You're Invited: Community Conversation

October 11, 2023

International Day of the Girl - A Community Conversation

You're Invited: Community Conversation

October 11, 2023

Join co-hosts Girls on the Run South Central Wisconsin and the Healthy Kids Collaborative on the International Day of the Girl for a community conversation on the state of girls and gender expansive youth.


Goodman Community Center

Brassworks Building

214 Waubesa St.

Madison, WI  53704


Free of charge

(Optional: $25 suggested donation) 



(See detailed program schedule below)


Online registration closes at noon on Tuesday, October 10th. After that, folks may register at the door.


Parking is available in the St. Bernard's Catholic Church parking lot.

Click on this link to read about all parking options at Goodman Community Center - 

Click on this link for a campus/parking map - 


Event Program

Recently released reports from local and national sources contain startling information about the declining mental health of girls and gender expansive youth. Since the pandemic, they are experiencing unprecedented levels of sadness and hopelessness which has serious implications for the future health of our youth, families, and communities. Join us for a critical conversation with community leaders in health care, mental health, public policy, and education about these unsettling trends. Our hope is to come together as caregivers, educators, health care workers, and communities to disrupt them and foster change. At Girls on the Run, we believe that together, we can work toward a world where EVERY girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. We hope you will join us.

All are welcome! This event is for parents, caregivers, educators, nonprofits, health care practitioners, mental health specialists, public policy advocates, researchers, business representatives, and community members of all ages and genders.

8:00 am
Registration, Networking, Light Breakfast catered by Ugly Apple Cafe
8:45 am
9:00 am
10:00 am
Table Conversation
10:30 am
Event Concludes

