Get to Know CSM: Carol Sejda leaves behind a legacy of dedication and commitment to serving the poor
Carol Sejda, in front of St. Ben's
Clinic for the Homeless during
her last week before retirement.
On May 28, 2010, after 25 years of care and service to the people who visit St. Ben's Clinic for the Homeless, Carol Sejda, RN, retired from her position of Nurse Practitioner and Clinic Director. Carol leaves behind a legacy of caring and a mission that ensures health care, outreach and access to some of our community’s most vulnerable.
St. Ben’s Clinic opened in 1980, in what was literally a broom closet located at St. Ben’s Community Meal Program. Carol’s steadfast dedication and focus resulted in the expansion of St. Ben’s Clinic and its programs. Under her leadership, St. Ben’s Clinic was awarded the Daughters of Charity Mission and Values Award in 1989.
Today, St. Ben’s has five exam rooms and is equipped with a medicine room and small laboratory. After realizing that too many patients were seeking care late in their disease stage, Carol expanded beyond the clinic and developed an outreach program to food pantries, meal programs, day centers, and shelters to screen for problems and diseases earlier. Her clinical program now delivers 3,000 encounters per year.
Carol has not only provided clinical management, but also personal nursing care to thousands of individuals in our community, many of whom suffer from substance abuse problems and mental illness. Carol’s dedication and commitment to service for the poor has touched, motivated and inspired not only her patients, but those who work closely with her as well.
St. Ben's Clinic for the Homeless is
located at 9th
“I met Carol in the summer of 1999 when I was returning to Milwaukee and felt drawn to St. Ben's Clinic,” explained Sister Linda Szocik. “It was her enthusiastic spirit and openness that invited me to join the staff as a nurse practitioner. In some ways you could describe Carol as the 'energizer bunny;' always looking to find better ways to make the clinic accessible to the needs of the homeless men and women we served. Her sense of order, beauty and cleanliness helped to create a climate of hospitality and respect for all persons.”
Carol also inspired Lisa Sinclair, MSN, FNP, who worked as a nurse practitioner with Carol at the clinic in the 1990s. “I think that if I had to boil it down to basics, she inspired me in excellence. Through good times and bad, her standards of care didn’t vary. Our clients got the best. I have often said to people over the years that St. Ben’s clients got better care than patients in any other primary care venue I knew. It was because of Carol. Find the needed provider and advocate for the needed service. Find the needed medication. Find the surgeon who would perform the surgery. Find the dentist for the extractions. Clean the bathrooms. Write the reports. Get it done, and get it done well. Why? There was no struggle around the why; it was obvious. The client was a person in need and deserved the best that we could give. Working with Carol profoundly impacted my practice—and my life.”
Carol Sejda (right) pictured with
"I first met Carol when she agreed to provide the clinical experience I
so badly needed to finish my clinicals at Marquette University in the
undergraduate program in 1988," Terry S. remarked. "She was later
instrumental in inspiring me to go on to graduate school. I can
truly say that Carol has been an inspiration and great mentor for me."
You can support the mission Carol has dedicated her life to with a gift to St. Ben's Clinic honoring her amazing 25-year career.
To make a donation, in honor of Carol Sejda, please click
here. Include Carol's name in the
"Honor/Memorial Gift & Notification" section as well as a personal
note in the "Comment" section if you choose.
An acknowledgement of your tribute will be sent to Carol (gift amounts are confidential). St. Ben's Clinic is an extraordinary model of generosity in its utilization of volunteer medical professionals and community financial support to provide high quality heath care to some of our community's most vulnerable individuals. You, too, can be a part of this legacy of generosity through your gift in honor of Carol.
Columbia St. Mary's Foundation thanks Carol for her dedicated service and congratulates her on a successful and fulfilling career that has truly impacted the lives of thousands in our Milwaukee community.