Advocacy news

Our advocacy efforts help make a positive impact on legislation that affects the health of children and families in Wisconsin and nationwide.


Boeder DT Nov 15Children's, Chorus Community Health Plans share support for state dental therapy legislation

Mike Boeder, Chief Operating Officer at Chorus Community Health Plans testified before the Assembly Committee on Health, Aging & Long-Term Care to share our support for legislation authorizing dental therapy. Licensed dental therapists working under a dentist's supervision could provide basic, yet important, restorative treatments, like filling cavities. They are trained to perform a limited number of restorative procedures, beyond the scope of a dental hygienist, which would allow dentists to focus on more complex care and treatment. By working collaboratively with dentists, dental therapists could help provide much needed oral health care to some of our most underserved community members. Adequate access to oral health care helps reduce the likelihood of future poor oral health outcomes and keeps health care costs low. 

Addressing teen vaping 

As part of a multi-state settlement agreement to address harms caused by JUUL Labs marketing and sales practices, Wisconsin is expected to receive approximately $14.7 million in funds for prevention and cessation efforts. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services hosted listening sessions earlier this year to obtain community member feedback on use of the funds. Children’s Wisconsin was at the table and shared some of our recommendations including additional support for youth cessation resources and programs, youth education and school-based initiatives — like our e-learning programs — increasing enforcement capacity and multidisciplinary research to better understand the effects of vaping on adolescents. Read the latest update on teen vaping from Lynn D'Andrea, MD, Medical Director of Children's Pulmonary Services.

Children's Wisconsin invests more than $171 million in community benefits

In 2022, Children's invested more than $171 million in community benefits programs, services and activities. This includes $91.2 million in providing high quality care to kids covered by Medicaid. The report reflects Children's investment in core areas identified by the Internal Revenue Service that meet community health needs. While this report reflects solely Children's investment, we can't do this work alone and are grateful to our generous donors, government support and community partners. Read the report and see community benefit stories.

Crowley Weston Group PhotoNew Emergency Department and Trauma Center opens - County Executive Crowley and Mayor Johnson visit

Mayor Johnson new EDTC

The new Skywalk Building is now open at the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee Hospital, featuring a new Emergency Department and Level I Trauma Center (EDTC) and Skywalk retail pharmacy. The two-story building is located prominently on West Connell Court, near the Craig Yabuki Tower and has a new, dedicated entrance for emergency medical services. Please see our current campus map. The Skywalk Building was funded in part by Ladish Co. Foundation and the Jendusa family, along with capital improvements planned and budgeted for by Children’s Wisconsin, including through the issuance of bond financing. It was designed to improve and expand family access to emergency services by relocating the emergency entrance to t

he front of the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee Hospital, and
 expand the services available for patients and families.
“The new Skywalk Building supports Children’s Wisconsin’s mission to make a positive and lasting impact on the health and well-being of our patients and their families,” said Amy Drendel, DO, interim section chief, pediatric emergency medicine, Children’s Wisconsin. “With this new, advanced EDTC facility, we can better provide the safest, highest-quality and most equitable care and services.” Learn more.

Children's providers and staff attend Gun Violence Prevention Day of ActionGroup capitol

More than 20 Children's providers and staff attended an advocacy event hosted by the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort Educational Fund focused on raising awareness and encouraging advocacy on several violence prevention policies. Dr. Mike Levas, pediatric emergency physician and Project Ujima medical director, and Brooke Cheaton, Project Ujima Manager, shared about Children's experience caring for kids and families impacted by violence. Children's emergency department physicians have been advocating on this topic, including through an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a follow-up article.

Gallagher staff AppletonCongressman Mike Gallagher staff visit Children's Appleton Clinic

As part of Congressman Gallagher's annual August district tour, his staff visited Children's new Appleton Clinic and learned about the variety of specialty services we provide for kids and families in the Northeast region.

Children's participates in Milwaukee Alderman Mark Chambers, Jr. back-to-school fair Ald Chambers Back to School Fair

Children's staff, including pediatric dental residents, attended the August back-to-school fair to provide information on oral health and other resources and provide giveaways.

