The Champions in Women’s Health Awards honor individuals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and devoted themselves to improving the quality of life for women and families. Nominees may include consumer advocates, volunteers, health care professionals, employees of non-profits, and individuals who have overcome a significant health issue and inspired other women to become advocates for their own health. Past champions have been instrumental in raising the level of awareness about women’s health issues, and have impacted the quality of care that women in this state receive.
Champions are honored for their work during a luncheon celebration on Saturday, May 4, 2013 at the Madison Concourse Hotel, and also during our Spring Gala at the beautiful State Capitol Rotunda later that evening.
This year’s Champions in Women’s Health are a stellar group of individuals making a difference in the areas of substance use disorders, breast and cervical cancer and women in health leadership roles. They include:
|LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENT
Jim Riordan has over 35 years of medical field experience. His health insurance experience includes extensive management and field work in developing provider relationships, directing actuarial services, accounting, business services and general administration that have impacted thousands of Wisconsin women and families. His wide ranging support of the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation and other community organizations and initiatives show his support of the specific demographic of women. He shares with WWHF a concern for the wellbeing and health of Wisconsin’s women and families. Jim has helped build the infrastructure of the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation through financial and logistical support. A wide range of WWHF programs designed to insure that women and families in Wisconsin have the information they need to lead healthy lives have been created, supported, and completed with support from Jim. Jim has been an unwavering supporter of United Way of Dane county serving in various capacities, including Board Chairman and Campaign Chairman; he was also a leader on the Dane County United Way 211 Committee. He has offered his time and resources to the John Muir Academy, Project Lead the Way, the Madison College Foundation Board, Very Special Arts Wisconsin, and more.
|Dr. Byrne has worked to support women and families throughout his career. Dr. Byrne helped bring to life the nation’s very first hospital-based Ronald McDonald Family Room. Then again, in 2012, he was behind Wisconsin’s very first Ronald McDonald Family Room, located in St. Mary’s Hospital. Dr. Byrne has been involved in major expansions and renovations in St. Mary’s Hospital, including the Family Birth Center. D. Byrne has insisted on considering women patients with a focus on the quality of their medical care. Dr. Byrne seeks to balance the perspective in a leadership field traditionally dominated by men. He is a strong advocate for education and advancement in his employees, most of whom are women. He has recruited and promoted women leaders to senior positions, for example, a woman now serves as St. Mary’s Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. He makes sure to find time to meet with and mentor young women showing an interest in a career in health care. Byrne is actively involved in numerous community and statewide organizations.|
|Ms. Gadacz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education and has a Master of Arts in organizational leadership. She has dedicated her life to addressing alcohol and other drug prevention, treatment, and recovery service needs of women and their families. For 14+ years, she has demonstrated innovative leadership in Wisconsin’s service system for women with substance use disorders. She has created women-specific programming for substance use disorders utilizing a ‘systems of care’ approach. Under her leadership, Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to publish Women’s Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Treatment Standards. Susan’s success in grant writing resulted in Wisconsin funding to develop a statewide task force to address fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Susan has promoted the use of evidence-based practices in substance abuse primary prevention and treatment programs. She has held positions as Wisconsin’s FASD State Coordinator, Wisconsin Women’s Treatment Coordinator, and Women’s Services Network President.|
|Mindy Gribble has had the privilege of “walking beside” Wisconsin women amidst medically related times of life transition. Her experience includes 10 years of rural Parish Nursing. She is currently the WINGS (We Inspire, Nurture and Give Support) Cancer Survivorship Program Coordinator for Marshfield Clinic’s system of care. Since WINGS’s inception five years ago, the program has been guided by patients and loved ones serving on the WINGS Advisory Council. Mindy is continually engaging in helping find support to continue survivorship efforts. Currently she is participating in research to assess the effectiveness of Cancer Survivorship Care Plans for women who have experienced treatment for breast cancer. Mindy is American Holistic Nurses Association Board Certified, advocating for holistic care planning and the use of evidence-based integrative care in all health care settings. She was honored to advocate for access to post-treatment wellness care for cancer survivors state -wide by co-chairing the workgroup that provided input for the Survivorship Chapter of the WI Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan 2010-2015.|
|Claudia removes barriers and brings mammography and breast health education to more than 500 women each year in Southeast Wisconsin. In her work as a Breast Health Advocate for Columbia St. Mary’s Mammography Coach, Claudia helps women receive digital mammography screenings in their community. She helps women realize their eligibility for coverage through funds administered by the Wisconsin Well Woman Program and the SE Wisconsin Breast Health Assistance Fund. She collaborates with others in the community to hold screening events at churches, Native American health centers and social and health organizations in African-American and Hispanic communities. Claudia helps Spanish-speaking women understand treatment plans, deal with symptoms, and adjust to the diagnosis of breast cancer. She works with each woman to connect them with the programs that will allow them to participate in the screening vent, even going farther to help them navigate through the cumbersome bureaucracy of each agency.|
|Nationally recognized and respected for her work, Gale Johnson is willing to think beyond the traditional boundaries when on her quest to improve Wisconsin women’s health. Gale is dedicated to helping women who otherwise would not have the means to receive life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings. As the Director of Wisconsin’s cooperative agreement with the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, Gale spearheads the program that assists Wisconsin women statewide who are underinsured, uninsured, or medically underserved. Gale has worked tirelessly to mold a program that educates women to be in charge of their health as well as proactive in knowing and seeking preventive health care. Gale has served on and participated in cancer and chronic disease prevention committees and work groups at the state and national levels. She believes that individual culture and preferences of care should always be considered when assisting program participants. Gale’s serves in leadership roles throughout her professional, personal and faith communities. She can explain the intricacies of a very complex program with ease to any audience.|
|As a scientist and teacher, Dr. Carol Williams has dedicated her career to identifying the mechanisms behind breast cancer, and has made enormous strides toward understanding the disease. A nationally-recognized researcher, she focuses her work on the mechanism that causes breast cancer cells to form tumors and then spread throughout the body – with the goal of being able to halt the formation and migration of those cancerous cells. Beyond her laboratory work, Dr. Williams is active in the community, particularly in breast cancer awareness and fundraising. She is Co-Director of the Cancer Cell Signaling and Metabolism Program in the Cancer Center. She also leads a group of investigators at the Medical College who are developing a Program Project Grant application to address the development of new therapies that will treat breast cancer more effectively and improve the quality of life of breast cancer survivors. Dr. Williams actively interacts with the scientific community and the general public to share her discoveries.|