State Physician Leaders Urge Vaccination Against COVID-19 in Joint Letter

May 06, 2021

The following letter signed by 34 health system and hospital physician leaders representing 111 Wisconsin hospitals encouraging vaccination for all eligible Wisconsinites was sent to statewide media outlets this week. The Wisconsin Hospital Association thanks member hospitals that helped formulate this message and encourages hospitals and health systems to share it with their staff and stakeholders.
Wisconsin Physician Leaders: Vaccination is Key to Moving Past COVID-19
The following important message on COVID-19 vaccinations is made on behalf of physician chief medical officers of Wisconsin health systems and hospitals.
COVID-19 has been with us now for more than a year. We’ve been through a lot together—illness, death, economic hardship and the disruption of the lives we cherish, including the close personal interactions that we as humans need to thrive. And while we’ve shown collective resolve in fighting the disease and adapting to its threat, what we all really crave is getting back to the people and things we miss. Vaccines offer us precisely that hope.
As physicians and health care providers, we’ve devoted our lives to caring for others. It is our responsibility to review medical studies and weigh risks and benefits to recommend the best treatments to protect the health of our patients. Based on our medical training and judgement, we believe the science and safety behind the COVID-19 vaccines is sound, and we encourage our patients and others to get a COVID vaccine whenever and wherever available in your community.  
The dramatic rise of COVID cases in Wisconsin in late 2020 posed many threats to our state and its people. Wisconsinites responded appropriately by adopting recommended mitigation behaviors—wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands—and successfully reversed the COVID surge. And yet, COVID remains with us, stubbornly so. Vaccination offers us the best chance to continue reducing COVID’s grip on our daily lives.  
Our voices, we hope, will provide encouragement to anyone who has questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Important, too, are the perspectives of those you know, love and trust who have sought and safely received a COVID-19 vaccine. Why did they do so? What future are they looking forward to now that they are protected against contracting or being severely sickened by COVID? We hope you will join them and us on this path back to the activities and togetherness we long for.

Christopher G Green, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Wisconsin Hospital Association
  Gary Stuck, DO, FAAFP
Chief Medical Officer
Advocate Aurora Health
  John Misa, MD
Interim Chief Medical Officer
Allina Health System
Gregory Brusko, DO, MMM, FACOS
Chief Clinical Officer
Ascension Wisconsin
  Ryan Andrews, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Aspirus Wausau Hospital
  Brian Johnson, MD, FACP
Chief Medical Officer
Aurora BayCare Medical Center
Cynthia Lasecki, MD, FAAFP
Chief Medical Officer
Bellin Health System
  Roger Kapoor, MD
Senior Vice President
Beloit Health System
  Esteban Miller, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Black River Memorial Hospital, Inc.
Blaise P Vitale
Family Physician
Burnett Medical Center
  Michael Gutzeit, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Children’s Wisconsin - Milwaukee Hospital
  James Heise, MD, MBA
Door County Medical Center
Bill Cannon
Medical Director Fort Medical Group
Fort HealthCare
  Jonathon D. Truwit, MD
Enterprise CMO and Sr. Admin. Dean
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin - Froedtert Hospital
  Robyn Borge, MD
Chief of Medical/Clinical Staff
Gundersen Health System
Edgar (Ted) Collison
Chief Physician Executive
HSHS Wisconsin
  William Melms, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Marshfield Clinic Health System
  Joseph Krien, MD
Regional Chair of Practice
Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse
Richard Helmers, MD
Regional Vice President
Mayo Clinic Health System - Northwest Wisconsin Region
  Tim Bjelland, DO
Mile Bluff Medical Center
  Robert Gouthro, MD
Chief Medical Officer
North Central Health Care
Matthew Niesen, MD
Chief of Staff
Prairie Ridge Health
  Elizabeth Baker, DPM
Chief Medical Officer
Reedsburg Area Medical Center
  Jerry Halverson, MD, FACPsych, DFAPA
Chief Medical Officer
Rogers Memorial Hospital, Inc.
Kent Kramer, MD
Vice President of Medical Affairs
Southwest Health
  Mark Van Etten, MD
Medical Director/Chief of Staff
Spooner Health
  Amy Franta, MD
SSM Health Regional CMO
SSM Health
Aaron Schwaab, MD, FACS
General Surgeon and Chief Medical Officer
Stoughton Health
  Mark Cockley, MD
Chief Clinical Officer
  Jeffrey Cavaness, MD
President, Tomah Health Medical Staff
Tomah Health
Pam Wetzel, MD
Chief Medical Officer
UnityPoint Health
  Aimee Becker, MD, MBA
Chief Medical Officer
University Hospital
  Sara Fox, MD
VP-Medical Services Primary Care
Upland Hills Health, Inc.
Jeffrey Lawrence, MD
Orthopaedic Surgeon/Chief of Staff
Vernon Memorial Healthcare

This story originally appeared in the May 06, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter