Category Archives: Staff Feature

Meet Mitch

Mitch Freeman, Fatherhood Specialist
Meet Mitch Freeman, Fatherhood Specialist.

Meet Mitch, our new Fatherhood Specialist.

Mitch is excited to meet with men who are the fathers in unintended pregnancies and offer a listening ear and support. He helps men work through their emotions and process the pregnancy decision.

Mitch’s story began when his mom found out she was pregnant with him. His biological dad left her when she told him the news. Here’s what Mitch has to say about it:

“My biological father left when my Mom told him she was pregnant, leaving her to make hard decisions and become a single parent. The first and biggest decision she made was to choose to continue her pregnancy. Two years later she married an incredible man who adopted me as his own.

“On the one hand, I can empathize with birth fathers because I understand that finding out you’re a father unexpectedly can be a scary time. I understand why the first reaction would be negative. But on the other hand, I can give them a message of hope. If they hang in there, the reward of being a father will be far greater than they now realize.”

After Mitch graduated from high school he began working as a painter. An accident where we fell from scaffolding made him unable to work for a year. He stayed with his grandmother for this year.

When Mitch was able to return to work, he went to seminary and then became a pastor for 10 years.

Mitch is married and is a father to five children, four boys and one girl. He likes to spend time with his family and enjoys coaching baseball for his sons’ teams. Mitch also enjoys reading, watching movies and being outside as much as possible.

Mitch looks forward to helping guys who come to our clinic work through their crisis moments of fear and uncertainty. He wants to walk with them and help them make it through to the other side where it’s not a crisis anymore. He wants dads to know that, even if things look bad, they can get to the other side and experience the great rewards of fatherhood.

Introducing Katie

Katie, our new Education Manager, has been a labor and postpartum doula since 2009. She is also a childbirth educator. Katie first volunteered for our clinic as a childbirth educator in 2011-2012.

When Katie graduated from high school, she began working for the Salvation Army in their youth programming. In 2009, while taking a college psychology course, she learned something unexpected.  Her professor was also a doula. This professor taught about the psychology of the birth experience and how it affects moms and babies.

Following this introduction, Katie wanted to find out more about doualas. She went to doula and childbirth education training. Soon she became an apprentice for a seasoned doula. During her one year apprenticeship, Katie continued to work at the Salvation Army. Upon completion, she taught childbirth education, newborn care and safe sleep at the Salvation Army. She also volunteered as a doula for some women in the shelter.

From 2011 until 2015, Katie worked as a full time doula. She also taught childbirth education classes for Meriter Hospital during this time. Following this she worked as a supervisor for FSET.

Katie Casey, Education Manager
Katie is excited to be “back in the birth world,” teaching and forming relationships with moms.

Katie has helped many women prepare for the birth of their children. She has been alongside numerous women in the delivery room. One doula experience is particularly memorable. Katie served as a doula for a pregnant teen who was alone. She did not have support from the father of the baby or either of her parents. This young mom endured a very difficult and long labor. When her son was finally born, the new mother said to Katie, “Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.” Recently, Katie saw this woman at a park with her son and was pleased to find that they are doing well.

Katie and her husband have been married for over 20 years and have three teenage children. Their family has a dog that they enjoy very much.

Katie likes music. She plays piano and sings. She also enjoys writing fiction and reading.

She is excited to be “back in the birth world,” teaching and forming relationships with moms. Her favorite part of working with pregnant women is seeing an expectant mom’s outlook turn around. It’s exciting when she begins by saying, “There is no way I can do this” but changes to say, “I’m excited about this and can do it!”

Meet Billie Jo, RN, BSN

Meet Billie Jo, RN, BSN. Billie Jo has been a nurse for 16 years, beginning in neuro-medical surgery in 2001. In 2002, she began working in obstetrics at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. For the past 15 years, Billie Jo has worked in labor and delivery, postpartum, antepartum and NICU. She has served hundreds of women and babies.

When she was in 7th grade, Billie Jo did a report for school on crack babies. Researching this topic opened her eyes to nursing, especially neonatal nursing. She thought then that she wanted to be a NICU nurse.

As a junior in high school, Billie Jo traveled to Guatemala to serve with a team of people. They were working to meet health and educational needs. She knew then that she wanted to serve families and people.

Billie Jo Larsen, RN
Billie Jo Larsen, RN, is excited to join the team at First Care Clinic.

Billie Jo loves to serve. When she started college, Billie Jo was undecided between teaching and nursing. She initially began pursuing a teaching degree. Yet her heart was drawn back to nursing, and she completed her degree in nursing. In December 2017, Billie Jo completed her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). (Post updated January 2018.)

