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Gender and Sexuality in Health Care Panel
June 22, 2022
5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. CST

What can we do to improve the health care experience of LGBTQ+ patients? Recent studies show that despite protections, LGBTQ+ people still face high rates of discrimination in health care.

On June 22, please join Agrace for a free, virtual panel discussion to learn about the experiences of LGBTQ+ patients. Panelists from the Dane County Rape Crisis Center, Ally Counseling & Consulting and Froedtert Hospital will talk about the importance of receiving LGBTQ+ competent care, the barriers they face while accessing health care and the actions providers can take to ensure the best care for all.

The discussion with our panelists will be moderated by Susan Shands, Agrace spiritual and grief services manager.

Our Speakers

Susan Shands, MDiv

Agrace, Grief Services Manager

Reverend Susan Shands, MDiv (she/her) is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and is the manager of Spiritual & Grief Services at Agrace. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Agnes Scott Women’s College in Atlanta and a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. In the time between her degrees, Susan worked in nonprofit administration and volunteered with LGBTQ+ political efforts, prison ministry and reform advocacy. Susan discerned a calling to health care chaplaincy and finds working in end-of-life care particularly profound.

George Ontko, SSM, MDiv

Froedtert Hospital, Manager of Spiritual Services

Reverend George Ontko serves as Manager of Spiritual Services at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, a Level 1 Trauma and Academic Medical Center. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, George has worked in healthcare spiritual services for 20 years in a variety of settings, including serving for more than four years as the Director of Pastoral Care for a senior care community in St. Louis.

Ordained and endorsed for chaplaincy by the Society of Mercy, he also has an interest in Buddhism and Unity. A member of the Spiritual Care Association, The Association of Professional Chaplains and the American College of Healthcare Executives, he has led efforts in diversity and inclusion, chairing the Advancing Inclusion and Equity Committee at Agrace and currently serving as co-lead of the LGBTQA Business Resource Group Volunteer Subcommittee at Froedtert.

George holds a bachelor of arts degree from John Carroll University and a Master of Divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary. He completed his clinical pastoral education at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, and is currently enrolled in a certificate in trauma studies through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. George shares his life with his husband Jason—a cardiac-thoracic RN—and their dog Grace. He enjoys cruises, eating out, playing the piano, meditating, and running near Lake Michigan.

Dana Pellebon

Rape Crisis Center, Co-Executive Director

Dana Pellebon is a community activist that has been working against oppression in all forms for her adult life. She is the Co-Executive Director of the Rape Crisis Center in Dane County where she leads their counseling and advocacy services and coordinates community partnerships for county-wide sexual assault victim services. She was recently elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors representing District 33 in Fitchburg. She is currently on the Board of Directors for Freedom Inc., OutReach LGBTQ+ Center, and WorldBuilders. She has extensive experience working with persons experiencing homelessness through her work as the Director of Housing and Operations for Porchlight. Her activism extends to all aspects of her life including art. She is a theater professional and has directed, acted, and produced theatrical works regionally and in New York. She is also the co-founder of the Loud N Unchained Black Theater Festival and the owner of the Madison Theatre Collective.

Andie Waara, MSW, APSW

Headshot of Andie WaaraComplex Case Manager – Care Management Department, Froedtert Hospital

Andie Waara is a complex case manager at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.  Working within challenging situations is second nature, and she is ever vigilant in advocating for her patient’s needs.  Andie is a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate alum and holds a Bachelor of Science from the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, as well as a Master of Social Work.  She has enjoyed previous volunteer work with Big Brothers Big Sisters as well as with the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center and has prior experience within the substance use treatment field.

Andie identifies as a transgender woman and has been happily married to her wife for over 21 years.  Andie balances her hectic schedule by finding time to read, disconnecting in nature, and more often than not, strategizing a winning move while playing one of her numerous board games with her wife.

Kris Wise, MSW, LCSW

Ally Counseling & Consulting, Co-Owner

Kris holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Saint Francis and a master’s degree in social work from Indiana University. He has experience working within community services in domestic violence, HIV, substance use, child welfare, and mental health. He is currently co-owner of Ally Counseling & Consulting, a private practice serving individuals who have experienced trauma as well as providing affirming gender and sexuality services for the LGBTQ+ community.

Kris has lived and served within the LGBTQ+ community for over 20 years. He identifies as a transmasculine individual.


June 22
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm