Faculty and Staff

Our People

We are healthcare consumers, caregivers, and survivors. We are teachers and learners.

We are healthcare providers, lawyers, social workers, researchers, and policy shapers.

We are collaborators and problem-solvers. We are advocates.

To get in touch with someone specific, please contact us.


Leadership Team


Sarah Davis, J.D., MPA

Co-Director / Clinical Professor

For 15 years I have been teaching and advocating for health justice at the Center for Patient Partnerships, and am thrilled to be co-director with Jill Jacklitz. I love to teach about system-level advocacy at the policy and organizational levels, and systems thinking.  Like many health advocates, my advocacy started at an early age – I now laugh fondly at my eager 17-year-old self trying to change smoking policies at our high school, and cherish my access to reproductive health work in college. 

When I started at CPP in 2005, I joined Meg, our founding director, and 2 volunteers.  We have grown to 13 staffers faithful to our interdisciplinary ideals, adding a National Initiatives arm, a robust community presence through our Resource Navigator Program, and innovative programs like LIFT Dane, with the goal of tackling health justice broadly through civil legal justice reform.  My academic bio is available on the Law School website.

We have seen sea changes in health care in my time at CPP, and no doubt will experience continued transformation.  Take basic access to care as just one example – we continue to witness a rollercoaster of changing levels of access and inequalities across communities.  

When not working, I love to play strategic board games with friends (my favorite keeps changing), I aspire to get out on a kayak or experience nature in any way I can, and cherish laughing with my 11 year old.



Rachel Grob, M.A., Ph.D.

Director of National Initiatives / Clinical Professor

Rachel Grob, M.A., Ph.D., is Director of National Initiatives and Associate Clinical Professor at the Center for Patient Partnerships. She is also Senior Scientist in the School of Medicine and Public Health’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. She is a sociologist whose career, both inside and outside academia, has been devoted to investigating patients’ experiences with health and health care, and to involving them in the discourse, policy processes and institutional arrangements which impact that care. A strong dual commitment to generating knowledge and using that emerging knowledge to create concrete impact for consumers, families and communities is prominent in all her work.

Rachel’s current projects include (1) Acting as Qualitative Research Lead for the award-winning, internationally-vetted Database of Individual Patient Experience (DIPEx) initiative here in the U.S.; as an elected member of the DIPEx International Board of Trustees guiding patient experience work in 11 countries; and as co-PI developing the USA’s first full web-based patient experience module (on depression in young adults) using these methods. (2) Leading the qualitative arm on two federal grants pioneering methods to reliably elicit patient narratives about their health care encounters as part of large-scale patient experience surveys. (3) Working as co-PI on a mixed-methods research project providing the first nationally representative portrait of patients’ perspectives on “low value” healthcare.

You can download Rachel Grob’s CV here 



Jill Jacklitz, MSSW

Co- Director 

Jill serves as the Center’s Co- Director and Director of Education, leading our educational program-building, curriculum development, and course offerings. Jill’s approach is informed by direct experiences advocating, through legislative and organizational change, for patients facing barriers to health care access.

Jill’s path to the Center includes professional and personal experiences in patient and systems advocacy, non-profit management and teaching. After receiving a Master’s degree in Social Work from UW-Madison, Jill worked in child advocacy at the Wisconsin Council for Children and Families for thirteen years, lobbying, coordinating community engagement and educational programs and serving as the organization’s Deputy Director. As executive director of a local non-profit focused on urban agriculture and community gardening, Jill raised awareness of the local food movement and saw first-hand its power to impact health. This experience led her to work in the community health field. As manager of community programs for a local health care cooperative, Jill advocated for health equity and supported patients navigating the health care system. Her work focused particularly on access to healthcare for those facing barriers including linguistic isolation, lack of insurance and poverty.

Throughout her career Jill has taught graduate courses in social policy, community engagement and methods of social work practice at the UW-Madison School of Social Work and supervised dozens of students in field education placements.