Growing up on a dairy farm with three older brothers, Billie Jo developed a love for the outdoors. And for competitive sports. She played basketball and softball in college.

Billie Jo loves nature. She loves doing just about anything outside: Walking, running, biking, fishing, hunting and even reading. “If I could read outside all day I’d be happy,” she said.

Billie Jo and her husband enjoy raising their family in the country to enjoy the great outdoors. They currently have four children between the ages of six and 13, including a son they adopted.

Sadly, Billie Jo and her husband also experienced a full-term stillbirth, losing their daughter, Olivia, at 39 weeks. As a result of this heartbreaking occurrence, Billie Jo became a spokesperson for the March of Dimes. She has also gained increased compassion for women who experience pregnancy loss.
Billie Jo is excited to join the team at First Care Clinic. She looks forward to providing pregnancy and sexual health related medical care to women. And she’s eager to serve and support women as they make decisions about their pregnancies and sexual health.

We are pleased to welcome Billie Jo to our staff. Her professional and personal experiences will be a great asset to our patients.

Everybody Loves Carol

Everybody loves Carol.

So many patients on their exit reviews wrote their thanks to this caring nurse who serves in our clinic.

Here are a few recent comments from Carol’s patients:

 “Thank you so much for making my visit here very comfortable, especially my nurse Carol.”

“Carol was very kind, amazing.”

“My nurse, Carol, was so understanding and so helpful. She made me feel so comfortable.”

In case you have not yet met Carol, let me introduce you.

Carol has been nursing for over 50 years. When she was just eight years old, her grandfather told her she should be a nurse. She took it to heart and has “never regretted it. I don’t want to be anything else – even in my retirement.” Carol loves nursing!

Carol began her nursing career working in the intensive care unit of a hospital and next did psychiatric nursing. After those, Carol was a public health nurse, which is how she spent most of her career.

In the 1990’s, Carol became a clinic nurse and while there, in 1999, went back to school and became a Nurse Practitioner. She created a position for herself at the clinic where she worked. This rural clinic had never had a Nurse Practitioner before and were a little skeptical. But they knew Carol and moved ahead with her in this new role. Carol also taught nursing students after she became a Nurse Practitioner.

Carol officially retired about 10 years ago but loved nursing too much to end her nursing career. She began volunteering at a pregnancy clinic in northern Wisconsin.

Carol moved to Madison from northern Wisconsin in 2012 – and began serving at First Care Clinic soon after her arrival in Madison.

When Carol is not in our clinic, she loves spending time with her family, including four teenage and preteen grandchildren. She also loves to go camping, canoeing and hiking. She goes for lots of walks. She enjoys taking advantage of the arts opportunities available in Madison – the symphony, art shows, music and drama.

And Carol adds, “I enjoy sitting down with my feet up and reading a good book.” Her favorite genre is historical fiction but she enjoys reading a wide variety of good books. She especially likes to read books that her grandchildren are reading. Then they can talk about the books together.

Carol enjoys having an opportunity to help women and to walk alongside them as they make big decisions. “I love being a part of something –  it keeps me active.”

Meet Tanis, Clinic Director

This week is National Nurses Week, which is celebrated every year beginning on May 6 and ending on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

During this week we would like to introduce you to our Clinic Director, Tanis Jean-Louis, RN.

When Tanis finished high school, she planned to become an interior designer, but her plans changed the next year when her family traveled to Haiti. While they were in Haiti, they visited a hospital that was vacant but was planning to reopen. In seeing the great need, Tanis decided then that she wanted to go back and work there. She began pursuing nursing.

Tanis graduated with her nursing degree in 1985 and has been practicing nursing for 32 years. Her first nursing job was in a neurosurgery critical care unit. After taking a course in international health, Tanis started doing outpost nursing serving Native populations at various outposts in northern Canada where she was the only medical staff person there so she treated all patients.

Tanis’s next road led to Haiti where she started and ran a community health program. And she assisted in the very hospital she had visited years earlier, working in labor and delivery and in OR.

Five years later, Tanis returned to her native Canada and later moved to the United States with her husband, who she met in Haiti. She has worked as a hospice nurse, in labor and delivery, in school nursing and as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

Tanis began at Care Net in 2004 and brings a commendable dedication and excellence to her work. She is caring toward each of her patients. Her kind, professional manner and the time she will spend with an individual patient shows her commitment to their care.

Tanis is glad to be able to work in women’s health, using her vast experiences and nursing skills to care for women. Further, Tanis enjoys helping patients who are facing difficult life situations, “…like abuse and addictions – and seeing them change their lives around by the support they receive in our clinic.”

When Tanis is not working, she enjoys relaxing with her husband and bargain shopping.