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Nominate a Champion in Women’s Health! Nomination Deadline: Friday, January 30


Our 2014 Champions with WWHF President & Founder, Sue Ann Thompson (center). Champions from left: Dr. John & Mrs. Sally Mielke, Gina Green-Harris, Phyllis Holder, Clare Janty, Dr. Adedayo Onitilo.

Our 2014 Champions with WWHF President & Founder, Sue Ann Thompson (center). Champions from left: Dr. John & Mrs. Sally Mielke, Gina Green-Harris, Phyllis Holder, Clare Janty, Dr. Adedayo Onitilo.

The Champions in Women’s Health Awards honor individuals who have devoted themselves to improving the lives of women and families in their professional career. Nominees may include clinicians, administrators, scientists, public health professionals, or other women’s health leaders.

An Awards Reception in honor of the Champions will be held on Saturday, May 9 at the Concourse Hotel in Madison. Award winners will also receive four complementary tickets to the Spring Gala which will take place at the State Capitol later that same evening.

Don’t miss this opportunity to nominate someone who has proven to be a true Women’s Health Champion in Wisconsin!


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Schedule Your Healthy Aging Brain Session Today!


Sue Richards (BSN, FN, FCN), our professionally trained Faith Community Nurse, conveniently conducts free Healthy Aging Brain Sessions right where you are!

Schedule a free women’s health program to learn about the different types of dementia. In this session you will learn about what you can do to adopt a ‘brain healthy’ lifestyle and will receive information about health resources that are available near you!

The Healthy Aging Brain Session is a part of the WWHF’s GrapeVine Project, a free health education program for women in counties across Wisconsin.  We partner with local nurses who conduct  health education sessions on a variety of women’s health topics, including dementia.

Sue Richards (BSN, RN, FCN), our professionally trained Faith Community Nurse, will conveniently come to your workplace, library, church, book group, or another public location of your choice. Just pick your time and contact us to schedule a session. Start making healthy choices for your brain!

To schedule a session today, contact  Nora Miller at nmiller@wwhf.org or call 800-448-5148, ext.103.

What people are saying:

“My mom has mild-moderate dementia – after attending this session I have learned to have more patience when she asks occasionally for relatives who are deceased (I don’t try to correct her). I find it easier to go along with it or redirect her.”

“After attending the healthy brain session, I talked with our daughter, who will be making a health and end of life decision for us.”


The Burden of Tobacco 2015 Report

A Burden of Tobacco report was recently released by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with some shocking statistics. Over a period of three years (2008-2012), it was revealed that 15% of Wisconsinites older than 35 years are dying to illnesses directly related to smoking annually. The report concluded that about 7,356 Wisconsin deaths were associated both indirectly and directly with tobacco use each year, averaging a total cost of about $3 million in health care each year. 

This report unveils the true burden of tobacco use in the state and its ongoing negative impacts on our overall health. Although the increase in awareness of the consequences of smoking have led to a general decline in the use of tobacco since the 1960s, it remains as one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States.


Director of the American Lung Association in Wisconsin, Dona Winisky, said in a statement, “An investment in prevention today means dollars and lives saved tomorrow. We are reaping the rewards of previous investments in tobacco cessation and prevention, but we need to continue to make this a priority.”

The WWHF’s First Breath program works directly with pregnant women who wish to quit smoking for the benefit of their own health and the health of their baby. Pregnant or not, you can visit our website for resources that can help you quit smoking today.

Read the entire Burden of Tobacco Report

2015 Parish Nurse Scholarships – Now Open!


The 2015 Faith Community Nurse Scholarship application is now available on our website! We offer this scholarship to registered nurses who wish to complete advanced training in the Faith Community/Parish Nurse education program.

Faith Community/Parish Nurses have the unique opportunity to minister the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of women and their families. They act as effective health advocates, health educators, counselors, referral agents, volunteer coordinators, and support group leaders.

