‘I’m so lucky to do what I love:’ UW Health nurse continues outreach work in Africa

Nursing has taken Susan Gold around the globe and back again, upwards of 30 times.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 3:02 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Nursing has taken Susan Gold around the globe and back again, upwards of 30 times.

Now her sights are set on an upcoming two-week humanitarian trip to Tanzania. The trip is focused on pediatric malnutrition and family planning where Gold will connect with 35 families alongside an African doctor and community health workers.

“I strongly strongly believe, that the more we know about each other the more we care about each other, the more we recognize that we all have a role in making this world a better place, especially nurses,” Gold said. “The expertise and the experience we have, changes lives.”

Since 2007 Gold has been working with resource-poor communities including HIV positive adolescents. Gold’s work has her teaching, and educating in various countries within Africa about HIV and reproductive health.

Gold says Africans deserve the kind of care and opportunity that we have here in the U.S.

“The most important thing for me—for people to understand about Africa is how we say in Swahili ‘tuko sawa,’ meaning, ‘we are all the same,’” started Gold. “We all want healthy families, healthy children, a future, we want our children educated and we want opportunities to provide long, healthy, prosperous lives.”

Over the years, all of Gold’s outreach work has been funded by different U.S. state department grants. Gold says she is so lucky to being doing what she loves. “I mean it’s a lot of hard work and it took a lot of hard to work to get to the point I can do it as much as I can, but it’s worth every moment.”

As a UW-Madison alumna, Gold started working with UW Health in 1991, and technically retired in 2017, but has done anything but slow down.

“Nursing has taken me literally all over the world,” Gold exclaimed. “And I’m so proud to be a UW nurse and to be able to show people what that means.”

Gold describes a hospital in Africa with a sign that dawns the words ‘whenever you arrive here, you will find light, hope and human kindness.’ “As a UW nurse I strongly believe that it is the light of our knowledge, the hope of our research and the human kindness in our hearts that make a difference,” Gold said. “And I hope to continue to make that difference for as long as I can.”

Twice a year, Gold takes UW-Madison undergraduates studying global health on service trips to Africa. Ten students will embark on the next trip on the first of January.