Standing Together Summer 2023

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News For Friends And Champions

What’s Inside: A Message for this Moment from Tanya Atkinson

One Year After Roe

— Wisconsin abortion access update

PPWI’s New Research Program

— A focus on Health Equity

PPWI to offer PEP & PrEP

— with Pride

About the Cover:

Typography is a signal not just a way to put letters on a page.

~ Seth Godin


A play on Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE artwork, this cover features the second in a series of art to contemplate the many facets of CARE. 2023

Dear caring and giving friends, The Unimaginable

Let me begin by saying, thank you. Thank you for your profound care for the Planned Parenthood mission. Because of your profound care — together, for a full year — we have navigated the unimaginable of abortion care not being available in our state. In this unimaginable space, new services previously dreamed about and imagined for a very long time, have now come to fruition — most notably the addition of vasectomy services.

During this unimaginable year, I recognize we’ve all learned quite a bit about the dimensions and intricacies of: Care. No matter what. While the statement serves as both clarion and mantra, for care to manifest in the world, there must first be the propensity to give.

To give of one’s time. To give of one’s resources.

To give of one’s heart.

Giving Care = Giving in Service

As a child I learned about giving in service to “the least among us.” Having the privilege of being in the social services and non-profit sectors for several decades, I now have the language and the awareness to reframe giving not to “the least among us” rather giving in service to each, individual person wherever they may be on their own unique life path. This beautiful reframe is about seeing and honoring one another exactly where we are in life, which is at the heart of Health Equity.

Giving Care = Focusing on Health Equity

Equity as defined by the World Health Organization is “the absence of unfair, avoidable

or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically or by other dimensions of inequality (e.g. sex, gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation). Health is a fundamental human right. Health Equity is achieved when everyone can attain their full potential for health and well-being.”*

The giving of care through the Health Equity lens has come into an even sharper focus for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin since the fall of Roe. I’ve heard story after story about how the giving of care by the PPWI patient navigators has touched the lives of each person they encounter in a personal way — offering them emotional and financial support on their unique journey.

Giving Care = Traveling Together

I am continually provided updates regarding the PPWI Abortion Services Team who are traveling to Illinois weekly and providing continuity of care to Wisconsin patients — while pursuing a calling in their heart to provide compassionate abortion care to those who need it. No matter what. They are motivated by love — giving care in a profound way where patients feel supported — knowing they are not alone; rather they are “traveling” together.

Giving Care = Supporting Communities

Plans are underway for the second Back to School Bash — another incredible way for the giving of care. Last August, the first Back to School Bash was held at the community space located adjacent to the Planned Parenthood health center on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

This event was the result of deep listening of Planned Parenthood health center staff and community members who identified a giving opportunity that was desired, respectful, and honoring of the community: new backpacks stocked with the required supplies by grade. Last year’s event included 35 volunteers, three community partners, and more than 160 backpacks given so that kids of all ages could have a great start to their new year.

Giving Care = Planning for Future Generations

The giving of care was also recently provided by Joanne Rattan who wanted to make sure her long-time support continued even after


her death earlier this year. Joanne, alongside her husband, Dr. Walter Rattan, who preceded her in death, helped establish the Planned Parenthood health center in Kenosha.

Joanne’s daughter gave a gift to myself and other team members as she described her mother’s legacy of giving care to generations of women.

Joanne was a tireless advocate for women’s civil and reproductive rights. Proudly, Joanne was one of the founding members of Women and Children’s Horizons, a safe haven for women and children experiencing sexual and domestic abuse.

Joanne’s gift to the Kenosha health center honors a new generation, giving them access to health care wherever they may be on their life path.

How extraordinary that in life and in death we each have the opportunity to give profound care, whether that’s navigating someone to needed health care, or a new backpack filled with school supplies, or giving back to one’s community so that a new generation can thrive. And so it is that giving of profound care has and always will be achieved by traveling together.

Giving profound care to you,

One Year After Roe — Wisconsin Abortion Access Update:*

It is hard to believe an entire year has passed since the US Supreme Court removed the federal constitutional right to abortion — erasing five decades of court precedent. The decision took away one’s power to make private medical decisions — handing it over to politicians. The decision also forced PPWI and other abortion providers in Wisconsin to suspend abortion services due to the legal uncertainty of a criminal abortion ban from 1849.

