2022 Wisconsin Rural Health Promotion Annual Meeting Speakers

Joel Charles, M.D., M.P.H. expanding section

Joel Charles, M.D., M.P.H.Joel Charles is a full spectrum family physician practicing in rural southwest Wisconsin where he serves as medical director for the Kickapoo Valley Medical Clinic. From the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health he received his M.D. and Master of Public Health degrees, the latter focusing on climate and health. He attended both those programs as a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholarship. He completed residency at Sutter Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency. Upon returning to Wisconsin he helped found and became chair of Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action, a fast growing group of health professionals committed to advocating for equitable solutions to the climate crisis in order to protect Wisconsinites. He has a 3 year old son Finn and an infant daughter Juniper, who help him remember why he does this work. 

Samantha Crowley, M.P.H. expanding section

Samantha CrowleySamantha Crowley is a first year medical student at the University of Wisconsin with interests in public health, health policy, and prevention. She is currently serving as the Advocacy Chair of the school’s American Medical Association of Medical Student Chapter and the Co-Leader of Medical Students for Choice. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin in Neurobiology with certificates in Global Health and Gender & Women’s Studies. Prior to attending medical school, Samantha completed her Master of Public Health degree at the University of Wisconsin during which she conducted fieldwork at the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health doing policy analysis on Wisconsin legislation impacting women’s health, safety, and economic security. Having grown up in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, she is passionate about equity and access to care in rural areas, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. After graduating from medical school, Samantha hopes to pursue residency in either the field of Family Medicine or Preventive Medicine and continue her work with health advocacy throughout her career.

John Eich expanding section

John EichJohn Eich directs Wisconsin’s Office of Rural Health, which works to improve the access to, and quality of, rural healthcare in the state.  His experience and skills are primarily in systems analysis and design, program planning and evaluation, and community development.  He founded the annual Rural Health Data Summit, and led a national team developing an assessment of a state’s EMS capacity, used by states across the country.

Prior to this he directed a County Health Council in southern New Mexico—which assessed county health and wellness needs, built and maintained community coalitions to address them, and advocated for the county on a regional and statewide basis.  During his tenure, the Council was selected as a model Council for the state, and recognized for its leadership in developing evaluation and data assessment tools.

His larger professional background is quite broad, and includes experience in the social services, advertising and teaching.  He grew up in rural Wisconsin.

Mary Hamman, Ph.D. expanding section

Mary Hamman, Ph.D.Mary Hamman is an empirical microeconomist and expert in applied econometrics and analysis of complex data sets. Her areas of interest include the economics of preventive healthcare and long-term care, retirement policy and aging. Her work has appeared in Health EconomicsHealth Affairs, and American Journal of Public Health, and she has received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Social Security Administration, and the Steven H. Sandell Grant Program. Dr. Hamman is a Research Fellow and Associate Director of the University of Wisconsin Madison's Center for Financial Security, a Professor of Economics and Swenson Baier Engaged Faculty Fellow at University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. She teaches courses in health economics, business research methods, econometrics, and labor and managerial economics. Her teaching is grounded in a desire to create courses that are challenging in practical ways, and she often incorporates industry consulting projects with traditional classroom instruction. To date, she has mentored classroom-based consulting projects with over 25 local organizations and entrepreneurs. This work has been featured on Wisconsin Public Radio and in the La Crosse Tribune. Dr. Hamman holds a Ph.D. in Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University and B.S. in Economics from Arizona State University.

Hamman was born and raised in Tempe AZ and now lives in rural Wisconsin (in the only house on a dead end dirt road...) with her two sons and her husband, who is a practicing dairy veterinarian.

Joseph Larson, B.S.N., RN expanding section

Joe Larson, B.S.N., RNJoseph Larson is the Southern Region Director in the Office of Policy and Practice Alignment, Division of Public Health, Wisconsin Department of Health Services. His current role is to provide technical assistance in the Southern Region to build and strengthen the public health system capacity. His previous roles in public health included serving as a Nurse Consultant for both the Western and Southern Regions, as well as a Public Health Nurse at the La Crosse County Health Department. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Viterbo University and a Political Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Jonathan Temte, M.D., Ph.D., M.S. expanding section

Jonathan TemteJonathan Temte, M.D., Ph.D., M.S., is the associate dean for public health and community engagement at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Temte has dedicated his career to creating connections between primary care medicine and public health practice. A professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and a family medicine physician at the Access Community Health Centers, Temte has served as a clinician, teacher and researcher for 25 years.

He has PhD training in zoology, evolutionary physiology and marine mammal biology. His extensive body of research includes investigation of the relationships between communities, primary care and respiratory viruses.

An expert in vaccines and immunization policy, Temte has served on the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), also acting as chair of its Evidence-Based Recommendation Work Group. Temte was the first family physician to chair ACIP, from 2012 to 2015.

Temte is chair of the Wisconsin Council on Immunization Practices, and serves as medical director for Public Health Madison & Dane County. On the national level, Temte is serving an appointment to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Board of Scientific Counselors.

In addition to helping craft national vaccine recommendations, Temte has also led extensive public health research and policy at the community level in Wisconsin. Temte and his team have earned multiple CDC grants for an ongoing study tracking absenteeism in the Oregon School District as a warning system for influenza outbreaks in the broader community.

In 2018, Temte received the American Academy of Family Physicians Public Health Award for his career commitment to the enhancement of public health in the United States and beyond.

