The Greater Madison/Southern Wisconsin Chapter
(Last Updated 2005)
This Chapter was founded in 1996 and was mainly composed of inpatient hospital staff, along with some home health and UW HIV clinic staff. The first chapter president was Theresa Lenaghan. Founding members, besides Theresa, were Heidi Wittwer, RpH; Tina LaHaise, RN; Jackie Vruegdenhil, RN; and Virginia McCullough, RN. Theresa was chapter president in 1996-1997, after which Heidi Witwer assumed the role (1998-1999). From 1999-2000, Theresa once again assumed the presidency. Teri Meyer became president in 2001, continuing through 2004. Laura Thibodeau is currently president.
In 1997 the chapter sponsored a child to attend Camp Heartland. In 1999 an ACRN review class was held. These early years were the strongest in the chapter’s history, in terms of membership and involvement. Beginning in 2001, there were signs of threats to our chapter’s viability. The change in the epidemic from inpatient to outpatient treatment affected both the number and type of staff interested in ANAC and other HIV-related organizations. Attendance at events is now primarily composed of those ineligible for holding office in ANAC—case managers at the local ASO, pharmacists, etc. The number of nurses attending events is now typically 2-3 nurses. Those nurses formerly involved in ANAC have left the locale, if still involved in HIV care, or have changed their nursing focus to other fields.
Because the same two nurses were attempting to hold the chapter together from 2001-2004, chapter revocation nearly ended things in 2004. The revocation was successfully appealed. We have worked very hard through 2005 to try to keep the chapter afloat—attendance at an ANAC leadership training session; outreach efforts to local schools and any nursing employment site and related organization we could come up with; attendance at nursing job fairs; attempting to broaden the appeal of speakers; sending a survey to a large number of actual and potential attendees to try to determine interests/preferences to bring people in; changing presentation times; increasing collaboration with our local MATEC group, etc.
At the same time, it has become increasingly difficult to finance speakers and venues for our presentations. Our chapter, with its few members, does not maintain a large bank account. Pharma restrictions have gotten increasingly tight.
The bottom line is that this may well be our final year as a chapter. Although we have maintained attendance at presentations and have met the minimum (nursing) membership requirements, we are facing a dearth of individuals willing to take leadership roles. If there are not significant changes by the end of the year, we will most likely attempt to merge with the Milwaukee chapter. It is unfortunate.