Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin
Press Release

Versiti Invites Community Members to Join A Seat at the Table Webinar Series

Virtual panel discussions with special guests to follow the three films

By - Nov 10th, 2020 09:26 am

Milwaukee – Nov. 10, 2020 – In an effort to bring awareness to the healthcare disparities facing African American communities, Versiti is inviting community members to join in A Seat at the Table Webinar Series, a series of movie viewings and panel discussions to be held virtually in November and December. Among the panelists included are the directors and producers of the films, medical experts, and community members whose lives are directly impacted by sickle cell disease and organ transplants.

Currently, one in ten African Americans are born with sickle cell disease which is most commonly treated with blood transfusions. It takes eight donors to support one person living with the disease. More donors are needed every day to help maintain an adequate blood supply and help patients living with the disease. African Americans are also the largest diverse race in need of an organ transplant and are gravely underrepresented in the blood donor base.

“Sickle Cell itself is often invisible – as nothing looks ‘broken’ from the outside when someone is experiencing the extraordinary pain of a crisis,” says Jaqai Mickelsen, the director of Spilled Milk and a panelist for November 17. “When you couple that with the fact that this disease disproportionately affects people of color, it’s agonizing that racial inequality again takes center stage. Awareness and empathy are key.”

“Community is at the heart of what we do,” says Michelle Waite, Director of Continuous Improvement and Multicultural Outreach at Versiti. “It is our hope that engaging our communities in these discussions will bring greater attention to the health disparities that African Americans face every day.”

Participants can watch the film on their own time and take part in panel discussions featuring medical professionals, community leaders, and community advocates. The discussions take place on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, November17 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. CST – Spilled Milk available on Panelists include: Jaqai Mickelsen, director of the film –  Emily Meier, MD, Director of Sickle Cell Research at Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center – Latoya Stamper, Lead Social Worker, Children’s Wisconsin – James Griffin III, Author of Breaking Silence: Living with Sickle Cell AnemiaGreg Asmus, Field Marketing Manager of Transfusion Medicine, Versiti.
  • Tuesday, November 24 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. CST – A Question of Faith available on Prime Video. Panelists include: Angela White, the film’s producer – Colleen McCarthy, VP of Organ and Tissue Donation, Versiti – Terra Pearson, MD, Transplant Surgeon, Froedtert Hospital – Colette Shumpert, donor mom.
  • Tuesday, December 1 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. CST – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks available on Prime Video, Hulu, or HBO. Panelist include: Ed Jenkins, Found of Lalo’s Lunchbox LLC – Shelley Mitchell, Regional Manager of Donor Recruitment, Versiti – Bashir Easter, PhD Candidate, Assistant Director, All of Us Research, Stacey Crouther, Kidney Recipient.

Anyone interested in attending can RSVP by going to

About Versiti
Versiti, a national leader in blood health innovation, was formed with the mission to improve the health of patients and enable the success of our healthcare partners nationally. We provide innovative, value added solutions in the fields of transfusion medicine, transplantation, and blood-related diseases to meet the needs of each of our customers. The collective efforts across Versiti result in improved patient outcomes, expanded access to care, and cost efficiencies for healthcare systems nationwide. For more information, visit

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