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.
Sarah Davis, J.D., MPA
Associate Director / Clinical 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.
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.
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
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.
Kay Barrett, M.D.
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.
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.
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 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 startups 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.
Legal Advocacy Coordinator
Bio coming soon.
Becky Gennerman-Schroeder serves as the Center’s Advocacy Coordinator, facilitating the service learning experience in our patient advocacy program. She provides education, supervision and support to students as they work alongside clients on their journey through the healthcare system.
Becky received her bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology from UW-Madison and her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Colorado, Denver. Becky began her career providing counseling and medical advocacy to those who had been impacted by sexual assault. She went on to coordinate and instruct personal safety skills classes for women, children, and people with disabilities. She is a strong advocate for keeping kids safe from abuse and has done numerous workshops and trainings (for children and adults) on the topic.
Becky has spent over fifteen years as a psychotherapist and clinical coordinator providing individual, family and group therapy to children impacted by abuse and neglect. During this time, Becky played an integral part with the Fostering Healthy Futures program. She oversaw all aspects of the group therapy program; including clinical delivery of group therapy, ensuring fidelity in program implementation, involvement in the federally-funded research protocol, and advocacy for children within the child welfare system. She also played an important role in training and supervising graduate students regarding implementation of the curriculum, clinical issues, advocacy and therapeutic skills. Additionally, Becky suggested and coordinated changes made to the manualized curriculum developed by the program.
Becky went on to become a clinical instructor at the University of Colorado in the graduate program of Counseling Psychology. There she was housed in the University of Colorado Student and Community Counseling Center teaching seminars on various clinical issues and often was invited to be a guest lecturer to multiple counseling psychology graduate courses. Becky strongly believes that the role of a psychotherapist includes working to empower clients as well as to advocate for clients within the communities they participate in. Her primary role was to provide individual, group and live reflective supervision to graduate students during their practicum and internship semesters. Becky also served as a psychotherapist at the Counseling Center; which included providing therapy, crisis intervention, and active involvement in building capacity and advocacy skills in clients.
Becky was drawn to the mission of the Center due to her commitment to both advocacy and on-going learning. She has been touched by the experiences of those close to her that have been impacted by significant health conditions and the challenges of advocating for oneself in the medical system.
Lane Hanson, MSW
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.
Associate 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.
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.
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.