The YMCA, Learn, Grow, Thrive

Stakeholder Spotlight

"If you bring a diverse and appropriate group of leaders together and give them good information and an effective process, they will create effective policy and environmental strategies and take responsibility to implement them."


PHC will feature committee members in our Stakeholder Spotlight series. These stakeholders are a diverse group of leaders who come together to support the mission which reads: Pioneering Healthier Communities is the spark that creates change to support healthy living.



Leo Bronston

Chiropractic Physician with a Masters in Musculoskeletal Management


Leo is a strong believer in getting families and individuals active and engaged in their communities.  He is committed to PHC because  he hopes he “can add support for population-based behavioral change to create a health care system focused on health and well-being”. His time at PHC has given him the  opportunity to work with various stakeholders in the community and initiate programs such as building bike trails, planting community gardens, and school nutrition programs. His commitment to PHC and the YMCA has helped create relationships that enhance individuals and the community. 


Paula Silha

Health Education Manager, La Crosse County Health Department

Paula’s involvement with the Healthy Living Collaboration at the La Crosse County Health Department has made her a perfect fit for a Steering Committee member. She is committed to PHC because “the more we as a community work together on making the La Crosse County a healthier place to live, the greater impact we have to improve the health conditions of the county and region and support our neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues to live better.” She is hopeful that her involvement with PHC will help different organizations come together and improve the community as a whole.



Brenda Rooney

Epidemiologist and Medical Director of Community and Preventive Care Services

Brenda found PHC to be a great opportunity that fit with projects that she was already working on and committed to. She said “something about the mission of PHC has struck a chord with me”. Since she focused her research on changing negative behaviors such as over-eating, lack of exercise, smoking, and excess alcohol use, the information she has gained from being on the PHC Steering Committee has been very “refreshing and has really changed the way I think about population health improvement”. She believes that “if we create a healthier environment, people will make better choices without even giving it a second thought; we can change the environment, which will in turn, change the culture and people’s behaviors and improve health.”



Lori Freit-Hammes

Director of Health Promotion, Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare

Lori is an active member of PHC which allows her “to influence and participate in creating change that allows others to make the healthy choice the easy choice”. She is passionate about creating changes that allow for everyone to participate in a healthy lifestyle. Examples include providing convenient and safe walking and biking paths and providing individuals with inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables. Lori states “it’s important to remember that wellness is not a luxury, but a right”.



Sean Dwyer

Director of News Production - WXOW

Sean is one of the original stakeholders involved in the formation of PHC in 2007. In addition to “steering” the greater good of PHC, Sean promotes healthy living throughout the Coulee Region through his “Fit Friday” news cast where he and his team focus on topics involving healthy eating and physical activity. Sean believes that “the healthier we are, the more ripple effect we’ll have on the rest of the community”.