At Every Turn: Night and day

Type 1 diabetes is a life-changing diagnosis. Testing blood sugars, insulin injections, continuous glucose monitors, measuring food and counting carbs — there is a lot to learn. Luckily, Children’s Wisconsin offers comprehensive training to help parents and kids understand their diagnosis and how to manage it. Learn how two brothers, Mason and Reece, navigated their diagnosis and how Children’s Wisconsin helped them thrive in their new everyday lives. 

Children's Wisconsin to receive $4.8 million in state funding to expand dental access

Children’s Wisconsin is excited to announce $4.8 million has been included in the state budget to support expansion of the Children’s Wisconsin Dental Center. In addition to state funding and philanthropic resources (mentioned below), Children’s Wisconsin will also directly invest $3.1 million to cover the total cost of the expansion. Children’s Wisconsin is extremely grateful for the support throughout the budget process. “The need for dental care is great, particularly for kids and families with special medical needs or who are covered by Medicaid,” said Lori Barbeau, DDS, medical director of the Children’s Wisconsin Dental Center. “We are so grateful to have partners in state government who recognized that Wisconsin children deserve better. This expansion will help Children’s care for even more kids who need dental care.” Read more. This advocacy success is possible in part thanks to many patient families who shared their stories.

Kids are waiting for dental care at Children's Wisconsin. That may change soon. 

9-year-old Lici from Racine, Wis. is sassy, giggly and adoring of company. She was born with a rare genetic condition that impacts virtually every aspect of her life. Because of her condition, Lici can't walk or talk or eat on her own. She deals with gastrointestinal issues, and is fed overnight through a tube that carries food to her intestines. Her mother, Amy Gonzales, said she'd grown used to being told by doctors they couldn't take her on as a patient because of her disability, or because she is insured by Medicaid, or both. But their experience finding a dental appointment was different because of one of the few clinics in the state that can provide the specialized care she needs, and has the majority of its patients on Medicaid. At Children's Dental Clinic on their Milwaukee campus, 90% of patients are covered through Medicaid and 35% are kids or adults with disabilities. The dentists at Children's Wisconsin were patient with their daughter's needs. Many parents of children with disabilities attest that Children's is virtually the only place in Wisconsin they can go. But, through a $9.6 million expansion planned for this year, Children's hopes to increase the number of patients it can see, potentially eliminating its 4,000-patient waitlist altogether. A proposal in the state's 2023-2025 capital budget, which the Legislature could take up as early as this week, would give the clinics half of what it needs through taxpayer funds, provided the other half can be raised through private donations. Learn more.

Children's Wisconsin patients attend Children's Hospital Association Family Advocacy Day in Washington, DC

Phoenix from Sister Bay, Wis. and Vince from Mazomanie, Wis. traveled to Washington, DC with Children’s as part of the annual Family Advocacy Day hosted by the Children’s Hospital Association. They met with members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation and made an awesome advocacy duo! Learn more.

County Executive - CW leadersMilwaukee County Executive visits Children's to discuss kids' mental & behavioral health care

Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and Mike Lappen, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Administrator, visited Children's to discuss the continuum of kids' mental & behavioral health care.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services leaders visit Children's DHS leaders  CW leaders

Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson, Medicaid Director Jamie Kuhn, Teresa Steinmetz and Pam Lano visited Children's to learn more about our high quality pediatric specialty, dental and mental & behavioral health care.

June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month

June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, raising awareness of the issue that has been appropriately labeled a national public health epidemic. Firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death for children and teens nationwide in 2020. In my 14 years at Children’s Wisconsin, nothing has shocked me quite like the increase in the number of children we have cared for with gunshot wounds. In fact, the number of children we treated due to gunshot wounds each year more than doubled from 2019 to 2022, jumping from 47 to 123. We understand it is not enough to be exceedingly good at treating the immediate result of violence — the physical wound or psychological trauma. It’s our vision for Wisconsin’s kids to be the healthiest in the nation, and to reach that goal we must protect kids from violence before it happens. Read more about our work to support kids and our communities.


Legislation to end charging youth sex trafficking victims with prostitution

Nila Grahl, Racine & Kenosha CAC Manager, testified before the Assembly Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee on safe harbor legislation to end charging youth victims of sex trafficking with prostitution. Child victims of sex trafficking are indeed victims – these are minors who cannot consent to sex and have been exploited and deserve to be protected. Youth victims of sex trafficking need supportive health care, services and support – not fear of being charged with a crime. This important legislation would better support youth victims of sex trafficking to access the care, services and safety they deserve.