Two scholarships (up to $750) are available through a competitive review process to those who meet the criteria.  To apply for a scholarship, visit our Grants and Scholarships page, or contact Nora Miller directly; nmiller@wwhf.org.


APPLICATION DEADLINE IS: FEBRUARY 15, 2015                 



Prioritize Your Health This Holiday Season


Side-step your way out of the holiday rush for a minute, and just breath. How has your health been since Thanksgiving? Have you noticed an increase in stress level, anxiety, or agitation? Thought so.

When the holidays come rolling around, people (especially women) tend to shoulder more than they can bear. But this time of year does not have to weigh so heavily on us. Sometimes, it comes down to prioritizing: so for the next month, let’s prioritize our health. Just wait and see, the rest of the things in your life will start to feel so much lighter.

Prioritizing your health looks like this:

  • Resting. This means getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night. It will help you function better at work, and give you more energy to tackle your holiday To-Do List.
  • Exercising. Even 20 minutes has been shown to increase energy level, improve productivity, and of course, pump up those famous neurotransmitters called endorphins that make you and me a happier person.
  • Not over-committing. Take a look at your calendar for this month, and really be purposeful about when you schedule things. Saying no once in a while will give you more time to focus on your health, friends, family and other holiday commitments.
  • Shopping online. Avoid the hustle and bustle of the crowded shopping malls and shop from your home. Not only is it a more relaxing shopping experience, it also cuts out all the hassle of driving in traffic or unfavorable weather.

    Feet warming by fireplace

    Forget holiday shopping. Instead, put a few logs on the fire and enjoy some welcome company.

  • Making time instead of spending money. Are you spending an hour trying to pick out the perfect gift for your mother-in-law? What if, instead, you made time for her by blocking out an hour for a one-on-one coffee date or walk through the park? Our relationships are not fueled by money or presents – they run on love and time spent together. So put down the credit card and focus on your loved ones.
  • Eating well, with some indulgences. Gorging yourself with holiday treats is not a great feeling – it leaves you feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and guilty. On the other hand, not eating holiday treats doesn’t feel great either. Tis’ the season! So don’t refuse yourself the joy of a nice hot cocoa or your mother’s homemade apple pie. Just remember, moderation is your friend – keep it to one serving only. For help with portioning, check out this helpful blog: Your Guide to Holiday Portions
  • Reminding yourself of the true purpose of this season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Pancha Ganapati, etc. it’s important to remember what the point of it all is. Return to the purpose of the celebration and all the extra stresses that seem so important right now will slowly float away.



Still churning your teeth while thinking about that To-Do List?
Then keep experimenting with 25 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress




What’s Oral Health Got to do With it?


Turkey is high both in calcium and phosphorus, two nutrients that help in tooth development.

We can all feel a little guilty around the holidays as we pack in as many goodies as we can get our hands on. While enjoyable at the time, these treats can lead to real consequences, not only with our waistlines, but with our oral health as well. Read below for some tips on how to take it easy on your teeth this holiday season. You may be surprised at some of the suggestions – there are many Thanksgiving foods that have great benefits to your dental hygiene!

  1. Reduce the sugar: Surprise, surprise, sugar isn’t great for your teeth. When broken down, it forms into a kind of acid, which can lead to decalcification and ultimate dental decay. Try cutting the sugar levels in your recipes down, maybe by a third or even a half. Chances are no one will be able to notice the difference – not even you!
  2. Balance sugar with protein: We know how hard it is to resist a table laden with holiday desserts. That’s why we’re here to say you don’t have to cut all of those sweets out to avoid the guilt. Instead, be proactive in balancing your consumption of sugar with protein. This can help in two ways: One, eating causes an increase in saliva production, which in turn helps wash away sticky substances from the surface of your teeth. Two, proteins like the turkey sitting on your dining table, is very high in calcium, which can counteract the negative effects of the sugary desserts.
  3. Speaking of turkey: Experts say to eat lots of it! Not only is it high in calcium but it’s high in phosphorous as well which is needed for tooth development.
  4. Incorporate vegetables: Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for building strong teeth – you can help your body produce this nutrient by consuming vegetables with lots of beta carotene. Celery and carrots are excellent sources of beta carotene, making them a teeth-happy addition to your stuffing this year.
  5. Eat that pumpkin pie: When we said you could eat dessert, we meant it! In fact, pumpkin pie is another good source of Vitamin C, which can help to recalcify your teeth. So go ahead, pick up a slice. Just remember to keep it in balance with the rest of your meal.