Within days of the decision, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul challenged the enforceability of the ban. The State’s case argued that the 19th century law cannot be enforced as it conflicts with a newer 1985 law permitting abortion up to the point of fetal viability. Other plaintiffs in the case include the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board. In May, a hearing was held in the Dane County Circuit Court. PPWI supports the Attorney General’s lawsuit and is actively monitoring this litigation that is anticipated to make its way to the State Supreme Court. PPWI is also engaged in planning its own legal strategy with a goal of restoring, protecting, and expanding access to abortion.

PPWI continues to help patients navigate to providers out-of-state to seek abortion care. Wisconsin’s abortion services team also continues to travel to Illinois to expand access to the many patients arriving there from abortion restrictive states. Since the fall of Roe, our patient navigators have assisted more than 500 patients to seek the care they need — providing scheduling, financial assistance, and other support.

Mifepristone Case Update (National Impact)

Over the past several months, a case related to the availability of Mifepristone, one of two pills commonly used for medication abortion, has been making its way through the courts. A Texas judge ruled that the FDA’s national approval of Mifepristone should be rolled back, despite the medication being safely used by countless people for over 20 years. This medication is also an important drug for miscarriage management. The US Supreme Court stayed lower court decisions. Therefore, Mifepristone continues to be available in until the case makes its way through the courts.

The public’s support for legal abortion is at a record high. People deserve the right to control their own bodies, lives, and futures. Planned Parenthood won’t back down. We won’t stop fighting with everything we’ve got to be able to provide our patients with the sexual and reproductive health services and information they need to determine the course of their own life.

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*Information as of 6.1.2023

PPWI Creates New Research Program

— Foundational work, supporting a mission of equity

Three Pillars of Service

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s (PPWI) mission is upheld by three pillars — Health Care, Education, and Advocacy — working in concert to provide a holistic approach to improving lives in the communities served. Many of these communities are historically marginalized and face barriers not only to health care, but to other critical resources as a result of inequitable policies, systems, and environments.

Equity Matters

Both the World Health Organization and the CDC have identified that social determinants of health, such as access to clean water, safe housing, adequate transportation, affordable childcare, nutritious food, and a living wage, impact health outcomes as much as health behaviors and health care.

Across the US and throughout Wisconsin, positive social determinants of health are not equitably accessible due to structural and systemic forces, such as unjust economic and legal policies, racism, and climate change. Unfortunately, the communities which have been the most unfairly impacted include communities of color, LGBTQ+ communities, and low-income communities.

Research & Equity: A New Strategic Focus

Working to improve Health Equity has been named as a strategic focus for PPWI. In support of this work, the agency has created a new program dedicated to Health Equity research. The program will help to inform how to strengthen PPWI services and programs through evidence, innovation, and stakeholder engagement.

This new initiative is spearheaded by Meghan Benson, PPWI’s Director of Research, Assessment & Evaluation, whose vision is to create a comprehensive program to lead ethical, equitable, and community-engaged activities related to research, assessment, and evaluation. Program staff will conduct

rigorous research to contribute to knowledge of Health Equity and its impact on sexual and reproductive health.

Community Engagement is Key

Data on its own isn’t enough to do this work through an equity lens. One of the key features of this work is collaboration. To better understand the strengths, desires, and needs of the patients and communities we serve, Planned Parenthood must be authentically engaged in conversation and held accountable to them.

Because this program supports the work of PPWI across all teams, it is a cross-departmental effort that includes consulting with staff representing Patient Services, Education, Public Affairs, Community Relations, Business Operations, and the Executive Office. Going forward PPWI’s Research Program will also engage with several external partners such as:

• University of Wisconsin – Madison Collaborative for Reproductive Equity (UW CORE)

• University of Wisconsin – Madison Prevention Research Center (UWPRC)

• Medical College of Wisconsin

• University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM)

• National and out-of-state academic institutions & research organizations (e.g., University of California San Francisco, Guttmacher Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, Policy Research Group)

• PPFA Research Program & other PP Affiliate Research Departments.

“A large part of my role is conducting research projects and working with external researchers. Additionally, I’m focused on how to better use the data we already have access to. That data is valuable to improving all of PPWI’s programming for those the mission serves.”

Equity in the Work

Acknowledging that structures and systems were created and continue to perpetuate bias, one goal of this work is to ensure that research is conducted with cultural humility. This requires ongoing internal reflection and critique of our own practices to address and limit the power imbalances that exist between health care providers and patients, researchers and research participants, and organizations and community members.

