Zapata was named a Centennial Scholar and began conducting research on strategies to improve maternal and child health inequities. Calling upon her extensive training in pediatrics, preventive medicine and public health, her research focuses on the interplay of biological, environmental and social factors that contribute to the inequity in survival rates between African-American and white babies born in Wisconsin.

Her relationships with community organizations and public-health officials throughout the nation help her collaborate widely on maternal and child health.

Zapata lectures on racial inequities to learners of all levels. She is the faculty director for The Ladder, a partnership between the School of Medicine and Public Health and Boys and Girls Club of Dane County that offers long-term mentorship for scholars from diverse backgrounds to promote careers in health care. She also helped develop a financial literacy program for school-age students, and wrote “Beyond Beautiful,” a socioeconomic empowerment book for girls of all backgrounds.