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.



Martha “Meg” Gaines, J.D., LLM

Director / Clinical Professor

Martha “Meg” Gaines, founder and director of the Center, was called to advocacy work after her own experience with illness. In 1994, Meg was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which ultimately spread to her liver. In early 1995, a doctor told her to “go home and think about the quality, not the quantity” of her remaining days. Her children were toddlers at the time. But Meg did not go home and die. She went on an odyssey around the United States and found the surgeon who would save her life.


Once she was in remission, Meg returned to her job at the law school and, in 1998, was named Assistant Dean for Student and Academic Affairs. But Meg soon felt called to a new career. Mindful of the role her education and resources played in her survival, Meg decided to commit her professional energies to helping other patients facing life threatening and serious chronic illnesses get the care they need. In September 2000, she and several colleagues founded the Center.

Meg received her undergraduate degree in religion from Vassar College in 1977 and graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1983. Following her graduation, she served as a law clerk in Arizona and as a trial attorney for the Milwaukee office of the State Public Defender. In 1987, she returned to the Remington Center at the University of Wisconsin Law School to teach. She earned her post-graduate Master of Laws degree in 1993 from the University of Wisconsin.

Meg provides leadership in diverse settings including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Committee on Ensuring Patient Access to Affordable Drug Therapies, the National Cancer Research Advocates of the NCI, the National Academy of Medicine’s Vital Directions initiative, the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. She also serves as a consumer member of numerous research efforts funded by the DOD, the VA, ASCO, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PCORI, the Cancer Support Community, and the AHRQ.

Publications include “Engaging Patients at the Front Lines of Primary Care Redesign: Operational Lessons for an Effective Program,” “A Social Compact For Advancing Team-Based High-Value Health Care,” “Constructing High-Stakes Surgical Decisions: It’s Better to Die Trying,” and “Medical Professionalism from the Patient’s Perspective: Is There an Advocate in the House?” The Center’s work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, Academic Medicine, Health Services Research, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Annals of Surgery, and the Journal of Health Policy & Law.



Sarah Davis, J.D., MPA

Associate Director / Clinical Asst. Professor

Sarah Davis is Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Associate Director of the interdisciplinary Center for Patient Partnerships at the University of Wisconsin (housed at the Law School) where she teaches about patient advocacy, health and public health law, including in the service-learning program as supervising attorney. Areas of interest include health professionals’ advocacy roles, engaging patients in quality improvement and policy-making, building professionals’ resiliency skills, and medical and legal curriculum transformation. 


Sarah was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Faculty Fellow in the Future of Public Health Law Program (2014-15).  As a RWJF faculty fellow, she piloted a practice-based eLearning course to complement public health law externships in local and remote locations.  It is described in her article: Educating the New Public Health Law Professional. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 44, no. 1, Supp. (2016).  She serves as the Legal Advisor for the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project.

Her current scholarship includes developing an intervention to address health-harming legal issues in health clinics, and identifying dissemination and implementation barriers to engaging patients in continuous learning as part of health system quality improvement initiatives. She also recently completed a study of law students’ mindsets and the role it plays in professional development and well-being, to be published this Spring in Law & Psychology Review.

Publications include: Implementation Science Workshop: Engaging patients in Team-Based Practice Redesign-Critical Reflections on Program Design. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2016:1-8; and The Affordable Care Act’s Plan for Consumer Assistance With Insurance Moves States Forward But Remains A Work In Progress, Health Affairs, 32, no.2 (2013): 347-356.

Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Concurrently, she obtained a master’s degree from the La Follette School of Public Affairs.



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

Director of National Initiatives / Associate 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

Director of Education

Jill serves as the Center’s 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.


Molly Jones

Associate Research Specialist

Before joining CPP, Molly graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a Master’s in Social Work where she focused her studies in Health Policy and Administration. Molly looks forward to delving into CPP’s research initiatives on health equity, patient-centered care, navigating the health care system and social determinants of health as a research specialist.




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.



Lane Hanson, MSW

Child Advocacy Project 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 nonconforming youth in Wisconsin and assisting in the development of education policy design in order to better support these students.



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 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.



Cindi Gatton 

Advocacy Faculty

Cindi Gatton supports clinical and advanced clinical students as a clinical supervisor. Learning firsthand the importance of patient advocacy and system navigation during her only brother’s life limiting illness, she completed the CPP Professional Certificate program in 2013, and launched a private patient advocacy practice serving individuals and employers in Georgia (www.georgiapatientadvocate.com).

After completing her B.S. in education at the University of Virginia, and her M.A. in speech and language pathology at The George Washington University, she practiced as a speech/language pathologist for 5 years before migrating to the business side of healthcare. She worked for both healthcare start ups as well as Fortune 250 organizations in a sales and account management career that spanned more than 25 years.


Cindi has embraced and is passionate about distance education. Residing in Atlanta, she is the proud mother of two “launched” sons, and an avid gardener and hiker.



Kathleen Krchnavek

Advocacy Faculty
Kathleen acts as a clinical supervisor at the Center, assisting students in their advocacy work with patients. Kathleen has worked in health care for over 30 years. After she received her Bachelors degree in Social Work, Kathleen worked for several years in hospitals and nursing homes as a medical social worker. When she obtained her Master’s in Social Work from UW-Madison, her career shifted to focus on health program development, coordination, and policy. She spent several years at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in the AIDS/HIV Program coordinating the HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral Program, and working on special projects related to HIV statutes and increasing awareness and access to prevention services.


Kathleen obtained a Certificate in Consumer Health Advocacy at the Center because she wanted to return to working more directly with patients. As a result, she started a private patient advocacy business, and joined the Center to support students in their advocacy work. Kathleen also works in the UW-Madison School of Social Work as a field faculty instructing social work students who have internships in healthcare settings or are working with aging populations.


Robin Conkey

Program Administrator

Robin began her career working in health care administration for a large medical group and soon found herself advocating for a family member with a severe illness. This experience led to a role within a public interest law firm specializing in advocacy for children with special health care needs. Robin is pleased to return to the university campus where she originally completed her undergraduate degree. She is involved in many of the Center’s activities that support students dedicated to becoming skilled, empathetic patient advocates.


Cecie Culp

Associate Research Specialist

Cecie joined the CPP as a research specialist after graduating from the LaFollette School of Public Affairs here at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She graduated from Skidmore College with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and worked in a research lab at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus before coming to Wisconsin for graduate school. She hopes that her background in biomedical sciences research and public policy will help bring a unique perspective to the CPP’s many exciting research initiatives.



Christopher Yue

Student Services and Technology Coordinator

Christopher provides student services and academic technology support to all CPP staff and students. He is a graduate of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) program in the School of Education. He graduated from UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication Arts. He worked in marketing and public relations before returning to Madison for graduate school with a focus on Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration.



Emily Warne

Office Assistant

Emily is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a major in BiologicalSciences. 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.


Mary Michaud

Adjunct Faculty

Mary Michaud has spent more than two decades working across sectors to improve community health. A former staffer for the Center, Mary most recently served as Policy Director for Public Health Madison & Dane County, offering systems thinking and analysis to support population health improvement. In 2017, she launched VisuaLeverage, a visual strategy firm, to make complex information more accessible for decision-making and action. She received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master’s Degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago.