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2023-28 MKE Elevate Steering Committee 


Byron Marshall, Jr

Community Huddle

Byron is a Milwaukee native born & raised, a father, and a proud graduate of MPS and Cardinal Stritch University, serving in the non-profit sector.

He joined the steering committee to assist in governing the organizational segment by providing direction on key decisions that can impact closing health and equity gaps for all Milwaukeeans and to work with peers and professionals alike to learn, engage, collaborate, and execute the vision of MKE Elevate. Racial equity and inclusion are rooted in the work fabric and culture of his political, nonprofit, social, religious, and personal beliefs and morals. 

Xiaobei Dong 

UWM Zilber School of Public Health

Xiaobei is a UWM faculty member in public health policy and a former nonprofit manager. She is also an associate investigator at the Health Disparities/Community Engagement Unit in the Center for Advancing Population Science. She has published studies that examined health disparities experienced by disadvantaged populations.

Her research on racial and ethnic disparities in medication utilization has received national recognition. Xiaobei joined the steering committee to bring her research expertise in health disparities and professional experiences in community advocacy.   

Susan Hjelsand

American Heart Association

Susan is the Senior Community Impact Director for the American Heart Association and creating a world of healthier, longer lives is both her work, and, personal mission. 

She joined the steering committee because she wants to help to bring solutions forward and make the pieces of a healthy Milwaukee puzzle fit. Not only is it her job, it is a personal passion to see people thrive. She strives to listen, learn, understand, and move the conversation forward. She has sought out this opportunity to engage in conversation around health equity and lend the Association’s resources to create sustainable change. 


Rosamaria Martinez 

City of Milwaukee Health Department
Family and Community Health

As Maternal and Child Health Director at the City of Milwaukee Health Department, Rosamaria provides leadership, direction, and planning for programs in the Community Health Branch. 

Previously, she served as Vice President of Community Health Initiatives and WIC Director at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers. Rosamaria Martinez holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics, and is a Registered Dietitian. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Public Health with the Medical College of WI. 

She joined the steering committee because one of the priority issues that Milwaukee residents identified was maternal and child health, which she feels passionate about and works towards improving.  Rosamaria is an experienced health administration leader with over 15 years of service in maternal and child health programming in diverse capacities. She is fluent in Spanish and grew up in Milwaukee, a city she loves and serves. 



Benjamin Porter

Greater Milwaukee Foundation 

Benjamin is a lifelong learner and social justice practitioner, including past service as a Trinity Fellow, an Ameri*Corps VISTA, and a Peace Corps Volunteer. Benjamin joined the Steering Committee to bring an anti-racist perspective firmly rooted in systems theory to this critical public health work.

Benjamin believes that racial equity and belonging are essential parts of building a beloved community capable of transforming society; Benjamin develops these values across all aspects of their personal and professional life. 


Mary Homan

Medical College of Wisconsin

HRSA-funded MCH researcher with a DrPH and years of experience doing community health improvement and engagement. She joined the steering committee because she is good at asking questions that cut to the heart of complex issues and that move people toward action. She is an engaged community member who wants to help identify those changemakers and strategies for health improvement.

As a white woman, academic, and executive, she is well aware of her privilege and the tables she is invited to and she uses those opportunities to advance the interests of those she is called to serve whether through research, advocacy, or policy change. 

David Frazer

Center for Urban Population Health

David is the director of the Center for Urban Population Health (CUPH). He joined the steering committee because he has worked on this process numerous times and just completed the Milwaukee Healthcare Partnership assessment. He has both historic process memory to share as well as an understanding of organizations and professionals who are working in public health.

David holds appointments in both UW School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Milwaukee. He feels strongly that those closest to the issue be the drivers of the solutions and has built a career in facilitating collaborative, equitable involvement of communities in local and statewide research and programming. He seeks to create environments where community and academic partners can digest evidence and adapt what works into practice and local solutions that work for them. 

Caroline Gomez-Tom

City of Milwaukee Health Department
Board of Health President

 Caroline serves on the City of Milwaukee Board of Health and as the Milwaukee County Board District 14 Supervisor. She joined the Steering Committee because she is committed to making sure all people who live in Milwaukee have the resources and services they need to thrive.

She has committed herself to understanding and implementing racial equity and inclusion by surrounding herself with people who are dedicated to prioritizing racial equity and inclusion in all parts of life and we learn together how to best collaborate with our communities. 