Growing up, Jill was introduced to advocacy by her mother who demonstrated a powerful example fighting for the rights of people with developmental disabilities. A half century ago Ohio did not provide the opportunities for her son to live a healthy and productive life in his community so Jill’s mother started community-based programs and fought for legislative change.

Currently, Jill serves as vice-chair of the board of directors of REAP Food Group, a non-profit organization that develops links between local growers and eaters. She also serves on the board of the Farley Center, advising the their farm incubator programming for beginning farmers. In her spare time Jill enjoys gardening, pottery and baking fancy cakes—basically anything that lets her get her hands dirty. She lives in Madison with her partner, two teenage children and their two dogs, two rabbits, three chickens and a lizard.




Kay Barrett, M.D.

Medical Consultant

Kay is a retired cardiologist who joined the Center to assist help students understand the nature and course of their client’s medical conditions, frame decisions, understand navigation of our chaotic medical system, and explore clinical trials.

After completing a BA in Germanic studies at the University of Michigan, Kay completed medical school there, an internal medicine residency at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, and a fellowship in cardiology, also at U of M. She came to Madison to join East Madison Clinic (now Dean East). After a career as an interventional cardiologist, she came to the Center as a student wanting to continue assisting patients. The opportunity join the Center and to help guide students as they explore patient advocacy is a new and exciting opportunity.



Pete Daly

Advocacy Faculty

Pete Daly advocates for patients at the center through his direct experience as a cancer patient and continuing client of the center. In September 2002 he faced Stage III Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Through the help of the center, he built his medical and support teams, entered a long lasting clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI), and learned to proactively address his health care. Not long after his diagnosis and receiving “as his life depended upon it” direction from former Director Meg Gaines, Pete began working at the Center by directly assisting other patients and supervising professional degree students.

In his cancer journey, Pete has faced multiple recurrences, each time leaning upon his local medical team at the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, the clinical researchers at NIH/NCI, and the support of the center, friends and family. Pete and his wife, Nancy, have two children, Sam and Mary, and family is central to his wellbeing. Prior to his involvement with the center, Pete worked for 28 years as manager of a local private engineering practice and as a consultant.



Paula Evenson 

Student & Client Services Specialist

Paula is the first point of contact for students interested in enrolling in courses offered through the Center for Patient Partnerships here in the Law School. Paula recruits, advises, enrolls and supports graduate students from across campus and returning adults pursuing the Consumer Health Advocacy Certificate. She also serves undergraduates applying for the Community Resource Navigator role at the Wingra and Northeast Family Medical Centers. Paula serves on the law school’s student wellness committee.

Prior to coming to the CPP, Paula worked nearly 10 years for the School of Human Ecology, UW Madison’s Child Development Lab as Assistant Director and Director. Paula worked 27 years in the early childhood field as a teacher, director, regulator, policy analyst and trainer at the local, state and national levels. Some previous employers include the State of Wisconsin Bureau of Regulation and Licensing, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, Outagamie County Shelter Care and The Respite Center.

Paula and her husband have rescued a small zoo at home currently including a Corgi, 2 American Eskimo dogs, a poodle mix and one very tolerant cat. When she is not working she can be found with her bare feet on the icy or sandy shores of Lake Michigan.



Sachin Gupte 

Legal Advocacy Coordinator

Bio coming soon.




Lane Hanson

Community Engagement Coordinator

Lane Hanson is the Child Advocacy Project Coordinator for the Center. This role includes coordinating the resource navigation project under the ACTIVATE initiative. With a background in social work and education policy, Lane’s work is informed through a social justice lens. Lane developed the desire to enact change within healthcare systems, in order to empower patients and their families, as a result of personal and professional experiences within these systems. Informed by the social work perspective, Lane applies a strengths-based approach in addressing social determinants of health, recognizing the importance of developing resiliency and emphasizing protective factors.