Kids across Wisconsin find the dental care they need at Children's Wisconsin

A visit to the dentist can be challenging for any kid. This is especially true when they are experiencing other health challenges that affect their care. More than 90 percent of patients who receive dental care at Children’s Wisconsin are covered through Medicaid, and 35 percent are kids (or, in some cases, adults) with disabilities. The pediatric dentists and dental residents at Children’s Wisconsin have the skills and training to meet that challenge and make a difference in the lives and health of children. While the Children’s Wisconsin Dental Center is based in Milwaukee, patients and parents across the state have come to rely on us, with reach extending into 57 Wisconsin counties. As a statewide resource, the Dental Center is also proud to serve as Wisconsin’s only pediatric dental residency program, training the next generation of pediatric dentists. Dental disease is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and one of the top reasons why kids miss school, yet it is often entirely preventable with good oral health care and regular visits to the dentist. Untreated cavities impact a child’s ability to eat, speak, sleep, socialize and learn, and often result in costly and preventable emergency room visits. Learn more about Children’s dental care.

Support for transporting pediatric patients via air ambulanceair ambulance2

Kathy Miller, Executive Director of Critical Care, Respiratory & Transport, Nora Stottlemyer, Supervisor, Transport Team, and Mike Meyer, MD, Chief of Pediatric Critical
 Care testified before the Assembly Committee on Health, Aging & Long-Term Care to discuss air ambulance staffing for pediatric patients. When an infant or child at another hospital or health center needs specialized pediatric care beyond what that facility can offer, their physician will call the Children’s Wisconsin Transport and Provider Consult Center. Having respiratory therapists trained and available to serve as a helicopter crew members would be very helpful in managing patient needs and increase the number of staff able and at the ready to serve these critically ill patients.

Bradley Hutton Dr GreeneState Senators Bradley, Hutton visit Children's Dental Clinic & Operating Room

Senator Julian Bradley and Senator Rob Hutton visited Children's Milwaukee Dental Clinic and Operating Room to learn more about the high quality, compassionate care we provide for kids across Wisconsin. 

100 Children's Wisconsin advocates attend 2023 Wisconsin Hospital Association Advocacy Day

Nearly 100 Children’s advocates, including leaders, providers, staff, patient families and volunteers attended the back-in-person Wisconsin Hospital Association Advocacy Day event in April with other hospital advocates joining from across the state. Children’s Wisconsin advocates met with their lawmakers to discuss important health care policies impacting children and families in our community, including increased Medicaid reimbursement, health care workforce solutions and improving care options after hospital discharge.

pam 1

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Children's Wisconsin staff attend Joint Finance Committee state budget hearings

Pam Fraser, Director of Oral Health Services, testified before the Joint Finance Committee on expanding our main campus Dental Clinic and the importance of oral health care access for kids. Sandy Stetzer, Family Preservation & Support Manager, testified before the Joint Finance Committee on the importance of Family Resource Centers and home visiting.

Extending postpartum coverage for moms covered by Medicaid

Sarah Jim Capitol 2

Sarah Currie, Executive Director, Perinatal/Neonatal Services, and Jim Slawson, MD, Chief Medical Officer for CCHP testified before the Senate Insurance & Small Business committee about the importance of extending postpartum Medicaid coverage for moms. The health and well-being of a mother from pre-pregnancy to postpartum has implications on a child’s physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. One of the many ways to promote health among children and their moms is to ensure that families have access to timely and appropriate health care services. Having access to the appropriate health care resources at the right time is critically important, not only for a mom and their family, but also to promote appropriate and cost effective health care utilization.

Children's Wisconsin offering community-based lead testing

In partnership with MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary, Children’s Wisconsin tested Milwaukee children for lead-poisoning to ensure their health and safety in our community. The sanctuary typically serves the 53206 ZIP code – where the city's lead crisis is a particularly serious problem. Providing lead testing is one way that we can ensure kid’s health and safety. In addition to on-site testing, Children’s will assist in follow-up monitoring for families with children who tested positive for elevated lead levels. Learn more about this ongoing partnership between Children’s Wisconsin and MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary.

