Claire Culbertson, MPH
STC Volunteer Outreach Director
WISCONSIN’S LOSS WILL BE OREGON’S GAIN
From Sheila Warnock
In 2001 I heard from Claire Culbertson who, at the time, was working at the University of Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. She called to ask permission to use our Share The Care™ (STC) model for a program to help women with breast cancer.
A year later, late in 2002, as I was planning to start our non-profit organization, she was the first person to say “count me in” and then she flew to New York to show she meant it. That was 13 years ago and since then she has literally brought the “heart of Share The Care” to the entire State of Wisconsin. We treasure her passion, hard work, and especially her friendship. Now Claire and her husband, Michael, will be moving to Oregon and Wisconsin’s loss will surely be Oregon’s gain…and now STC’s Volunteer Outreach Director for the Northwest!
We want to acknowledge the magnificent contributions Claire has made to STC. In 2011 I was in Wisconsin to train, and every time I turned around I met yet another incredible person who had started or been in a STC group not once, but more often, several times. Claire has also started and served in several STC groups for close friends of her own. In fact, the last one she organized is for a woman in her 90’s who is in good health, but living alone in a rural area. She will surely benefit greatly from the support of her own “created family” nearby.
Claire brought and taught the STC model throughout the state of Wisconsin. She didn’t follow a road map, she built the road as she traveled. In her own words she describes the journey:
From Claire Culbertson
University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center (UWCCC 1999-2002) I learned about Share The Care™ from a co-worker who organized a STC group for one of their former colleagues. I asked Lisa about it one day when she had a copy of the book with her. She explained the process they followed directly from the book. That was my first introduction into the world of caregiving!
My role at the UWCCC was as an Outreach Specialist doing community outreach and education related to breast health. The UWCCC had a grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to train women in breast cancer prevention techniques.
As the grant winded down, we looked for other opportunities for community outreach. We decided to shift our focus to cancer survivorship, utilizing the STC model to provide support and assistance to women undergoing breast cancer treatment and recovery. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation once again funded our idea to design and implement an outreach program utilizing the STC model.
Simultaneously, we wrote a grant to the American Cancer Society to introduce the STC model to health professionals and faith communities in Wisconsin. We recognized these groups of professionals were in a position to identify women (and men) in need of extra support, and we could reach a larger audience this way. It was at this time that I contacted Sheila Warnock and made her aware of our work.
We enlisted the support of a hospital Clinical Social Worker who knew a patient (an unmarried, single woman) that was utilizing STC, and her friend (who was the “Captain” of her group), to help illustrate how her STC was a great support to her during treatment and beyond. We traveled to several hospitals around the State of Wisconsin to offer presentations to nurses, social workers and chaplains about the benefits of a STC group to patients and families.
What was crucial to the success of the UWCCC program was the participation of members of an actual group, as well as my direct knowledge of how a STC group operates. I became part of “Michelle’s Group”, visiting her and meeting other group members. I saw first hand how instrumental the group was in serving not only her physical, but also her emotional needs. We documented Michelle’s STC group and their journey on the DVD available for purchase through https://www.sharethecare.org
Area Agency on Aging of Dane County National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP 2003-2012)
After leaving the UWCCC, I began working as the NFCSP Program Manager, launching the new federal program designed to provide education and support to families caring for the 60+ population of disabled and older adults. STC was a perfect companion to the other resources available through NFCSP. I continued to speak about the STC model at local, state and national conferences.
Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources (GWAAR 2011-2014)
In 2011, I was hired in a part-time role by GWAAR to introduce STC to Wisconsin Aging & Disability Resource Centers, and in particular, National Family Caregiver Support Program Coordinators and Caregiver Coalitions.
Initially, GWAAR brought Sheila to Wisconsin to train 50 people who were to be part of the effort and to introduce the new concept and advertising behind STC™ Stations. She shared the advertising designed to make a community aware of the model and direct them to a local person for information or coaching.
Then, I traveled the state training qualified individuals to become STC™ Station “Managers” – a role in which they assist families in starting a STC group for someone they know and care about. Once again, the Caregiver Coordinators and Information & Assistance Specialists were in a position to recognize when a family can use the extra support and care. We held regularly scheduled conference calls so all the managers in different parts of the state could exchange ideas and information. They also benefited from presentations given on these calls by professionals with a specific expertise like marketing or Alzheimer’s Disease.
We are proud to report, that as a result there are now 15 STC Stations in Wisconsin communities. See the GWAAR website below for a list of Stations and a map with their locations: http://gwaar.org/for-professionals/family-caregiver-support-for-professionals.html#STC
CLAIRE, THANK YOU FOR YOUR ENORMOUS CONTRIBUTIONS
TO GROWING THE SHARE THE CARE MODEL IN WISCONSIN.
Get ready, Oregon, here she comes.