Current Studies

End of Roe Study: Recruitment of individuals seeking abortion services post-Dobbs to assess their experiences and outcomes in states where abortion is now banned or severely restricted. (In partnership with University of California San Francisco)

Reproductive Health Impact Study:

“It is important to acknowledge a long history of abuse and coercion in research — particularly among communities of color, young people, those who can get pregnant, people who are incarcerated, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations.

“PPWI is committed to doing research in a way that’s ethical, equitable, and engages the people who are going to be most impacted.

“I’m looking forward to establishing patient and community advisory groups to guide this research program, asking the question, ‘How do we do research in a way that we are being responsive to community needs?’”

Multi-year comprehensive research initiative analyzing the effects of federal and state policy changes on publicly funded family planning care for individuals using these services.

(In partnership with the Guttmacher Institute)

BEAM Health Study:

A randomized control trial evaluating the effectiveness of an individualized, sexual and reproductive health intervention for young people at risk of pregnancy and experiencing symptoms of depression.

(In partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital & Policy Research Group)

Meet Meghan Benson

Meghan Benson has been with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin for over 15 years. Before stepping into her new role as the Director of Research, Assessment & Evaluation, she served as Director of Education.

Meghan is a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health and earned her Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

During her tenure in PPWI’s Education Department, Meghan partnered with numerous organizations to conduct community health research and evaluate sexual and reproductive health programs.

PPWI to Offer PEP and PrEP — with Pride!

Through a Health Equity lens, communities — through a Community Centric approach — continue to be at the heart of the PPWI mission. While communities can represent those who live in a specific geographic area, PPWI expands the definition to include a lived sense of being in community with one another based on identities such as ethnicity, race, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Community Centric Equitable Care

For PPWI to authentically work in a Community Centric way and focus on Health Equity, it is essential to commit to this expanded definition of Community and engage with communities, working with them to offer the care they most need.

Stigma Persists

Unfortunately a stigma persists for HIV patients — even more so for those in the transgender community who are confronted with higher rates of violence and sexual assault — and who are more likely to postpone care due to a negative experience of bias from some health care providers.

Compassionate Nonjudgmental Care

PPWI believes that your body is your own, and that all people deserve compassionate and nonjudgmental

Infection Rate Disparities

According to a 2021 CDC study, there were approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the US in 2019. An estimated 1 in 8 people living with the infection were unaware of their HIV status.

While HIV can impact anyone, the distribution of cases disproportionately impacts marginalized communities based on ethnicity, race, and sexual orientation — markedly so in the case of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). In 2017, MSM accounted for only about 2% of the population yet experienced 66% of new cases — with MSM of Color comprising 70% of those cases. It is estimated that 1 in 6 of these men are HIV positive and unaware. While there is historically less data on transgender populations, one study showed a risk for HIV to be 49 times higher than the general population.


health care. In 2020, PPWI proudly introduced Gender Affirming Care, available throughout Wisconsin via telehealth. PPWI is expanding in-person service to all health centers in the coming months.

Coming soon — PPWI will offer PEP and PrEP for patients at risk for HIV infection. PPWI will also help those without sufficient resources, connecting them to programs that help cover medical costs and other living needs.

PPWI is proud to support ALL communities and welcomes ALL people to our health centers. This care model ensures people from marginalized communities can be seen authentically and without judgment — treated with the dignity, respect, and compassion they deserve.

What is PrEP?

• PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a daily medication that helps prevent HIV before exposure.

• PrEP is for someone who is HIV-negative and at risk for being exposed to HIV — for example, someone who’s partner is HIV-positive or has an unknown HIV status.

• When taken consistently, PrEP reduces the risk of HIV infection by more than 90%.

What is PEP?

• PEP is Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, an emergency medication used after an HIV exposure.

• PEP is for someone who possibly has been exposed to HIV — for example, if a condom breaks with someone who is HIV-positive, or whose HIV status is unknown.

• PEP medication must be started within 72 hours of the possible exposure.

• When taken consistently for 28 days, PEP reduces the risk of HIV infection by 80%.

PPWI Ofrecerá PEP y PrEP, ¡Con Orgullo!

Desde el punto de vista de la equidad sanitaria, las comunidades o un enfoque centrado en la comunidad, siguen estando en el centro de la misión de PPWI. Si bien se puede pensar en las comunidades como un área geográfica específica, también existe un sentido vivido de estar en comunidad unos con otros en función de identidades como la etnia, la raza, la identidad de género o la orientación sexual.

