Adolescent Health Symposium
Select Page

Save the Date for the Adolescent Health Symposium

February 14-15, 2019 in Madison, Wis.

Join our mailing list to receive updates directly to your inbox.

We are thrilled to announce our 2019 keynote speakers, Dr. Richard Wender and Mettie Spiess on Thursday, and Bob Lenz on Friday. Dr. Wender will be speaking on “Focusing Upstream: Making Prevention and Health Promotion a Priority Throughout Our Lives.” Spiess will engage a conversation on suicide prevention, student mental health, classroom success, and resilience. Lenz will speak on bullying and the role we can play to foster an atmosphere of value, courage, and respect in the classroom.

Click on the video above for a preview of Dr. Wender’s opening keynote address.

Richard C. Wender, MD, is the chief cancer control officer of the American Cancer Society. In this role, he is charged with providing oversight and guidance to the organization’s domestic and global cancer control programs, with a focus on access, navigation, and health equity in an effort to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy life and receive high quality treatment and support.

Prior to joining the Society, Dr. Wender worked for 34 years as a family physician in the department of family and community medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, most recently as alumni professor and chair.

Dr. Wender has led numerous initiatives designed to improve preventive care and chronic disease management, with a focus on cancer prevention and control. He is a pioneer of the Patient Centered Medical Home, and currently serves as chair of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable.

He is also a prolific author, with numerous scholarly works, including co-authoring several cancer screening guidelines. Dr. Wender has been honored numerous times for his leadership in medicine, having been recognized with the Laurel for Cancer Prevention Leadership from the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Practitioner of the Year from the Philadelphia County Medical Society and the St. George Medal from the American Cancer Society.

We gratefully acknowledge Dr. Wender’s participation which is supported by the American Cancer Society.


Mettie SpiessMettie Spiess, CWP, is an award-winning mental health advocate, professional speaker and the founder of Hope Heroes Unite. She is known as a champion of change and a voice of hope for diverse audiences including school districts, universities, corporations and health advocacy organizations.

She has trained more than 10,000 students, educators and corporate leaders in her signature “Empowered Voices Save Lives!” program and support curriculum. As a result of her work, more than 90 percent of attendees report being more comfortable reaching out for help and more confident intervening when a peer is in crisis.

In 2016, Spiess received the Education Advancement Award from the National Alliance of Mental Illness Wisconsin for her work to break the silence and end stigma associated with mental illness by providing education, raising awareness and promoting recovery.

Prior to founding Hope Heroes Unite, Spiess was a nationally-certified corporate health coach for eight years. She still holds her certification through the National Wellness Institute. Globally, Spiess has empowered audiences in a way that produces measurable results and lasting cultural change.


There are school assembly speakers who have great things to say but aren’t engaging enough to hold the attention of a skeptical student audience. Then there are those who can captivate a crowd but leave students longing to hear something of substance.

Bob Lenz is the speaker who can do both! His humorous, down-to-earth style and genuine concern captures young people’s attention. His stories and principles awaken their understanding and inspire them to embrace their worth and impact their world with purpose and resolve.

He is the author of the anti-bullying book, Dignity Revolution, and initiator of a national pledge to stand up for the worth, value and dignity of every person. In addition to the book, Lenz uses school assembly programs and classroom campaigns to encourage students to take ownership of the lessons shared and equip them with life skills to face and overcome challenges.

Lenz is the Founder and President of Life Promotions, a non-profit youth organization with a mission to instill hope in youth. Since he began speaking in schools in 1982, he has spoken to more than five million people in all 50 states and across the world.

The Symposium is offered in partnership with the UW-La Crosse Department of Health Education and Health Promotion and Community Health, UW-La Crosse Continuing Education and the UW Oshkosh Division of Online and Continuing Education, with support from the American Cancer Society and the Samaritan Family Wellness Foundation.


Special thanks to the Wisconsin Association for Middle Level Education (WAMLE) for their support and assistance advertising the Symposium.

For more information, contact or call (920) 424-1129.