APOPS History

Like most women, Sherrie Palm was a member of the "discovery upon diagnosis" demographic; she recognized within two weeks of her diagnosis that pelvic organ prolapse was the biggest secret in women's health, and that millions of other women were suffering in silence. Sherrie's journey began when she wrote the book, Pelvic Organ Prolapse:The Silent Epidemic, and shortly after the publication of the 1st Edition, founded APOPS, a grassroots movement to shift awareness and provide guidance and support to women navigating POP.  

APOPS' Board of Directors work diligently to evolve
 the future of APOPS community, engendering POP awareness, screening, education, support, and research.

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Sherrie Palm
Founder/CEO/Executive Director
Pelvic Organ Prolapse Health Advocate, Author, International Speaker

Sherrie Palm is APOPS Founder/Executive Director, the award winning author of Pelvic Organ Prolapse:The Silent Epidemic, and a public speaker and educator on the topic of pelvic organ prolapse. As a grassroots women's pelvic floor health advocate, Sherrie's points of focus are international POP awareness, patient support education, and guidance, and evolution of POP directives. Download Curriculum Vitae.

APOPS Board of Directors

APOPS Board of Directors (governing body) recognizes the value in a balanced board of representation between health care professionals from various disciplines, non-medical professionals from legal and business backdrops, and most importantly, patients who have experienced pelvic organ prolapse.

Director Susanne Vella, Organization and Program Development

Susanne Vella has spent the bulk of her career engaged in the work of Milwaukee’s nonprofit sector. With more than twenty years of experience providing organization development and training services to hundreds of nonprofit and public sector organizations, Susanne understands the importance of building organizational capacity through training programs which equip staff with the knowledge, skills and abilities to maximize performance and to contribute significantly to successful work teams. She is the Training Coordinator at the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, providing leadership and direction to program design that meets the unique needs of the sector.  She previously served as the Organization Development and Training Specialist for the Social Development Commission and Director of Admissions & Recruitment for St. Joan Antida High School. Susanne has provided cultural competency training since the late 1980’s - equipping staff to value, embrace and appreciate diversity ­­- when diversity was a “buzz “ word, and organizations were just beginning to recognize the value and importance of recruiting, maintaining and managing an increasingly diverse workforce. 

Director Mary Pippen, POPS Forum Moderator, Patient Voice, External Development Committee

Mary Pippen was diagnosed with POP at the age of 50 in 2014. She joined the POPS Facebook Support Forum where she immediately benefited from the support of the women on the forum. After two surgeries, Mary became a voice of support for other women in the forum, and gained a passion for the mission of APOPS. In November of 2015 Mary joined the POPS Administration team, APOPS Facebook based online support forum, providing support to women from around the world with POP, and a structured, and guiding the structured, safe, secure forum environment.  Mary additionally engages at a significant level in the development of APOPS vision, projects, and activities, including APOPS annual Stigma Stride walkathon and APOPS annual Women’s Pelvic Health Conference. Mary participated as a patient on the POP Patient Panel at APOPS 2016 Women’s Pelvic Health Congress and APOPS 2017 IUGA workshop patient panel.

Mary is a Recreational Therapist at the VA Medical Center for 16 of the previous 24 years, and is currently a VA Volunteer Service Specialist.  

Director Anna Neder, External Development Committee

Anna is a 2016 graduate of Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with a bachelor’s degree in public health and biochemistry. She started working with APOPS in 2016 as an intern during her final year at Carroll University, and participated in several APOPS projects, including StigmaStride and the APOPS 2016 Women’s Health Congress, prior to joining the board in March 2017. Anna currently works as a certified nursing assistant on the Health and Rehabilitation Unit at Oakwood Village Prairie Ridge in Madison, Wisconsin.

Prior to engaging in APOPS energy, Anna worked with the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin to design and implement an educational outreach program for college students on kidney health and chronic kidney disease at Carroll University. As a member of the Pre-Health Professionals Organization at Carroll University, Anna served on the executive board as Publicity Chair and as Vice-President, and organized several blood drives on campus, while leading informative events on first aid, sleep health, and stress management. Anna has worked with Projects Abroad to build and repair schools, classrooms, and latrines following the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. She also volunteered at the Nepal Youth Foundation’s Kathmandu Nutritional Rehabilitation Home for children. Anna has a broad range of public health interests; her primary focus includes women’s health, health policy, global health, and infectious disease. Anna is especially interested in the intersect between the patient and how health policy impacts care given at the bedside in both the short and long term settings.


Director Kathy Vater Hahn, CCRN, APOPS Forum Liaison

Kathy Hahn Vater is a registered nurse with 39 years of experience.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Marian College of Fond du Lac (now Marian University).  With experience in medical, surgical, orthopedic, and labor and delivery nursing, she is now employed in Critical Care and Surgical Services at the Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center.  She currently holds American Association of Critical Care Nurses certification as a Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN). Having a passion for nursing practice – the “why and how” behind what nurses do - she is a past co-chair of the Aurora System Nurse Practice council and continues to support nurses in her facility by participating in a variety of projects.  She has more recently become involved in supporting and advocating for women who are affected by pelvic organ prolapse, functioning as a liaison for the Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support on their Facebook forum since April, 2017.  Her goal is to provide information and support to women as they journey from initial diagnosis through acceptance, enabling them to move forward with their lives.  She resides in Plymouth, WI with her husband, Gary, and is the mother of 3 adult children.  

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Director Melissa Frasure

Melissa Frasure achieved a B.S in Psychology in 2003 from Rockford College and a Masters of Social Work in 2005 from New Mexico State University. Starting with internship in 2003, Melissa worked in a variety of social service settings, providing a wide scope of social services to individuals from varied backgrounds, including under-served, rural, disenfranchised and economically disadvantaged populations. As a military Veteran, Melissa became interested in providing much needed services to other Veterans, working with the Department of Veterans affairs starting in 2009. While with the VA, she served both as a Medical Social Worker providing direct patient care and advocacy to home bound patients and also served as a Military Sexual Trauma counselor, providing trauma-focused services to both male and female survivors of Military Sexual Trauma. As an LCSW, she concurrently maintained a private practice for several years, counseling clients on a myriad of issues, including mental health disorders and physical health challenges. Melissa took a sabbatical in 2016 to begin working on a family. Following the birth of her daughter in 2017, Melissa was diagnosed with POP and found her way to the APOPS forum where she experienced, firsthand, how the organization brings attention and care to women suffering from a rarely publicized set of conditions. Melissa became very interested in advocating for all women experiencing POP related challenges and spreading awareness and promoting early prevention/detection of POP.

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Director Meghan Carl

Meghan Carl is a 2001 Graduate of the University of California, Davis. Immediately upon graduation, Meghan was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army. After leaving active duty in 2005, she worked in operations and logistics management and then returned to government service, helping to launch a fledgling workforce development program. Meghan left the paid workforce following the birth of her first child, but continued her professional development, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management and developing a basic technology course for clients at her local food bank. Meghan currently resides overseas on a remote military base, raising her Army “brats” and supporting the military through volunteer leadership positions in the community.

Meghan received a POP diagnosis following complications with the birth of her second child. As a well-educated professional, she found the lack of information and awareness of POP disheartening. After many months of searching, she found the APOPS social media forum on Facebook, and was encouraged by the support of the women she encountered there. Meghan is anxiously anticipating a return to the United States and an active role, spreading the APOPS mission, especially within the military community.

Targeted Focus Committees

To learn more about our committee members, click on the links below.

Medical Advisory

External Systems Analysis Committee

Internal Development Committee

Patient Support Committee

POP Lay Advisory