Project Ujima working to break the cycle of violence

At the age of 8 years old, Jason was first admitted to the emergency department (ED) at Children’s Wisconsin due to a chronic illness. His symptoms were treated but he returned to the hospital several more times before finally succumbing to the effects of his condition at just 16 years old. His fatal disease: violence. “Ten years ago, violence wasn't talked about as a public health crisis, but now it is,” says Michael Levas, M.D., M.S., assistant medical director of Project Ujima and associate professor of pediatric emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “We know the epidemiology, who's at risk and that it's communicable—violence begets violence; if you look at it from a public health viewpoint, it’s absolutely a disease.”

Jason’s story—and those of countless other youths like him—inspired the creation of Project Ujima, a program designed to break the cycle of recurring violence among Milwaukee-area youth. Children’s Wisconsin launched the initiative in 1996 using a multi-tiered approach, including hospital-based services, home-based services and community-based services. The primary goal of these programs and services is to provide children with the support systems, coping mechanisms and violence-avoidance techniques to reduce the likelihood of future violence, regardless of what’s happening in their school or neighborhood. An important aspect of that, according to Levas, is helping kids embrace their positive possible selves. “If you’re realistic view is that you're going to be in prison or dead, that makes you behave impulsively because you don't think there's any other option,” Levas says. “What we do is we give these kids hope and show them all the other possibilities—then those impulsive behaviors don't happen as much.” Since 2004, Project Ujima participants have experienced a recidivism rate of less than one percent. Read more.

Milwaukee Business Journal honors Children's Wisconsin's Jacqueline Whelan for work to address social determinants of health

Children’s Wisconsin is proud and honored to announce that Jacqueline Whelan, MN, RN, CNL, director of Care Integration for Children’s Wisconsin Health Management, has been selected as a member of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 under 40” class of 2023. In so many ways, Jacqueline is changing the way Children’s Wisconsin delivers care to the kids and families of Wisconsin. From leveraging technology and addressing the social determinants of health, Jacqueline is dedicated to not only improving how care is provided, but also redefining what is considered care.

When most people think of health, they think of medical care — getting sick and going to the doctor. But the truth is, direct medical care accounts for a small percentage of a person’s overall health. Things like environment, education, economic stability and access to nutritious food — what we call social determinants of health — are far more impactful to one’s wellbeing. Addressing these factors has been the primary focus of Jacqueline’s work at Children’s Wisconsin for more than 12 years. Read about Jacqueline’s work to better understand patients’ missed appointments, address food insecurity, and much more.

Governor Evers visits Children's Wisconsin

Gov Evers - Zaylyn

Governor Tony Evers stopped by Children’s Wisconsin to tour the Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic and visit the future home of our Pediatric Psychology Residency Program. These innovative programs are helping us increase access to care and grow the number of pediatric psychologists in Wisconsin. There, he met 7-year-old Zaylyn and his mom, Dominique, who shared their mental health story. Children’s Wisconsin mental health leaders thanked the Governor for some of the state funding that has supported these programs. It’s going to take all of us working together to make sure Wisconsin kids get the mental health support they need. Read more about Zaylyn and the Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic.

Funds to support Children's Wisconsin Dental Clinic in proposed state budget

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is proposing nearly $4.8M in state funding to cover half the cost of expanding Children’s Dental Clinic on our main campus. It would expand from 5,200 square feet to 14,000 square feet and will support expanding the hospital's pediatric dental residency program, which is the only one of its kind in the state. Due to space constraints at the clinic and the high demand for services, it often takes at least six months or longer for a child to establish dental care at Children’s, according to the budget document. Once the project is complete, Children's anticipates a significant increase in visit volumes and the number of patients seen. “Children’s Wisconsin is grateful to see that Governor Evers’ capital budget proposal includes funding for expanding the dental center on the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee campus,” the spokesperson said. “If passed, this will help increase access to oral health care for our state’s most vulnerable kids.” Read more.

Children's Wisconsin CEO joins other hospital CEOs in expressing commitment to addressing gun violence

In March, Children’s Wisconsin president and CEO Peggy Troy joined nearly 50 other hospital CEOs in a New York Times ad expressing their commitment and desire to address gun violence all across the country. Sadly, the past two weeks we have seen the harm of gun violence on children in our community. Read more. You can also read more at Becker’s Hospital Review.

