Can Wisconsin Transform the Lives of Black Women and Their Families?

submitted by Emily Gruenewald

Lisa Peyton Caire 8 5 2020Lisa Peyton-Caire is the Founding CEO and President of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness (FFBWW), a Wisconsin based organization committed to eliminating health disparities and other barriers impacting Black women, their families and communities.

When Lisa’s mother passed away from heart disease in 2006 at the age of 64, she reflected on the number of black women in her life who had died in middle age. She realized her mother’s death wasn’t an anomaly and began researching the broader influences on Black women’s health. Since forming FWBBW in 2012, the Foundation now serves over 5,000 women and girls each year through direct health education, wellness programming, leadership development and advocacy while mobilizing women and community partners to be change agents in advancing health equity.

Wisconsin is number one in the nation for: racial inequities, economic inequities, health disparities, birth disparities, educational disparities, Black child poverty and over-incarceration. These disparities and inequities create a constant stress on daily life that negatively impacts overall health and wellness for Black women and their families. Lisa encourages us to read the “Saving Our Babies Report” (http://ffbww.org/savingourbabies/) to understand the significant health crisis Black women and children face in Dane County, and the initiatives to advance maternal, child and family wellbeing.

When asked what we can do to help transform the systems impacting Black women’s health to take Wisconsin from being the worst place to raise a Black child to one of the best, Lisa said, “Don’t assume you have the answers.”  She encourages us to, “Go directly to those who are impacted and ask, ‘What do you need to build the infrastructure to make these changes?’” Call FFBWW to start a conversation to learn more deeply about the issues. Become an advocate in your network and support initiatives that will transform Wisconsin into a leader in health equality.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/PazT9BZNoKc.

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