Temte also oversees the Office of Rural Health and the Area Health Education Center, as well as the Center for Urban Population Health, which is a partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Aurora Health Care and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2022 Wisconsin Health Education Network 35th Annual Meeting

Brian Kaczmarski, M.P.H. expanding section

Brian Kaczmarksi, M.P.H.Brian Kaczmarski, B.S., M.P.H., is in his 16th year in the world of public health and currently serves as the Wisconsin Statewide Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalitions (HERC) Coordinator. His past roles have included being a two-time public health accreditation coordinator, Director of the Western Wisconsin Public Health Readiness Consortium (WWPHRC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Statewide Training and Exercise Coordinator, and a Public Health Director/Health Officer for a Level III Health Department. Prior to entering the field of public health, Brian was a secondary school educator.

Rachel King, M.P.H., MCHES expanding section

Rachel King, M.P.H., MCHESRachel King is the Epidemiologist and Public Health Strategist at the La Crosse County Health Department. Her work includes developing data collection procedures and data analysis plans for the COVID-19 pandemic. Through her work, she collaborates with the Disease Investigation Team to identify suspected disease outbreaks and to synthesize data to provide conclusions, recommendations and local context. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health Education and a Master of Public Health Degree from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and became MCHES-certified in October 2018.

Ryan A. McKelley, Ph.D., LP, HSP expanding section

Ryan A. McKelleyRyan A. McKelley has a reputation for being able to translate research and academic concepts into practical information that audiences can implement in their own lives. A licensed psychologist and full professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, McKelley teaches courses on health psychology, behavior modification, abnormal psychology, group counseling, and men and masculinities. He also maintains a small private practice consisting of individual therapy and clinical supervision of trainees.

McKelley is a former President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities and a member of the Society for Health Psychology, both divisions of the American Psychological Association. Specific research and presentation topics include men’s help-seeking, alternative treatment models, nontraditional work and family roles, fatherhood, men and depression, marketing mental health and various areas of health psychology.

McKelley has been interviewed extensively in the area of mental health and changing gender roles. In the last few years, he has been quoted in print outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and local papers in both the United States and Australia. McKelley has also appeared on several radio stations and podcasts such as National Public Radio and ABC Radio News. McKelley’s TEDx talk, “Unmasking Masculinity: Helping Boys Become Connected Men,” has been viewed over 200,000 times.

Paula Walker, M.D., M.P.H., MCHES, Dip ABLM expanding section

Paula D. Walker, M.D., M.P.H., MCHESDr. Paula D. Walker (aka Dr. Paula) is a board-certified Public Health physician. She is also CEO and Founder of Walker Worldwide Enterprises LLC. Dr. Paula is the Principal and Senior Consultant. She provides patient engagement and cultural competence training; case management consulting; and advises healthcare organizations on best practices for improving the health of the most vulnerable, including individuals with low health literacy; and those who experience socioeconomic barriers to healthcare.

Additionally, Dr. Paula partners with communities and state health departments to provide health education; develop health promotion campaigns; and to advocate for programming that centers on Lifestyle Medicine and physical activity as a path to stronger Public Health.

Dr. Paula is passionate about health promotion and using evidence- based methods to prevent disease. Consequently, she has presented extensively on prevention science. Since 2008, Dr. Paula has been a medical contributor on WTVM, an ABC television affiliate in Columbus, Georgia, where she writes and hosts a weekly TV health segment, titled Wellness Wednesday. Every week, Dr. Paula reaches over 250,000 residents in the Columbus, GA metropolitan area and millions of other viewers across the nation, via additional ABC-TV affiliates, with her weekly broadcast where she teaches about various aspects of Lifestyle Medicine, including whole food plant-based nutrition; exercise; and emotional wellness.

An additional area of expertise is moral injury/burnout among healthcare providers and Public Health professionals. When shared, many can relate to Dr. Paula’s own story of compassion fatigue after burnout led her to a “wake-up” call. Now, Dr. Paula helps other professionals. She is dedicated to promoting practitioner and clinician well-being across all career stages and specialties.

Dr. Paula provides workshops and programs to increase resilience, so as to reduce the likelihood of burnout, that can often result when high performers passionately and powerfully serve their institutions, patients and communities.

Dr. Paula is an experienced, award-winning educator, wellness advocate and transformational leader. She is Chairman of the Board of Directors for Trimm Global Charities, Inc., a global humanitarian non- governmental organization (NGO) whose outreach and initiatives, for women and girls, address the health and educational disparities precipitated by the intersectionality of race, gender and class (https://trimmglobalcharities.org/) .

As a health equity champion, Dr. Paula is committed to mitigating disparities and transforming health care delivery systems to support inclusion and wellness as a paradigm, so that all who encounter our nation’s healthcare systems thrive and flourish.

Aimee Wollman Nesseth, M.Div., M.S. expanding section

Amy Wollman NessethAimee Wollman Nesseth, M.Div., M.S. is in her 7th year as Program Coordinator for the Northwest WI Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (NWWIHERC). Her interest in Emergency Preparedness came out of her work and service with the Spiritual Disaster Response team of the American Red Cross, as the Coordinator for the Chippewa Valley Emergency Support Services Critical Incident Stress Management team, and as one of the Eau Claire Fire Department Chaplains. Aimee has 26 years of experience in ministry and served as a Board- Certified Professional Chaplain in the Critical Care and Emergency Department settings in both Eau Claire, WI and St. Paul, MN. She has a master’s degree in Leadership with an emphasis on Crisis Management and Emergency Preparedness