Children's Wisconsin opens New Appleton Clinic

Children’s Wisconsin is just weeks away from opening a new clinic in the Fox Valley. The facility will offer more than 20 specialties and eliminate or greatly reduce the need for families in Northeast Wisconsin to drive to the main campus in Milwaukee. The Appleton clinic, 2575 E. Evergreen Drive, is more than 50,000 square feet. Specialties that were offered at the Children’s site at ThedaCare in Neenah will move here, plus more specialties will be added, such as radiology, using the latest technology with the lowest dose of radiation possible. Previously, imaging procedures were outsourced, but now pediatric-trained technologists can do them right here. It’s also the only Children’s Wisconsin clinic to have stress test capabilities. The long-term vision is to add on to the facility and eventually be able to support up to 70,000 visits each year. The clinic will start seeing patients on March 6. Learn more about the Appleton Clinic.

How one mom's fight to protect kids from lead poisoning got her invited to the White House

In 2015, when Deanna Branch’s son Aidan was 2 years old she had a feeling something wasn’t right. He wasn’t developing the way he should and was having behavioral issues. Aidan’s lead levels got so high he needed to be admitted to Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee Hospital. Twice. But after leaving the hospital, with no other realistic options, the family returned to their rental home, the source of the lead. Because the other sources were never fixed, Deanna and her children were eventually forced to leave. She was now homeless with Aidan and his older brother, Jaidyn. Plus, she spent so much time in the hospital with Aidan that she lost her job, too. Sadly, it is not an unusual scenario for families coping with the effects of lead poisoning.

In 2018, Deanna found Lisa Chowdhury, MD, a Children’s Wisconsin pediatrician at Next Door Pediatrics primary care office. Deanna was incredibly grateful to have found a physician who took Aidan’s illness seriously and would make sure he was getting the testing and care he needed. Thanks in part to Dr. Chowdhury’s care and support, Aidan is now living in a safe home and his lead levels have dropped, but there are long term effects of lead poisoning that will never go away. That’s why Deanna began working with her church, Hephatha Lutheran Church, to start the organization Coalition on Lead Emergency (COLE) whose mission is to create a sustainable, lead-safe environment for Milwaukee children. Children’s Wisconsin is proud to work with COLE as their clinical partner, which means it has a network of pediatricians that parents can be referred to who will support them in lead testing and ensure their children get proper treatment and care. This partnership has been an important component of the efforts by Children’s Wisconsin to bring community stakeholders together in the fight against lead poisoning. Read more. Because of her tireless commitment, Deanna was invited by Vice President Kamala Harris to speak at the White House Lead Pipe Summit in January 2023. She asked leaders to act with a sense of urgency to prioritize removing every single lead service line. Watch her speech here.

Project ADAM - the importance of preparing for sudden cardiac arrest

Millions across the world watched in disbelief as Damar Hamlin went into sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed during an NFL game. While the scene was shocking, the rapid response of medical personnel was amazing — and undoubtedly gave Mr. Hamlin a far better chance at survival. That kind of quick, life-saving action should be available to anyone, anywhere. And with Project ADAM, it can be. Project ADAM is a nationwide initiative that has saved the lives of more than 200 children, adolescents and adults who went into sudden cardiac arrest since its inception here in Wisconsin in 1999. It focuses on raising awareness, ensuring bystanders are prepared, and helps schools, community centers, youth sports groups and more have emergency plans and resources in place. While sudden cardiac arrest is uncommon in young people, it sadly does happen. And it’s exactly that — sudden and unexpected. But, immediate CPR and the availability of an AED can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. So while you can’t predict when one might strike, you can plan your response. That’s where Project ADAM is making a difference. Learn more. News outlets shared information about Project ADAM, including Spectrum 1, ABC 2, NBC 4 and more.


Children's Wisconsin pediatric viral trend report continues

As we did during COVID-19 surges, in November we began publishing weekly hospital census information to help our community better understand how respiratory illnesses, including RSV and COVID-19, are impacting kids locally. See this week's report.