Atención equitativa centrada en la comunidad

Para que PPWI trabaje auténticamente de forma centrada en la comunidad y se centre en la equidad sanitaria, es fundamental comprometerse con esta definición ampliada de comunidad y ofrecer la atención que las comunidades más necesitan.

El estigma persiste

Desafortunadamente persiste un estigma para los pacientes con VIH, incluso más para aquellos en la


es PrEP?

• PrEP (profilaxis preexposición) es una medicación diaria que ayuda a prevenir el VIH antes de la exposición.

• PrEP es para las personas VIH negativas y en riesgo de exposición al VIH, por ejemplo, alguien cuya pareja es VIH positiva o cuyo estado serológico se desconoce.

• Si se toma sistemáticamente, PrEP reduce el riesgo de infección por VIH en más del 90 %.

comunidad transgénero que se enfrentan a tasas más altas de violencia y agresión sexual, y que tienen más probabilidades de posponer la atención debido a una experiencia de prejuicio negativo por parte de los profesionales de la salud.

Atención compasiva y sin prejuicios

PPWI cree que tu cuerpo es tuyo y que todas las personas merecen una atención médica compasiva y sin prejuicios. En 2020, PPWI se enorgulleció de presentar la atención de afirmación de género, disponible en todo Wisconsin a través de telesalud. PPWI está ampliando el servicio en persona a todos los centros de salud en los próximos meses.

A finales de este año, PPWI ofrecerá PEP y PrEP para pacientes con riesgo de infección por VIH. PPWI también ayudará a los pacientes sin recursos suficientes conectándolos con programas que les ayuden con los gastos médicos y otras necesidades vitales.

PPWI se enorgullece de apoyar a TODAS las comunidades, y TODAS las personas son bienvenidas en nuestros centros de salud. Este modelo de atención garantiza que las personas de comunidades marginadas sean atendidas auténticamente y sin ser juzgadas; y tratadas con la dignidad, el respeto y la compasión que merecen.

Disparidades en las tasas de infección

Según un estudio de los CDC de 2021, en 2019 había aproximadamente 1,2 millones de personas con VIH en Estados Unidos. Se estima que 1 de cada 8 personas que viven con la infección desconocían su estado de VIH.

¿Qué es PEP?

• PEP es profilaxis postexposición y es un medicamento de emergencia que se utiliza tras una exposición al VIH.

• PEP es para alguien que posiblemente haya estado expuesto al VIH, por ejemplo, si se rompe un condón con alguien que es VIH positivo, o cuyo estado de VIH se desconoce.

• La medicación PEP debe iniciarse en las 72 horas siguientes a la posible exposición.

• Si se toma sistemáticamente durante 28 días, la nPEP reduce el riesgo de infección por VIH en un 80%.

Si bien el VIH puede afectar a cualquier persona, la distribución de los casos impacta de manera desproporcionada a las comunidades marginadas en función de la etnia, la raza y la orientación sexual, de manera marcada en el caso de los hombres homosexuales, bisexuales y otros hombres que tienen relaciones sexuales con hombres (MSM, por sus siglas en inglés). En 2017, los MSM representaron solo alrededor del 2 % de la población, pero experimentaron el 66 % de los casos nuevos, y los MSM de color representaron el 70 % de los casos. Se estima que 1 de cada 6 de estos hombres es VIH positivo y no lo sabe. Aunque históricamente hay menos datos sobre las poblaciones transgénero, un estudio mostró un riesgo de contraer VIH que es 49 veces superior al de la población general


Did you know?

• You can get birth control and UTI care on your mobile phone with the PP Direct App. Now accepting Medicaid in Wisconsin.

• PPWI offers Annual Health Exams, including breast and cervical cancer screening.

• The HPV vaccine is available at all PPWI locations.

• PPWI now offers Vasectomy Services in Milwaukee.

• In-Person Gender Affirming Care will soon be available statewide. Services are also available through convenient telehealth.

• You can support PPWI – by becoming a patient!

302 N. Jackson Street Milwaukee, WI 53202 A Convenient Way to Support PPWI’s Work: Save paper and save the stamp by making your gift on line at This is a secure payment site where you can make single or monthly donations. Donations can be made using a credit or debit card, as well as via PayPal or Venmo. Visit or scan this code to donate via your mobile device.
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