We hope these easy tips can help you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal this year, guilt-free.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving from all of us over here at the Foundation!


Thank you to our generous supporter and partner in oral health:

Delta logo green


2014 Annual Dialogue on Multiple Sclerosis: it is not a hopeless disease

Electronic Graphic for Dialogue

Thank you to everyone who was in attendance at this year’s Annual Dialogue on Multiple Sclerosis which took place on the morning of October 29 at the Madison Concourse Hotel. We were joined by about a hundred individuals from around the state, including representatives from our two partner organizations for this event, the National MS Society – Wisconsin Chapter and the Wisconsin Well Woman Program.

It was through the collaborative work of our partner organizations that made this event possible – with their encouragement and support, we were able to join together and shed some light on this often debilitating health issue.

Multiple Sclerosis is a complex disease with a complex diagnosis. While there are many theories about the cause of MS, the main cause is still unknown. What is more, it’s been found that women are 2 to 3 times more affected by the disease than men and that the incidence of MS dramatically increases as you move further away from the equator into the northern areas of the world. In Wisconsin, the incidence is about 500 per 100,000 people, compared to areas near the equator, which are as low as 1 per 100,000. However, in the past 30-50 years significant advancements have been made in the areas of diagnosis, treatment and therapy. Living with MS is now a far less daunting task.

From left: Peggy Mat-Siewert, Colleen Kalt, Dr. Colleen Hayes, Dr. Christopher Luzzio

From left: Peggy Mat-Siewert, Colleen Kalt, Dr. Colleen Hayes, Dr. Christopher Luzzio

In light of this exciting time in the area of MS research, we were thrilled to welcome our four esteemed panelists, all of whom provided their own informative and eye-opening perspective on this often complex auto-immune disease.

Our first speaker for the day was Colleen Kalt, President & CEO of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National MS Society. Colleen began her career with the Society in 1982 as a volunteer. Today, she has thirty years under her belt as the President. During her time at the Society, she has vigorously advocated and supported the work of scientists and clinicians in MS research. With her help, we now understand just how far we have already come over the short period of 30 years and how near we are to making some major breakthroughs.

“30 years ago, they were telling MS patients to do nothing. They told them to go home, rest, and not move.”

-Colleen Kalt, President & CEO of the National MS Society

Our second speaker was Dr. Christopher Luzzio, an Assistant Professor of Neurology from the School of Medicine & Public Health at UW-Madison. Dr. Luzzio not only is a Neurologist who sees and treats MS patients daily, but he is also a Machinist and an Engineer who specializes in manufacturing devices that aid disabled individuals, including those who have suffered a loss of bodily movement as a result of MS. At the Dialogue he shared the importance of therapy and exercise, emphasizing that through pursuing a healthy lifestyle, many MS symptoms can be made manageable, and in some instances, slow the progression of the disease down.

Dr. Colleen Hayes, a Professor and Researcher in the Department of Biochemistry at UW-Madison shared her perspective on Multiple Sclerosis, focusing in particular on her research which indicates a correlation between Vitamin D levels and the diagnosis of MS. She explained the correlation by illustrating the extreme differences in incidence close to the equator and north of the equator. She is conducting ground-breaking research in an area of study that has proved incredibly difficult for most scientists and researches to try and understand. We are grateful to her for her continued work in this area.