Featured Speakers

Angela Russell
Angela Russell (she/her) is the Chief Diversity Officer, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at TruStage and is the founder and host of the Black Oxygen Podcast, a place to connect and restore by hearing and listening to Black folks in the shared journey of life. She has a Master's in Population Health and deep experience in both the private and public sectors where she served for many years in roles in health equity and policy. This includes four years in the State of Wisconsin as policy advisor to the Offices of Governor Jim Doyle and Lt. Gov Barbara Lawton; three years with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families where she was appointed by Governor Doyle to create the department and carry out a long-range plan; and two years as the Community Engagement Lead at the UW-Madison Population Health Institute where she led and executed the community engagement strategy for the annual release of the County Health Rankings. At TruStage, she oversees company-wide efforts to create an inclusive and equitable workplace where individuality thrives and the company continually takes steps to ensure their organization is even more inclusive.
Dr. Megan Moreno
Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH (she/her) is tenured professor and interim chair in the Department of Pediatrics. Nationally, Moreno is co-medical director of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Center of Excellence: Creating a Healthy Digital Ecosystem for Children and Youth. She has served as a reviewer for more than 30 journals in the fields of pediatrics, adolescent health, medical education, digital health, behavioral health, and public health and currently serves as associate editor of JAMA Pediatrics and editorial board member for the Journal of Adolescent Health. She is the recipient of dozens of honors and awards, including an AAP Council of Communications and Media’s Holroyt-Sherry Award for Career Achievement (2020), an American Pediatrics Society Norman J. Siegel New Member Outstanding Science Award (2021–2022), and a UW–Madison WARF Kellett Mid-Career Fellowship (2021).
Danielle Johnson
Danielle Johnson (she/her) is an evolved educator and Director of Student Staff Support Services for the Madison Metropolitan School District. She has invested the last 20 years of her life in education. She is a certified Principal and School Counselor, EC-12 special education, EC-6 Generalist. Danielle is also a yoga instructor who teaches SEL and mindfulness to adult educators. Her mission is to help educators become more effective using empathy skills practices. "I've long discovered that the only person I can really change is me! I can control my behavior and my attitudes. My hope is that by accepting responsibility for myself others may choose to do the same." - Danielle N. Johnson
Brittany Neal, LSCW
Brittany Neal (she/her) is a Psychotherapist with Anesis Therapy, a state certified mental health clinic that serves all clients regardless of ability to pay. Brittany received her Master's in Social Work at the University of Madison with a focus in Mental Health. While completing her degree, she worked part-time as a Behavioral Specialist at Northstar Counseling day treatment center for adolescents. She provided therapeutic support alongside two therapists in a group setting. In addition, Brittany worked as a case manager in these settings; community mental health, low-income housing, and the developmental disability community. For the past three years, Brittany has worked in housing in the greater Madison area where she provided long-term support for families who were previously homeless at the Road Home. In 2015, she worked for the City of Madison in the Community Development Authority (CDA) department as an onsite Service Coordinator. She has worked as a Community Manager at Community Living Connections where she assisted adults with mild to severe developmental disabilities living in greater Madison. In this position, Brittany gained tremendous experience in sensory integration and non-verbal communication. After participating in Rwanda's Summer Mental Health program, Brittany gain an understanding on the international Mental Health perspective. This initiated her interest in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Brittany other interests include youth and families, community groups, self-empowerment, self­care, and healing through sensory integration.
Meghan Benson, MPH
Meghan Benson (she/her) is a current member and former chair of the Dane County Youth Commission, created in 1980 to look after Dane County youth. She is the Director of Research, Assessment, and Evaluation at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin where she has served for over 15 years, she also serves as a board member for the Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (WFPRHA) and co-chair of the Wisconsin Public Health Association (WPHA) Resolutions Committee. Additionally, she has previously co-chaired the Maternal & Child Health (MCH) Section of WPHA, served on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Alliance of Women's Health (WAWH), and participated as a member of the University of Wisconsin Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Community Advisory Council, Wisconsin MCH Advisory Board, Wisconsin Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (PRAMS) Steering Committee, and Association of Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education (APPLE). In addition to her professional roles, Meghan is also a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health with a focus on public health leadership, research, and practice grounded in health equity.
Alder Dina Nina Martinez-Rutherford
Alder Martinez-Rutherford (she/her) represents Madison's District 15. She is the first openly trans woman to be elected in Madison. As a transgender comedian and entrepreneur, she understands first-hand the importance of representation and inclusivity. She is the owner of an award winning small business, Lady Laughs Comedy, a company that coaches, supports and celebrates funny women in comedy. She is a creative entrepreneur, comedian and speaker who is passionate about educating companies and organizations around transgender and gender identity issues and inclusion. As someone who has experienced poverty and housing insecurity, she is dedicated to finding solutions that work for all of us. She is also on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for KW2, and have worked with Abortion Access Front and independent clinics in the Midwest that provide reproductive care as well as gender affirming care. Some of her top policy priorities include affordable housing, improving neighborhood infrastructure, promoting social justice, LGBTQIA+ representation and the rights of historically marginalized and underserved communities. In addition to her professional achievements, she loves electronic dance pop, regional and international travel, sewing, crafting, and spending quality time with her dog Gertrude Emmaline Vonhunderhaus.

Optional Suggested Reading (The Data)

Dane County Youth Assessment
The 2021 Dane County Youth Assessment (DCYA) is a collaborative effort led by the Dane County Youth Commission in partnership with the United Way of Dane County, Public Health Madison & Dane County, the City of Madison, nineteen public school districts, and one private high school. The 2021 report has key findings like increases in anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and self harm - in addition to disproportionate impacts on girls, transgender, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, and black, indigenous, and people of color. Explore the Dane County Youth Assessment here:
CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report: 2011–2021 provides data and 10-year trends on health behaviors and experiences among high school students in the United States (U.S.) related to adolescent health and well-being. Overall, the report found that, although some markers are improving, the majority of indicators worsened and are disproportionately impacting girls. Read the full report here:
U.S. Surgeon General Reports
The Office of the United State's Surgeon General releases regular comprehensive scientific review documents prepared by experts. They are often landmark publications that identify and shape the science and culture of our public health. One recent report takes an in-depth look at the youth mental health crisis and another the link to physical activity. Youth mental health advisory: Physical activity as untapped resource:
Office of Children's Mental Health
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Office of Children's Mental Health (OCMH) supports Wisconsin's children in achieving their optimal mental health and well-being. By encouraging collaboration across child and family service systems in Wisconsin, including state agencies, nongovernment mental health programs, advocates, and people with lived experience, OCMH supports children's mental health system improvements.​


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