Symposium Schedule and Presenters

Schedule for September 16, 2022

Time Activity Speakers Locations  Virtual 
8:30–9 a.m. Welcome Table Open  

FSPA Lobby

10:00 a.m.

Welcome and Keynote

Tanisha King, PhD

Main Theatre

Recording here.

11:05 a.m.

Panel : Health Disparities, Humanities and Bioethics.

Sandy Brekke, RN, BSN, MASLBrenda Rooney, PhD, MPHThomas D. Harter, PhD

Main Theatre  Recording here.
11:15 a.m.–12:10 p.m. Lunch and Visit Booths Booths will be listed here.  Assisi Courtyard (weather pending)  
12:20–1:15 p.m.

Breakout Session #1 

Mai Chao Duddeck, EdD

Sarah Havens, BS, MASL

Kelly Olson, PA-C 

Brandi Richter, BSN, RN, CCRN;

Angie Haugen, RN, BSN

The Duddeck/Havens presentation will be in the FSPA lobby. 

Olson/Richter/Haugen will both be located outside near the Fine Arts Center (weather pending). Look outside the FSPA lobby for signs.

Recording links will be posted here

1:25–2:20 p.m. Breakout Session #2 

Lacey Heward, CPS

Sarah Brown, MD, MPH

Molly Sygulla, MD, PGY3

These both will be located outside (weather pending). Look outside the FSPA lobby for signs.

Recording links will be posted here

2:30–3:00 p.m. Closing reception   Viterbo Fine Arts Center FSPA lobby

The closing will be in-person only.


Keynote Speaker

Tanisha King, PhD to speak on The Historical Roots of Black Maternal Mortality

Chief Inclusion Officer, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University

Dr. Tanisha King is an author, international speaker and consultant, as well as a three-time alumna of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. King currently serves as the chief inclusion officer for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University, where she is also an adjunct professor in the department of social medicine. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University where she teaches a PhD level social change course. Previously, Dr. King has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Illinois and Fordham University and served her communities through volunteerism as members of various boards of directors. Dr. King has been featured in multiple news and radio outlets and appeared in the 2017 Virginia Theatre performance That’s What She Said. She spoke to an audience of over 5,000 people at a women’s march in the state of Illinois and won a political seat as a member of the Champaign County Board. Her inaugural book Out of Battle into Freedom was featured at an NAACP author pavilion and has been described on amazon as a “must read.” Dr. King is the Founder of Dr. King Speaks, LLC, where she helps organizations move from performative to transformative diversity, equity, and inclusion practices as well as empowers women to defy odds and overcome obstacles through radical self-love. Her podcast, Ask Me How I Know, discusses politics, social justice, women empowerment, and more.

Sandy Brekke, RN, BSN, MASL

Senior Consultant the Office of Population Health, Gundersen Health System
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Sandy Brekke serves as Senior Consultant to the Office of Population Health at Gundersen Health System. Population Health uses research and data to understand the interrelated conditions and factors that influence the health of populations over the life course. A strong consideration for health equity to address disparities across subpopulations, as well as the ethical and value considerations underpinning these issues, drives the work to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Sandy is actively involved in a number of local and state initiatives addressing health equity.



Brenda Rooney, PhD, MPH

Epidemiologist, Office of Population Health, Gundersen Health System

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Brenda Rooney, PhD, MPH, is an epidemiologist in the office of population health at Gundersen Health System. Dr. Rooney received her master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Minnesota. In the 30+ years she’s worked at Gundersen, she has developed programs and initiatives that focus on chronic disease prevention. Specifically, her interests lie in patient- and community-level prevention of tobacco use, obesity, alcohol use, and various maternal and child health topics. She has had over 100 publications and presentations in scientific journals and national conferences. Dr. Rooney has developed population health dashboards that help Gundersen Health System prioritize and monitor community health improvements and explore health disparities.

Thomas D. Harter, PhD

Director, Bioethics and Humanities, Gundersen Health System

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Thomas (Tom) Harter, PhD, is the Director of the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, WI. Dr. Harter received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Tennessee, specializing in medical ethics and business ethics. He then completed the two-year Cleveland Fellowship in Advanced Bioethics (CFAB), learning and honing the skills used in clinical ethics consultation and empirical bioethics research. Dr. Harter’s research on ethical issues that arise at the intersection of business, medical professionalism, and patient care have resulted in numerous peer-reviewed conference presentations and articles. Currently, Dr. Harter is serving as the president of the Academy for Professionalism in Health Care (APHC) from 2020–2022, the president of the newly formed Bioethics Network of the Upper Midwest (BENUM), and recently served on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 vaccine allocation committee. He is co-editor of the forthcoming textbook, Medical Professionalism: Theory, Education, and Practice, published by Oxford University Press.

