Partnering with communities to improve children’s health

Healthy kids require the combined efforts of families, schools, health care providers and community agencies. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is reaching out to communities statewide through our primary care clinics, counseling programs, family resource centers and other services to improve children’s health. Our goal is that Wisconsin will have the healthiest kids in the nation.

Milwaukee neighborhood collaborations

A special effort is underway in three Milwaukee neighborhoods where there are significant health challenges. Studies show that children who grow up in healthy environments – with supportive families, nutritious food, clean and safe physical surroundings and access to excellent health care – have better health outcomes and lower health care costs.

By coordinating our vast clinical and community-based resources, we can help facilitate community health improvement. We do this directly, by expanding medical, dental and mental health services in these areas. We also do this indirectly, by collaborating with residents and other community agencies to address issues such as crime, joblessness and education. All of these issues can affect children’s health and well-being.

Individuals and representatives of community groups in each neighborhood met to identify and prioritize needs they wanted to address. They formed advisory groups and selected leaders for each initiative. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin provides community health navigators to help families access and use health care options; employs school nurses at several neighborhood schools; and has expanded medical and dental services in the area.

Primary and dental care

We have opened clinics in Milwaukee neighborhoods where there were too few care providers to meet the needs of residents. Two new primary care clinics opened in partnership with the College of Nursing at Marquette University in fall 2013 – at COA Goldin Center and Northside YMCA – to serve the needs of children and their care providers. Our Downtown Health Center and Next Door Pediatrics also serve the primary care needs of Milwaukee children, as do our Next Door Dental Center and North Avenue Dental Center.

School nurses and teen health

Our School Nurse Program provides nurses in several Milwaukee schools who care for students, offer screenings such as vision and hearing, help improve the school environment, promote physical education, support healthy food choices, make connections to mental health resources and more. Our Adolescent Health Program serves young adults in Milwaukee, including offering primary health care, acute and chronic disease management, and screening and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Community health navigators

Our community health navigators help connect residents with the right resources at the right time to support wellness and healthy lifestyles. They work to build awareness of neighborhood needs and challenges with a goal of improving health outcomes for children and their families.