Demonte Dismuke

Kinship Community Food Center

Demonte is a native Milwaukeean with 15 years of experience in social services community work. Creator of A DOPE Public Health Podcast - a show about health equity for Black & Brown people. He is also the Workforce Development Manager at Kinship Community Food Center

He joined the Steering Committee because he wanted to use his personal and professional experience to contribute to the betterment of Milwaukee, WI. He is involved in several DEI initiatives with his employer including, the Diversity Leadership Committee, Diversity Committee, and more. He created a platform solely dedicated to advocating for equity for Black & Brown people. 


Rick Banks

Milwaukee County Office of Equity 

Rick Banks is an activist, organizer, and radical thinker dedicated to improving quality of life for Black people in Milwaukee. He joined the MKE Elevate steering committee to help ensure that the voices of the often are unheard are being sought and documented. He’s been being doing equity work for over 10 years since working as a Intercultural Ambassador at the Inclusive Excellence Center at UWM.

Facilitating and navigating difficult conversations that traverse languages and values has been a key skill that he has learned then that has been useful in both his personal and professional life. It’s also a continuous process of learning, listening, practicing and revising, as we work towards progress. 

Lindsey O’Connor 

City of Milwaukee Health Department
Human Resources

Lindsey O’Connor is a person who enjoys learning and experiencing new things.  She is passionate about finding ways to fix broken systems to be fair and equitable for everyone.

She joined the steering committee to be an active part of the work being done to improve the Milwaukee community’s health. She is part of the city’s racial equity leadership team and works on the racial equity work underway with the Health Department employees.  In her personal life, she volunteers with organizations where she can share her gifts and actively address racial inequities. 


Karin Tyler 

City of Milwaukee
Office of Community Wellness and Safety

Karin Tyler is the Operations Manager for the City of Milwaukee's Office of Community Wellness and Safety. Karin is a senior member of the office and has been with the City of Milwaukee for over 15 years, working formerly in Disease Intervention and leading work in gender-based violence prevention. She is recognized as a national leader in violence prevention strategies and action and has committed her life to improving health outcomes for Milwaukee residents.

Karin joined this work to advance the voice of survivors of violence. Unfortunately, Karin is no stranger to violence on a personal level. She has channeled her own journey of losing a child to gun violence and losing a father to reckless driving to ensure that fewer individuals and families have to endure such experiences. Representation matters! Karin represents one of the most disadvantaged groups, as a black woman. She is a strong advocate for the liberation of underrepresented communities. Karin believes that with strong action initiatives change is inevitable.   


Radaya Ellis

Milwaukee Community Resident

 Radaya Ellis is a dedicated advocate for mental wellness, hailing from the vibrant city of Milwaukee. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, majoring in Biological Sciences, and went on to pursue a Masters in Public Health at Zilber School of Public Health. With a strong foundation in biological sciences and public health, Radaya brings a unique perspective to her work with special research, storytelling, and communications skills. With her impressive educational background, research experience, and commitment to mental wellness advocacy, Radaya Ellis is an invaluable asset to the field of public health. Her dedication and passion continue to drive her efforts to create positive change and foster well-being in individuals and communities alike.

Ann Christiansen

Milwaukee Health Care Partnership

Ann is the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership. In this role, she is the mission-bearer, chief strategist, and operations manager for a public-private consortium dedicated to improving health equity and healthcare access for low-income and vulnerable populations in Milwaukee County. She joined the Steering Committee to support alignment around MKE’s Elevate’s Priority Action Areas and those of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, including areas like securing and retaining health insurance coverage, increasing access to medical, mental health, and oral health services, care coordination and navigation to health care and social services, and prioritized community health areas like violence prevention.

Pam Williams

City of Milwaukee Accessor's Office

Pam has been a proud City Employee since 2010. She is a single mom and a member of the Racial Equity and Inclusion Leadership Team, the Community Outreach Team, and vice-chair of the Black African American Employee Resource Group. She believes in being a leader and a resource to everyone in the city.

Pam joined the steering committee as someone who has not only been a victim of racism in healthcare but who has current health challenges. Racial and gender equity in healthcare is extremely important to her.  

Kristen Reed

City of Milwaukee
Department of Neighborhood Services

Kristen is a wife, mother, and daughter passionate about Milwaukee, with a strong background in code enforcement and community involvement and engagement.

She joined the steering committee to help Milwaukee continue to become a great home for all citizens and a place for businesses to thrive. She has taken advanced coursework at UW-Whitewater on Diversity and Inclusion and tries to embrace what she learns to be a better leader and participant in life. 

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