Maggie Rodgers Morrison

Nurse to the Forgotten

Having grown up less than a mile from Camp Randall Stadium, Maggie Rodgers Morrison BS2009 realizes that she started out with a skewed view of the world. In Wisconsin’s capital, clean water is a given, the social safety net is strong, and educational opportunities are ubiquitous.

“Bustling from class to class [on campus], we don’t realize that we are in a blessed minority of people in the world who get to attend a university,” she says.

But since her graduation, Morrison has seen the struggles that much of the world contends with. After earning her nursing degree, she set out to help those she calls “the lost and the forgotten” of the world: at the Beacon of Hope clinic in Nairobi, Kenya, where AIDS runs rampant; at the Lawndale Christian Health Center in one of Chicago’s poorest communities; and in Cité Soleil, a slum in Port-au-Prince that was devastated by Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake.

“Maggie exemplifies the qualities of a global health professional,” says Karen Solheim BS1973, a UW School of Nursing clinical professor. “She has the compassion and humility to work respectfully with local populations.”

Morrison, a 2012 Forward under 40 Award honoree, traveled to Haiti several times in 2011. Working with the organization Samaritan’s Purse, she helped to coordinate a response to a cholera epidemic that swept through Port-au-Prince in the earthquake’s aftermath. She also helped fulfill a critical need to train Haitian nurses.

After returning to Madison, she worked with Madison and Dane County to assist refugees who were arriving in the city and suffering from communicable diseases. Now married to a fellow Wisconsinite and Haitian volunteer, Morrison lives in North Carolina and works as a hospice nurse in Appalachia when she’s not caring for their two daughters.

“I am hoping that the impact that the UW has had on my life doesn’t stop with me,” she says. “I’m working on the ripple effect.”