our story

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Healthfirst is a non-profit community health provider in central Wisconsin.  Incorporated in 1973, Healthfirst set forward to develop a quality facility that offered confidential reproductive health and WIC services in Marathon County.  Since 1973, Healthfirst has expanded its geographical footprint and now offers WIC services in three counties and health services in eight counties.

We are taking appointments at our clinics in eight Wisconsin counties



The purpose of Healthfirst is to improve the reproductive and nutritional health within our communities.


Healthfirst is dedicated to providing quality, confidential reproductive health care, education and nutrition counseling that is affordable and accessible through direct care and strategic partnerships.


Healthfirst fulfills its purpose and mission through:

  • Providing confidential services;
  • Treating all with respect and dignity;
  • Empowering through education;
  • Maintaining honesty and integrity;
  • Being kind, caring & empathetic; and
  • Committing to innovative, high quality, evidence-based services.


Healthfirst executive director Jessica Scharfenberg

Jessica Scharfenberg

Executive Director

After graduating from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, Jessica began her career as a registered nurse in the emergency room of a critical access hospital in central South Dakota.  This is where her passion for public health began. 

Jessica transitioned into public health while working for the South Dakota Department of Health as a Public Health Regional Manager, before moving back home to Wisconsin.  She obtained her master’s in Public Health from Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, with an emphasis in policy and administration. 

Jessica brings a variety of hands-on, public health experience to her leadership at Healthfirst and believes prevention is the best medicine.  “When we focus on the health of our community, together as a community we reap great success.”


Jerry Lyon

Business & Operations Director

Jerry is an energetic and proactive leader with extensive non-profit management experience.  Through his previous work with Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters, his leadership has been on the forefront of strategic planning, program growth, implementation of new programming, special events, communications, and staff and volunteer management, on a local, statewide, and national level.  Jerry received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.  He is also a graduate of the Leadership Excellence program through the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce and the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point at Wausau’s Non-Profit Management Institute.

Jerry and his wife, Molly, live in Merrill with their children, Wyatt and Jacey.  In his free time, Jerry enjoys his role as Chief Transportation Officer for his children in their many ventures, coaching, playing golf, and he is an avid muskie fisherman.