Lane graduated from UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in political science, a Master’s degree in Social Work and is currently pursuing a PhD in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis. Lane has previous work experience in health care and in nonprofit administration. Lane has assisted teaching courses in the Social Work program at UW-Madison and has worked on various research projects regarding education disparities for youth from traditionally marginalized populations and connections to health outcomes. Most recently this involved a research project with the local nonprofit organization, GSAFE, gathering data regarding the school experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming youth in Wisconsin and assisting in the development of education policy design in order to better support these students.



Mary Michaud

Lecturer and Academic Editor 

Mary Michaud has worked in between health care administration and public health for more than two decades. As an instructor with the UW Law School’s Center for Patient Partnerships, Mary teaches health systems courses and supports strategic growth of the Center’s impact.

In 2017, after spending nearly four years as an executive with Public Health Madison & Dane County, Mary founded a consulting practice, Health & Social Impact Strategies, LLC. She works with a diverse range of clients across health and social sectors, locally, nationally and internationally, to improve organizational performance and fuel equity. She also serves as a senior healthcare analyst with Ripple Effect, a Washington, DC-based federal contractor providing a suite of communications, analysis, and policy consulting.

In her spare time, Mary serves on the Board of Directors for Collaboration for Good in Madison, and she is on the Citizen’s Advisory Board for Madison School and Community Recreation (MSCR), along with acting as an advisor for Green Schoolyards America. She also serves on the Alumni Council at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies, where she completed her Master’s Degree in Public Policy Studies and a Certificate in Health Administration.



Jake Nitzkin

Research Assistant

Jake contributes to the activities of the National Initiatives research team at the Center for Patient Partnerships as an Associate Research Specialist. Currently, he is working on projects that focus on capturing the breadth of experiences that individuals may have while living with a particular health condition. Additionally, Jake is collaborating with a team of individuals from Universities throughout the country to establish a digital presence for the Health Experiences Research Network (HERN).

As an undergraduate student at Michigan State University, Jake established the Bedside DJ Volunteer Program at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan, which teaches volunteers to provide comfort for patients by sharing music at their request and spending extended periods of time with them. He currently coordinates Bedside DJ Volunteer Programs locally at UW Health and Meriter Hospital and provides consultation for Bedside DJ Volunteer Programs in Michigan. His experiences serving patients as a Bedside DJ Volunteer inspired him to work alongside those that recognize the importance of honoring and researching patient experiences to inform positive health provider and policy changes. He intends to pursue an advanced degree in Public Health.


Kira Stewart

Program Administrator

Bio coming soon.





Sheray Wallace

Community Resource Educator 

Sheray is a long time Meadowood resident, community organizer and activist in the Dane County Area.  She brings a wealth of knowledge ranging from youth capacity building, violence intervention, domestic violence support, elderly care, and community and medical wrap-around services.  Sheray is known for her collaborative spirit and is best known for organizing community suppers in the Meadowood Neighborhood as a way of building trust and relationships with her neighbors.  In response to challenges impacting the Meadowood community, Sheray and fellow community members founded Southwest Madison Community Organizers (SWMCO) in 2013.  With grants from the Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment and the Morgridge Center for Public Service’s Matching Grants program SWMCO evolved from a group of concerned citizens into a functioning grassroots community organizing initiative addressing issues around housing, economic development, transportation issues, food systems, racial reconciliation, and youth organizing.



Emily Warne

Research Specialist

Emily graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Biological Sciences. She stays active on campus through her position as the Fundraising and Social Events Coordinator for the Health Professions Society, a student organization. In addition, she has been volunteering with UnityPoint Health – Meriter hospital and Greater University Tutoring Services. She is a lifelong Wisconsinite who enjoys long bike rides, playing volleyball and cheering on her fellow Badgers at the Kohl Center and Camp Randall. She hopes to attend graduate school after completing her Baccalaureate in Science with aspirations to go on to medical school.



