Wisconsin Chapter

Wisconsin Chapter

Formerly Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter-SEW
(Last Updated 2007)


The Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care was formed in March of 1995 at the time Southeastern Wisconsin was an epicenter for a Cryptosporidium outbreak.  The crisis was raging and many HIV infected persons residing in this area were dying.  The burden and strain weighed heavy on caretakers and health care providers in the Milwaukee community.  The need for a local gathering to handle stress, tell stories and find support was the foundation on which the SEW Chapter was born.  More than 30 individuals attended the first meeting.  The Chapter grew when it was evident that this was an excellent way to meet educational emotional and spiritual needs as well.

The founding chapter officers were:
•    Connie Highsmith, President
•    Jeffrey Miller, President-elect
•    Mary Busalacchi, Treasurer
•    Barbara Cuene, Secretary. 

These leaders as well as all charter members shared a dedication to help those infected with HIV and those affected by HIV to live and die with dignity.  This strong support and dedication continues in the chapter membership today.

Caring and support of the HIV infected/affected are the hallmark principles that guide our chapter.  In doing this, we have come to know one another very well and have extended our care and support to each other.  We have members who have battled cancer, built families, changed jobs, changed partners, endured major surgery, furthered their education and graduated from various degreed programs.  We lost a member in a tragic car accident while she was traveling to a regional HIV educational seminar.  Our weaknesses are our strengths.  We have become like family.

Our Chapter has accomplished many things.  This Chapter has missed holding only one quarterly meeting over the last 10 years.  Our meetings average 15 members each.  We utilize multiple formats for presenting educational information.  Support and networking takes many forms.  Members are active in local HIV events and outreach.  Members have adopted favorite charities and rally peers for support.  Our members volunteer at local AIDS service organizations as well as community counseling and testing centers.   In 1997 a scholarship fund was created to facilitate member attendance the ANAC National Conference and to sit for the ACRN exam.  We are proud of this funding because when our members are enriched, so to is our Chapter.  Over half of our membership is ACRN Certified and several are preparing to test. 

This Chapter is proud of the contributions to ANAC National.  Members have presented oral and poster presentations.  Some have served on National Committees, worked on leadership projects and received National Recognition.  Our founding chapter president served on the board of directors and later was elected as President of ANAC National. 

This Chapter is proud of its International contributions.  One member has served on President Bush’s advisory council for AIDS.  Several members have traveled to Africa as healers, educators and ambassadors of care and support.

Our future depends on remaining of value to the membership.  This means listening and providing what is needed.  We understand that technology and communication are essential to our growth and viability.  We are in the early stages of developing a chapter web site.   In 2006, we merged with the Greater Madison area chapter and officially changed our name to WANAC, Wisconsin Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.  We remain committed to education, network and support.  We welcome National involvement and regional clustering to brainstorm ideas that will energize our members and strengthen our networking. 
We look forward to bright future of the WANAC Chapter.

Chapter Presidents
1995    Connie Highsmith
1996    Connie Highsmith
1997    Jeffrey Miller
1998    Robert Pomerering
1999    Robert Pomerering
2000    Janet Grazer
2001    Karen Ivantic-Doucette
2002    Karen Ivantic-Doucette
2003    Mary Bridget Carlson
2004    Doug Johnson
2005    Julie Waitkoss Raaum
2006    Sharon O’Dwyer
2007    Mary Busalacchi

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