The African American Health Network is a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster networking among African American health professionals and community health advocates and promote health education, healthy lifestyles, self-advocacy, empowerment and well-being among African Americans in Dane County.
A BRIEF HISTORY
The network was initially established to provide African American health professionals with a community to engage with, share information, and provide support for each other. Today the network has four core functions: research, advocacy, leadership, and education. The network acts as an agent for the African American community in interfacing with the broader community in general and the health community in particular, especially as it relates to African American health problems. The network seeks to decrease the health disparities that ravish the African American community by providing practical, yet powerful information tools that will inspire, equip, and energize African Americans to improve the overall health and wellness of themselves and their families.
- To create a decline in African American infant mortality in Dane County.
- To empower the African American community in the area of health care.
- To promote healthy lifestyles in the African American community.
- To help members of the African American community become advocates of their own health.
- To act as an agent for the African American community by interfacing with the broader community in general and the health community in particular, especially as it relates to African American health issues.
- To educate members of the African American community on how to participate in research and the knowledge that research can mean many things.
- To educate members of the African American community on how you access the health care system.
- To educate the members of the African American community on how to access health information.
- To ensure that health information is presented to the African American community in a culturally relevant manner.
- To institute a speakers’ bureau.
- To collaborate with other community partners to reach the greatest number of people within the African American community.
- To work with media outlets that cater to the African American community.
- To take a visible and proactive role in influencing health and safety trends in the African American community.
- To educate teens about health issues.
Eva Marie Vivian is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy in 1995, Master of Science in Population Health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2013, and Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology in 2020.
Dr. Vivian has received several teaching awards at the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy and was recognized as an outstanding woman of color in 2014 for her commitment to education and community outreach. Dr. Vivian has been referred to as “the researcher with a servant’s heart” because of her service to underserved communities in Madison, WI. Her research interest focus on identifying disparities in the treatment of hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases among ethnic minorities, particularly African American and Latino American patients and developing and implementing strategies to reduce and eliminate them.
Dr. Vivian is the current president of the African American Health Network of Dane County whose mission is to promote health education, healthy lifestyles, self-advocacy, empowerment and well-being among African Americans in Dane County. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Access Community Health Centers, a local federally qualified health center; and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Metropolitan Madison Chapter of the Links, organizations that work tirelessly toward social justice.
Gale D. Johnson 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.
Gale D. Johnson
Ariel Robbins, is the Program Director for the Dane County Health Council managing a portfolio of reproductive justice initiatives that connect clinical care activities with community-based programming. Connect Rx Wisconsin is a Care Coordination program that centers the impact of social determinants of health and addresses Black maternal child health inequities. The overall goal of Connect Rx is to eliminate racial health disparities resulting in low birth weight and increased infant mortality in the Black population of Dane County.
She has worked in the non-profit sector for the past 9 years on projects with varying focus areas including access to healthcare, health equity, and health education. She received her Bachelor of Science in Community Health from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her Master of Public Health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center with a concentration in Management and Policy. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and is also Certified in Public Health. Her previous roles include Camp Director for a residential camp for children with epilepsy as well as a Program Manager developing, implementing and evaluating programs for the Epilepsy Foundation of South and Central Texas. In these roles, she trained 2500+ school nurses and other school personnel, over 5000+ students and 1500+ first responders in seizure first aid.
Advocacy and health promotion are at the heart of both her professional and personal life. In her downtime, she enjoys volunteer work and is especially proud to mentor black youth who are experiencing adverse home-life situations. She is a member of the African American Health Network of Dane County and Global Shapers – Madison Hub.
Carola Peterson-Gaines has worked for Unity Health Insurance and the UW Medical Foundation for 20 years and presently serves as the BadgerCare Outreach Coordinator. She currently serves 14,000 BadgerCare Plus (BC+) members as the Community Liaison and Advocate. Her goals are to coordinate and provide a heightened level of support to the BC+ providers and BC+ membership.
Carola actively develops and implements programs to improve access to care for BC+ members, coordinates patient care and inform them of new state programs and initiates. She advocates for members with high-risk health care needs and works to educate BC+ members about preventive health measures such as early prenatal care. She serves on numerous community initiatives such as, Dane Co. immunization Coalition, Safe Sleep Coalition, Dane County Asthma Coalition, Fetal Infant Mortality, Black Women Wellness Coalition, African American Health Council to name a few.
She is the Wisconsin State Coordinator and Chapter President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. She has received many awards, including the YWCA- 2010 Woman of Distinction, Dane County Walk of Honor Award, the South Madison Community Service Award and the 2013 Madison Metropolitan Links and Wisconsin Women of Color Network distinguish service award.
Co-Vice Chair | Secretary
Ms. Charlie Daniel
Daniel is long-time resident of the Madison area and exemplifies her commitment to human and civil rights through her work as an educator, advocate, policy maker, and consultant. Charlie is described as a fierce advocate for justice and is a well-respected community leader. She works tirelessly to improve the quality of life for underrepresented and disenfranchised communities. She is an advocate and promoter of diversity, equity, social justice, and inclusion for women’s rights, GLBTQ and for all communities of color.
As an educator she was the education director for Minority Students Participation and Displaced Homemakers at the Wisconsin Technical College System. She also has worked with women in Domestic Violence, Alcohol and other Drugs as well as Mental Health.
She has served on boards that reflect her commitment to social justice, including the African American Ethnic Academy, Community Shares, Wisconsin Women Work, Madison Metropolitan LINKS, Inc, Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, City of Madison Human Resource and Affirmative Action Committees to name a few.
Daniel has come full circle in her post retirement as she now works part-time as the Diversity Coordinator for the Alliance and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Research Center where she educates and outreaches to the African American community in Dane and Rock Counties regarding as she states, “the silent epidemic” of Alzheimer’s and dementia. She wants to bring this disease “out of closet” in the African American community.
Joann retired from many years of clinical practice in New York, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin spanning staff nursing, intensive care nursing, to supervising and operating a 25 bed post-operative recovery room in New York City and culminated as clinical faculty at the UW-Madison School of Nursing. Her tenure as an administrator began in Minnesota as a curriculum development specialist and continued in Wisconsin as a research specialist, lecturer, program manager and finally as an Assistant Dean and Director of Multicultural Affairs Program in Pharmacy at the UW-Madison.
After retirement, Joann continued to be involved in educational pursuits as a senior student services manager for Chancellor’s and Powers Knapp Scholars, guest lecturing, mentoring and a host of other education related activities. Under the auspices of WIHA (Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging), Joann teaches a six-week “Stepping On” fall prevention class. She continues to be engaged in civic endeavors that positively impact youth, women, and families, and is a founding Board Member of the African American Health Network and the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness. Dr. Pritchett can be found presenting and sharing her knowledge and wisdom in education, health, wellness, sustainability, and community empowerment in neighborhoods and organizations across the Greater Madison community as she mentors and develops the capacity of others to thrive. Her work has gained her many well-deserved honors and recognition ranging from the University of Wisconsin System Women of Color Award, the UW-Madison Chancellor’s Award, the YWCA Women of Distinction Leadership Award, The Dr. Brenda Pfaehler Award of Excellence and many more.
More recently, Joann has worked with the Grace Episcopal Church as they grapple with and address racism and initiated a workshop series: When the Diagnosis is Racism. Her spare time is spent designing and building fancy birdhouses, Nordic walking, developing educational boardgames, jigsaw puzzling, cooking and spoiling her rescued Havanese canine “Murphy” and other activities designed to keep her out of trouble.
Joann holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Tuskegee University, a Master of Science degree from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Joann Pritchett