Dialogue Collage

Lastly, we had Peggy Mat-Siewert join us to give insight on what it is like to be a Caregiver of someone with this disease. For Peggy, it was her husband, John, who struggled with MS for about 14 years before losing his battle in 2010. In her talk, Peggy emphasized the importance of being open about struggling with the condition and also encouraged getting involved in community activities related to MS. She participated in many MS Awareness bike rides through the Society and has been an inspiration to thousands of other caregivers out there who are dealing with the same difficulties. You can find her and her late husband’s story on CaringBridge.com. 

If you were unable to attend the event but are still interested in the topic, you can take a look at our website, there you will find each speaker’s presentation slides. A white paper of the event will also be available sometime early this winter.

View the full-length video of our recently premiered "Multiple Sclerosis: Wisconsin Perspective"

View the full-length video of our recently premiered
Multiple Sclerosis: Wisconsin Perspective

Also on our website is a new video created in collaboration with the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, titled, Multiple Sclerosis: Wisconsin Perspective. This video features two of our panelists from the Dialogue, Dr. Colleen Hayes and Dr. Christopher Luzzio, both of whom speak about the basic characteristics of the disease and the progress that is being made in research and therapy. It’s only about 15 minutes long and covers many important points on the topic of MS. Take a look and feel free to share it with your family and friends.


Thanks again to all who were able to attend and support this very important women’s health topic. Our desire is that all attendees were able to walk away with a better understanding of MS and its challenges, while also leaving with a sense of hope: in the words of Dr. Luzzio, Multiple Sclerosis does not  have to rule your life. Through exercise, healthy eating habits, therapy, and support from the MS Society, family and friends, it can be a very manageable disease.

For more information on MS and ways to get involved in advocacy or receive support, please visit the National MS Society – Wisconsin Chapter website. They are doing incredible work all around the state of Wisconsin and would be happy to work individually with you.


A special thanks to our sponsors:

UW Health & Unity Logo




 Acorda Therapeutics      Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin

Staying Active with the Change in Season

Yellow Autumn Leaves On TreesEverything about the late fall and winter season is a cry for comfort – comfort food, comfortable socks, warm and cozy evenings spent near the fire… So it sure can be difficult to make exercise a priority when you’re vigorously counting the minutes until you can get back home for a nice cup of soup. And it’s not only the low temperatures that dampen our motivation to get out the door and to the gym, but the shorter days can make our opportunity gap for exercise feel smaller and smaller.

Despite these detrimental factors, it’s actually very important to maintain a level of physical exercise in the colder seasons. According to a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, American adults gain an average of one pound from September to late March. It is true that fat keeps us warmer and therefore can serve as necessary insulation for the cold season. However, the study also found that this one pound, small though it may be, was weight that never came off – in other words, every year Americans are gaining an average of one pound that never goes away, as a result of winter hibernation.

Weight is not necessarily the only concern. When we establish an exercise routine we are committed to maintaining our overall health. Physical activity can help combat health conditions such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and even your mental health like depression. All in all, exercise is a great way to feel great and stay healthy, longer.

The good news is you can resist the urge to stay inside, eat, and lounge simply by adjusting your workout routine to accommodate this change in season.It’s possible that you may even find some new, creative activities that add variety to your routine and strengthen your body in different ways! Check out some tips below for staying motivated this season.


Strech1. For those who are committed to outdoor activity, prepare by getting specific cold weather exercise clothing that will help keep you warm and cool

2. Find a workout partner that loves to do what you do – that way you will be held accountable and be able to motivate one another on the harder days

3. If the cold and darkness is too much for you, consider moving your workouts indoors. This may require you to research more about indoor exercise that can be done at home. Alternatively, this may mean joining your local gym. Either way, it may push you to start cross training, giving your fitness routine a more well rounded approach.

4. If heading out for a run or to the gym after dark is not an option, consider trying to move your workout to the morning or to your lunch hour. If you have a gym located near your work, this could serve as an efficient and easy way to fit it into your schedule.


In the end, it is true that your activity level will look different as the colder season approaches. However, this can be a great opportunity for you to try new things and challenge yourself, physically and mentally. So get off your computer, and start planning your workout schedule for this season!

Feria latina de la salud

feria latina

Mayor of Madison Paul Soglin poses with the members of the Latino Health Council after officially declaring October 17th as the Day of Latino Health in Madison.

On a brisk fall Saturday in mid-October, the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation had the pleasure of attending the 2014 Latino Health Fair, which was held at Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison, WI.

Here at the Foundation, we have the wonderful opportunity to reach out to women from all over the state and from all different backgrounds. We are committed to connecting with those who do not have appropriate access to health care and are vigilant in supporting other organizations with this same mission.

The Latino Health Council has been around since 1996. Originally, the Council was a part of another group called the Cultural Diversity Committee, which sought to target the needs of poorly attended people groups, looking specifically at cancer services. A year later, a group was formed with a focus on Latino health and thus begun the history of the Latino Health Council. Their mission has naturally broadened over the years to cover a wide range of health issues including cancer, and host of other issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental health, nutrition, etc.

La feria latina de salud or the Latino Health Fair was a testament to their mission: throughout the day people were able to stop by

Young talent from La Follette High School serenades the lunch crowd.

Young talent from La Follette High School serenades the lunch crowd.

and receive free health check-ups for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI, and skin. That’s not to mention enjoying the free lunch while being serenaded by the wonderful young talent from La Follette High School’s very own Mariachi band! Though the band consisted of about half Latinos and half Caucasians, in the words of Patricia Tellez-Giron-Salazar (the chair of the Council), they all had the the heart of a Latino.

We are grateful to them for their work within the community of Madison and are proud to call ourselves a partner in supporting Latino health.

For more information on what they do and the projects they are currently working on, please visit their website.

The Gathering – Thank You!

Mature women smilingThank you to everyone who made it out to our Annual Gathering this year!

It was yet another wonderful event, filled with learning, connecting with others, and re-energizing the mind, body & spirit. This year we focused on Dementia & Aging – an increasingly relevant topic, whether you are someone who has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, have a family history of dementia, or know someone who is currently dealing with its symptoms.

We were joined two weeks ago by nearly 200 Wisconsin women at Ministry St. Joseph’s Hospital in the beautiful city of Marshfield. Those who were in attendance left with a better understanding of what dementia is and how it affects them. Featured speakers helped to explain the nature of Alzheimer’s disease and what can be done to improve the quality of life while continuing to deal with its repercussions. Our focus was on the importance of maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, from eating well, to exercising, and sleeping right. Above all, we sought to lift the spirits of those going through the difficulties that often come with aging, emphasizing the value of healthy choices that can lead to a healthier aging experience.

But don’t take our word for it! Hear what some of our attendees had to say:


What did you enjoy most about the conference?

“The togetherness”

“Everything. The panel discussion was very personal, empowering, with a variety of perspectives”

“The pampering – from the shuttle bus to the end of our day – it nourished my mind. The comraderie of others and time away from work”

“Fascinating, soothing”


Why is women’s health important to you?

“I am a woman, mom & grandmother, with a daughter & daughter-in-law. I also reach out to women working in strip clubs, so many survived violence. Healing is essential to life.”

“Healthy me, healthy family”


We want to send out our sincerest gratitude to everyone who was able to attend. Your presence and support is what motivates us to continue moving towards our goal of helping Wisconsin women and their families reach their healthiest potential.


The Gathering is an annual statewide health conference for women who have participated in a Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation program. The day-long conference offers women the opportunity to network with others, attend health related presentations and provide them with the tools and resources they need to make good decisions for themselves and their families.

Visit our website and stay tuned for details on next year’s Gathering!


A special thanks to our sponsors:





Saint Josephs Hospital LEFT CMYK_2010