Dane County Black Women’s Wellness Center aims to tackle health issues, disparities

MADISON, Wis – The Dane County Black Women’s Wellness Center opened its doors on Saturday.

The center is the result of years of work and planning, says founder and president Lisa Peyton-Caire.

“It’s taken nine years to get to this place,” she said. “It’s been made possible by so many donors and supporters who are surrounding us in these rooms today.”

Peyton-Caire says she began to take up the cause of black women’s wellness after her mother, Roberta, passed away from congestive heart failure in 2006.

“Her life and her death and what her death represents for so many thousands of black women each year,” she said.  “They lose their lives to largely preventable illnesses.”

Medical professionals say the health disparities black women face are not just localized to Madison, but across the state.

“In terms of black women’s health, they face a variety of challenges,” said Juli Aulik of UW-Health. “For one, racism. Also, a lot of structural issues like economic stability, housing and transportation.”

Aulik and UW-Health Community Relations invested heavily into the development of the center, Peyton-Caire said. Others, like Madison mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway showed their support Saturday afternoon.

“When I look who is here, who is celebrating this grand opening, this is what Madison looks like,” Rhodes-Conway said. “This is what Dane County looks like. It’s really gratifying to see everyone here.”