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The Short Story: Laying the Foundation

Lisa Peyton-Caire ’96, MS’99 speaks at an event.

“Never would I have imagined that I, a southern belle from Richmond, Virginia, would find herself in the Badger State, hundreds of miles away from the small, tight-knit community I had known all of my life.” Lisa Peyton-Caire ’96, MS’99 wrote that 14 years ago, reflecting on her Forward under 40 alumni recognition, jointly held with her husband, Kaleem Caire ’00. A native of Madison, Kaleem met Lisa at Hampton University and swept her away to UW–Madison in 1993. She admits she was ultimately surprised by how much she came to appreciate her time on the UW campus, but that didn’t keep the couple in the area. 

At the time of their award in 2008, the couple was living in the Washington, DC, area with their five children, working together to reform education policy by establishing the Next Generation Education Foundation and advocating for greater federal investments in education. Peyton-Caire never imagined that Kaleem would pull her back to Madison again, but in 2011, there she was — a southern belle back in the Badger State.

Lisa Peyton-Caire ’96, MS’99 (right) and Kaleem Claire '00

Upon returning to Madison, Peyton-Caire shifted the focus of her advocacy work from education to Black women’s health and established the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness in 2012. A decade in, the foundation has expanded its outreach and health education to more than 7,000 women in Dane County. In addition to sitting on numerous boards dedicated to health equity, including Governor Tony Evers’s Health Equity Council, Peyton-Caire is working to build a larger network of advocates through leadership training, internship programs for students across the nation, and community partnerships throughout Wisconsin’s counties. 

Health equity advocacy is no easy task in Wisconsin — a state that leads the nation in racial health disparities. But Peyton-Caire is up to the challenge. Continue reading to learn more about the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness and Peyton-Caire’s work to uplift Black Wisconsin women and their families.

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