Gina Green- Harris went to Central State in Wilberforce, Ohio after Graduating from Washington High School here in Milwaukee. She found her passion in working to fight HIV /AIDS in the African American community in her senior year of college, due to the impact of a good friend contracting the disease. She was offered a job at the organization she worked for, and came to see her passion as a calling- Minority health. She later earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio.
Her current role is Director of the Milwaukee Outreach and Education and Research Program for the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Association of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health/ Center for Urban Population Health. One of her key goals at her current position is to bring African Americans information about the impact of Alzheimer’s and help them educated themselves. “It’s important that we dispel the myths that exist about Alzheimer’s is not a psychological problem, it’s a physical disease. When people understand that they have a disease, or love someone with a disease that is the most important thing to know.”
Since Green-Harris has joined the Institute, the program has more than doubled the number of African Americans enrolled in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP). Green-Harris was instrumental in collaboration between the University and Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (a federally Qualified Health Center) to establish a minority specific memory clinic in the heart of Milwaukee. This is the first of its kind and is being established as a national model for other FQHC’s to replicate. She works with a Community Advisory Board which helps make decisions about the priorities of the community. She has worked to push for diversity in hiring amongst researchers, more post doctoral researchers amongst those working in the community. This allows people to be principal investigators when collecting data from communities of color and brings compassion to a clinical environment. When people are having conversations with researchers that look like them, the pain of the stigma of Alzheimer’s is lessened.
“My role model is my grandmother, who passed away when I was young. Sixteen. She worked her way through college, pretty much working as a janitor. And then she was the director of one of the first child care centers in Milwaukee.” She taught me that there is no reason to fail, and when you do succeed, it’s important to bring someone along with you.
Gina Green-Harris is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and serves on the Executive Board of Milwaukee Health Services Incorporated ( MHSI). She also serves and engages the community by working with; AARP Public Policy Institute Multicultural Advisory Committee, the Federal Office of Minority Health’s Health Equity Council Region V Representative, State of WI Dementia Capable WI Work group –Professional Education Team, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) National Alzheimer’s Advisory Council, and the Wisconsin Institute on Healthy Aging(WiHA) as a cultural competence expert. She is Co-Chair of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging, Advisory Committee and the Milwaukee County Underserved Populations Committee. She serves as chair of the Human Resources committee for the Interfaith older Adult Services board.