Lacey Heward, CPS

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Lacey Heward is a two-time paralympic medalist, World Cup overall winner, and World Champion in downhill Alpine skiing. She earned her degree in public relations and a certificate in peer support, mental health, and drug addiction recovery. Heward is on the Wisconsin State Trail board, and advocates for accessibility and adaptive sport throughout the country. She is married and has thirteen sled dogs. Heward writes a blog on, enjoys riding her mountain bike, performing original music, and coaching ski racing when the opportunity arises. You can find Heward on her website,, Facebook,  Instagram @brave_lace, or YouTube:



Sarah Brown, MD, MPH

Family Medicine and Mobile Medicine Physician, Gundersen Health Systems and St. Clare Health Mission

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Sarah Brown, MD, MPH (she/her/hers) is a family medicine doctor in La Crosse who is passionate about providing equitable and accessible care to her patients. She completed her medical degree and masters in public health at UWSMPH, and family medicine residency at Gundersen Health System. She leads Mobile Medicine, a partnership between St. Clare Health Mission and Gundersen Health System to provide medical care to patients experiencing homelessness, teaching resident physicians to practice medicine in low resource settings. A proud mother of two and baker's wife, Brown also enjoys outdoor adventures and fermentation.



Mai Chao Duddeck, EdD

Senior DEI Leader, Gundersen Health System

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Duddeck has a Doctor of Education in Student Affairs Administration Leadership. She is a lifetime Wisconsin-certified educator and has been designing instructional curriculum for K-16 students for the past 15 years. She worked closely with educators, administrators, and community leaders to build relevant diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) educational curriculum and learning opportunities to ensure all students thrive and achieve desirable DEI learning outcomes. In her current role as the senior DEI consultant at Gundersen Health System, she is co-creating a comprehensive DEI strategy to meet the vision of closing health disparities while fostering a sense of belonging for all communities they serve. Being the subject matter expert in DEI, Dr. Duddeck advised senior leadership members across the enterprise to create relevant educational curriculum such as the unconscious bias content for leaders and employees at all levels across the enterprise. She provides thought leadership, recommendations, and consultations to create action plans that integrate DEI practices into business strategies and objectives that align with the organization’s strategic priorities. In her limited free time, she loves to read, travel, make art, and be with her family.


Molly Sygulla, MD, PGY3

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Resident physician in Family Medicine practicing in La Crosse, provides care in addiction, gender-affirming, manual therapy, sexual health, and other care to children and adults. Medical care is a small part of what health is for individuals and communities. To optimize the potential benefits of medical care for individuals and communities, we work towards having healthy, trusting health care relationships. Dr. Sygulla has a background in health equity in care provision, program development, and medical education. Other background includes care of migrant workers, latinx community, persons experiencing homelessness, those with medical and psychiatric conditions, among others.


Sarah Havens, BS, MASL

Director, Office of Population Health, Gundersen Health System

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Sarah Havens directs the office of population health at Gundersen Health System. Havens leads population health and community benefit strategies that enhance integration and collaboration between Gundersen, organizational partners, and communities throughout the service region. In addition, Sarah and her team, lead Gundersen’s health improvement efforts assisting patients, employees, worksite partners and the community, supporting overall population health goals. Havens has served on various community boards and currently serves as a member of the Bethany Lutheran Homes Board of Directors and Gundersen Health System Partners Board of Directors. She is a member of the 6-county Great Rivers United Way COMPASS NOW (community needs assessment) Steering Committee, Change Direction Steering Committee, United Way Fund Distribution Committee, and the Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Association. Havens holds a bachelor’s degree in community health education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a master’s degree in servant leadership from Viterbo University. She lives in La Crosse with her husband Dan.


Kelly Olson, PA-C

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Kelly Olson is a practicing Physician Assistant in Cardiothoracic Surgery.  She has been practicing in surgical specialties for over a decade.  Prior to returning to school for PA Studies, Kelly completed her undergraduate degree in Theology at College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University in central MN.  She then worked a couple years as a volunteer for AmeriCorps in the HealthCorps division offering preventive, medical, social and harm reduction services to underserved populations in rural northern CA.  She and her husband returned to the Midwest to be close to family prior to the arrival of their three kids.  They continue to enjoy rad outdoor adventures in our driftless region and advocate through effort and example strategies to enjoy the outdoors for mental, social, and physical health and wellbeing.  Currently Kelly has returned to SJU School of Theology to pursue a Masters in Theological studies with a focus on Systematic Theology and Ethics.  The opportunity to explore the impact of healthcare on its workers while navigating the discipline of Systematic Theology aids the goal of preserving the humanity and wellbeing of the team striving to support the same for the members of the community.

Hope Kirwan

Wisconsin Public Radio

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Hope Kirwan has been Wisconsin Public Radio’s La Crosse reporter since 2015. Her stories can be heard almost daily on WPR’s newscasts, covering agriculture issues and southwestern Wisconsin. Before joining WPR, Kirwan was a reporter for public radio station KBIA in Columbia, Mo., where she earned several awards, including a National Edward R. Murrow Award. Kirwan received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Mo.