Madison Wynn

Research Specialist

Madison is a trained public health researcher, working for the National Initiatives research team at the Center for Patient Partnerships. Her focus is on patient-centered care and including patient voices in the development, training for and provision of care. Madison believes in the power of elevating voices as a means of addressing discrepancies in health care. Madison connects research back to communities through actionable dissemination tactics that focus on meeting people where they are. Madison is currently working on projects that focus on Patients’ Experiences with Breast Cancer; Genomic Medicine and Hereditary Cancer and Cancer Risk; Clinical Trials; establishing a digital presence for the Health Experiences Research Network; developing and maintaining project IRB applications.

As a public health graduate student, Madison’s practicum was with the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, where she focused on stakeholder engagement to get data beyond academic institutions and into the hands of communities. After receiving her master’s degree, Madison worked at the Waisman Center, where she was a researcher for the CDC’s Wisconsin Surveillance of Autism and other Developmental Disabilities System program.

Madison grew up on the east coast and moved to Madison for graduate school; like so many, she fell in love with the city and never left! Madison lives with her husband and two dogs and enjoys spending time by the many beautiful lakes of the city.




Research Collaborators


Mark Schlesinger, Ph.D.

Mark Schlesinger, Ph.D. is a professor of health policy and director of undergraduate studies at the School of Public Health and a fellow of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University. Mark collaborates with Rachel on a qualitative evaluation of the Center’s patient advocacy services and with Rachel and Sarah on other health policy projects. He has worked with a variety of health advocacy initiatives and has for the past decade been on the board of directors at Community Catalyst, a nonprofit organization devoted to developing the capacity of consumer advocates to influence state-level health policymaking.

Mark is co-editor (with Rachel) of Patients as Policy Actors (Rutgers University Press, 2011), past editor of the Journal of Health Policy, Politics, and Law, and author of multiple articles including:

  • Rosenthal M, M Schlesinger. Not afraid to blame: The neglected role of blame attribution in medical consumerism and some implications for health policy. Milbank Quarterly 2002; 80(1): 41-95.
  • Schlesinger M, S Mitchell, B Elbel. Voices unheard: Barriers to the expression of dissatisfaction with health plans Milbank Quarterly 2002; 80(4): 709-755.
  • B Elbel, M Schlesinger, A neglected aspect of medical consumerism: responsive consumers in markets for health plans Milbank Quarterly 2009; 87(3): 633-82.
  • M. Schlesinger. Choice cuts: parsing policymakers’ pursuit of patient empowerment from an individual perspective Journal of Health Economics, Policy and Law 2010; 5(3): 365-87.

Mark’s scholarship centers on peoples’ decision-making processes in complicated circumstances, such as evaluating medical experiences, choosing among health care providers, or assessing the legitimacy of health and social policies. He has consulted to a half dozen federal agencies and more than a dozen state governments on issues ranging from informed consumer decision-making in medical settings to maintaining the viability of the nonprofit sector in American health care.

Nancy Pandhi, MD, Ph.D., MPH

Nancy Pandhi received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and her M.D. from Medical College of Virginia. During her years at the Shenandoah Valley Family Practice Residency, she received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to develop and implement a longitudinal spirituality and medicine curriculum. She was a recipient of the AAFP Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education and the Resident Teaching Award. She also served as the resident member of the Family Medicine Residency Review Committee and the resident representative to the board of the Association of Family Medicine Residency Directors.
Following residency, Nancy came to Wisconsin and completed the department’s NRSA research fellowship. She completed her MPH degree while a fellow, and then completed a PhD in Population Health Sciences.

Nancy’s research program is directed towards effective ambulatory care redesign for vulnerable populations. She completed a K-08 Career Development Award from NIH/NIA. Currently funded areas of interest include the integration of behavioral health and primary care, and patient engagement in care redesign. Nancy’s clinical practice is at the William T. Evjue Clinic of Access Community Health Centers.

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