Safe Communities

About us

Safe Communities of Madison and Dane County is an award-winning nonprofit coalition of over 350 organizations working together to save lives, prevent injury and make our community safer.

Formed in 1999 after the Public Health Madison and Dane County community assessment found much activity but little collaboration in the area of injury prevention, Safe Communities is a venue through which diverse partners with a shared concern for community safety come together to advance effective programs and collaborations.

Safe Communities funding comes from federal, local and foundation grants, project sponsorship, sustaining memberships and individual donors.
We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors, comprised of public and private sector partners.

Our programs are coordinated by a small staff including an executive director, program managers, project coordinators and contractors who assist where funding allows. Projects are conducted thanks to efforts of partners who serve on task forces and program teams.

We are accredited under guidelines established by the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Community Safety Promotion, National Safety Council’s Safe Communities America Network and Pan Pacific Network of Safe Communities. Our coalition has been recognized as a model by National Safety Council, has been awarded three National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstration projects, and is currently in partnership with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and SAMHSA to develop new ways to address our nation’s drug overdose epidemic.

Safe Communities uses local data (death, hospitalization and emergency department) to set program priorities. Dane County’s top causes of injury-related death and hospitalization are: drug poisoning, suicide, falls (particularly among older adults), and traffic crashes.

As a coalition, we employ evidence-based programs to address these priorities.  Safe Communities’ programs include Stepping On, shown to reduce falls among participating older adults by 50% and the Zero Suicide Initiative, which reduced suicides among members of a health care organization that employed its methods by 80%.  We also manage MedDrop for Dane County, preventing prescription drug misuse by collecting over 18 tons of unused medicines from local households since the programs inception, and the Slow Down Yard Sign Campaign, an annual traffic safety event that mobilizes neighborhoods and law enforcement to reduce speeding in local neighborhoods.

Mission

Safe Communities builds partnerships with people and organizations to save lives, prevent injuries and make our community safer.

Vision

Safe Communities will be both the leader and primary catalyst in making Madison-Dane County the safest American community.

Issues we address

1) top causes of injury through needs assessment, as determined by data

2) safety concerns cited at community listening sessions and public forums

Safe Communities Current Areas of Focus

Safe Communities Staff & Program Managers


Cheryl Wittke
Executive Director

cwittke@safercommunity.net


Alayna J. Husom

Community Health Education Specialist
Traffic Safety Manager

ahusom@safercommunity.net


Ashley Hillman
Community Health Promotion Specialist
Falls Prevention Manager

ahillman@safercommunity.net


Jean Papalia 

Suicide Prevention Specialist
QPR Trainer

jeanpapalia@yahoo.com

Photo by: Noah Willman

Skye Tikkanen, MS, CSAC, LPC, CS-IT 
Drug Poisoning Prevention Manager

stikkanen@safercommunity.net


Charlie Daniel, MA 

Falls Prevention/Drug Poisoning Prevention Coordinator

cdaniel@safercommunity.net


Mary Zimmerman, RN, MSN

Zero Suicide Initiative Coordinator

mary.rita.zimmerman@gmail.com

Board of Directors

Corinda Rainey-Moore, President 
Outreach & Engagement Coordinator
Wisconsin Council on Children & Families

Erin Ryan, Vice-President 
Co-Owner
Ryan Brothers Ambulance

Jim Christensen, Treasurer 
Principal
StatOrg Services, LLC

Michael Aguilar
President
Innocorp, Ltd.

Kristine Ashe
Vice President Market Manager
Park Bank

Lupita Montoto
Assistant Program Director
La Movida/Mid-West Family Broadcasting

Janel Heinrich
Director
Public Health Madison & Dane County

Chief Deputy Jeff Hook
Dane County Sheriff’s Office

Nick Jarmusz
Director, Public Affairs
AAA Wisconsin

Diana Quinn
Facility Safety Officer
St. Mary’s Hospital

Rich Steffen
Vice President, Sales – Central Region
American Family Insurance

Mary Umbeck
Senior Director of Medical Affairs
WPS