Children's Wisconsin hosts dental and oral health care roundtable for policymakers

Children’s Wisconsin hosted more than 20 federal, state and local lawmakers for a roundtable on our dental and oral health care services on December 8. Policymakers heard from Children's staff firsthand on our care and services as well as the need for dental access for kids across the state.

A transformative donation is putting mental health care within the reach of more children

Matthew Duncan, 12, sat in a room at his pediatrician's office one day in mid-October. Physically, Matthew was fine. But mentally, he'd been rattled. His mother, Tawyana, watched her son go from a jolly, loving child to being more closed-off, hurt, even angry, and that's when she knew it was time to seek out professional help. Artie Turner, behavioral health consultant at Children’s, formed a trusting bond with Matthew that allowed the child to voice his feelings and emerge from what his mother described as an isolating, personality-changing mental health struggle. In the clinic, Turner reminded Matthew of some of the tools that he'd learned to manage his anger: being aware of how his body felt as frustration built up, recognizing when to walk away, balling up his fists and slowly releasing them, releasing the anger at the same time — or imagining himself as ice cube, melting away to reach a state of calm control. For young Matthew Duncan, access to therapy has meant a return to a happier, lighter version of himself, before bullying and trauma led him to shut himself away, before he found himself struggling with suicidal thoughts and depression.

In July 2021, there were 867 kids on Children's Wisconsin's waitlist for outpatient therapy when Jeffery Yabuki, former CEO of Fiserv Inc., gave the health system $20 million to address the issue by putting therapists in every one of their primary care and urgent care sites. In the months since, Children's has followed through with that charge, hiring 20 behavioral health consultants across its 20 primary care sites, with more to come at its urgent care sites. The health system's waitlist for outpatient therapy has shrunk by more than half, to 413, as it continues working toward the goal of hiring 36 therapists by 2023. The average wait at a Children's Wisconsin therapy clinic is three or four months, according to the health system. But at their pediatrician's offices, patients can see the therapists right away, at no charge to them. The sessions are meant to catch kids' issues early, giving them tools to manage how they're feeling and a place to talk things through before they turn into bigger issues. Along the way, the therapists and doctors are working to normalizing the importance of mental health care for entire families. Learn more.

Children's Wisconsin acknowledges National Injury Prevention Day - November 18 

Although our child injury prevention efforts are year-round, Children’s Safety Center (formerly Injury Prevention) has joined with organizations across the country and the Injury Free Coalition for Kids® to shine the light on injury prevention during National Injury Prevention Day on Friday, Nov. 18. In addition to partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to share safety messaging on billboards across the state, City of Milwaukee Mayor Johnson also issued a proclamation for National Injury Prevention Day. Children's Wisconsin was also lit up the color green that evening to shine a light on injury prevention.

A year of healing: Reflecting on the Waukesha parade tragedy

Sometimes the forces that pull us together are stronger than the forces that tear us apart. One year ago, our community responded to the Waukesha parade tragedy. Six people lost their lives, 62 were physically injured and countless others were impacted. On that night, 18 kids were rushed to the Children's Wisconsin Emergency Department. Watch this video in honor of all those who responded and to everyone who has been part of the healing.

At Every Turn: From pain to peace

Melissa, from Milwaukee, Wisc., will never forget the night she got a knock at the door and learned her daughter was the victim of violence. While she rushed to TiAnna’s side in the hospital and focused on her daughter’s physical health and healing, a team jumped in to help with everything else. Housing, food, safety, mental health, and more — those are all the areas our Project Ujima team can help families with after violence. And that help isn’t just for the victims, but for the entire family. Hear Melissa and TiAnna’s story, and how our Project Ujima team at Children’s Wisconsin helped their family move from pain to peace.

Dental care at Children's Wisconsin: "They just love our kids"

When Christine McGovern, who lives in Milwaukee, Wis., delivered her triplets 16 weeks prematurely, they immediately required lifesaving interventions at Children’s Wisconsin. The situation was most severe for baby Jasper, whose complications from prematurity led to a brain injury that resulted in quadriplegic cerebral palsy. But with all the medical complexity swirling around the family, there was one factor Christine hadn’t even considered: her children’s future need for special care dentistry. Early on, the family’s pediatrician referred Jasper to Lori Barbeau, DDS, medical director of the Children’s Wisconsin Dental Program who also specializes in caring for children and adults with disabilities. Jasper’s siblings, Ella and Porter, also have developmental delays, sensory issues and insufficient tooth enamel. They started receiving care at the Children’s Wisconsin Dental Program at the same time. Children’s Wisconsin has been the McGovern’s dental home for 11 years. Because Jasper sees about a dozen other specialists at Children’s Wisconsin, the Dental Program has been able to coordinate with Jasper’s other doctors — for example, checking on his G-tube or performing an endoscopy while he’s already under anesthesia for a dental procedure. “It’s convenient for us to have Jasper’s care at Children’s Wisconsin, which is phenomenal and really necessary,” said Christine. “They have an amazing coordination of care.”

While Children’s Wisconsin is already one of the largest providers of pediatric dental care in the state — seeing 22,000 patient visits a year — 4,000 new patients are waiting for appointments. To help meet that growing need, Children’s Wisconsin is working to redesign and expand its dental program on the Milwaukee campus to increase much-needed access for families, particularly those with disabilities. The redesign and expansion will allow the Children’s Wisconsin Dental Program to serve 4,000 more kids every year. Children’s Wisconsin is committed to making sure that their most vulnerable patients find their permanent dental home at Children’s Wisconsin. Learn more about Children’s Wisconsin planned Dental Clinic expansion and more about our oral health care services.

Hear from Children's dentist, Dr. Colleen Greene, who received dental care as a child at a nearby dental school clinic which opened her eyes to a career in dentistry. Now section chief of the Children’s Wisconsin Dental Center, Dr. Greene has made it her mission to care for kids whose needs sometimes go unmet. Children’s Wisconsin is home to the state’s only pediatric dentistry residency program, which produces four residents per year. “One of the really rewarding parts about working in the residency program is helping to strengthen the state’s pediatric dental workforce,” she said.

How Project Ujima helps families touched by gun violence

It looked like any other camp. Kids played hide-and-seek, stifling giggles as they crouched behind benches and slides, then shrieking with laughter when they were found. They practiced their soccer skills and learned a new dance routine for their end-of-season talent show. They shouted song requests — from Doja Cat to Outkast — during their freestyle time. It was easy to forget how they had all ended up at this Milwaukee church. Each one had been touched by violence. Some had been shot or assaulted. Others had lost a parent or friend to homicide or witnessed a shooting. But here, at Project Ujima’s summer camp, they can simply be. They’re surrounded by people like 16-year-old Eric Wright, who returned this summer as a volunteer after attending camp as a participant last year. The program started in 1996 as a partnership between Children's Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin. It connects kids and their families with mentors and case workers who can help them heal, physically and emotionally, after a traumatic event. Its purpose is more urgent than ever, as Milwaukee continues to grapple with a historic surge in gun violence. Learn more.

Health systems, universities to spend $5M with businesses from low-income zip codes

Metro Milwaukee’s largest health care systems as well as Marquette University and UW-Milwaukee said they will collectively increase by $5 million their purchases from businesses owned by people of color in low-income neighborhoods while increasing hiring from those neighborhoods by 33%. The collaborative, which includes Children’s Wisconsin, set a deadline for achieving the goals by 2026. JobsWork MKE, a Milwaukee nonprofit, spearheaded creation of the collaborative. The target ZIP codes for the initiative are on the city’s near south side, the north side and the west side: 53204, 53205, 53206, 53208, 53210, 53212, 53216 and 53233. JobsWorkMKE is holding matchmaking sessions to introduce potential vendors to purchasing agents from the collaborative members. The Anchor Collaborative has established hiring and procurement councils as well as an advisory board of the member institutions to oversee the effort. Learn more.

What if doctors could write a prescription for adequate housing? 

In his first five months enrolled in Chorus Community Health Plan (an affiliate of Children’s Wisconsin), Patrick Sweat visited emergency departments 44 times and was hospitalized 11 times. His medical care was costing about $11,000 a month. Then the health plan tracked him down — he didn’t have a phone, much less an address — and set him up with an apartment. Paying for his apartment not only saved the health plan money, but also improved his life. Chorus Community Health Plans worked with the Milwaukee County Housing Division to pay first for 10 and now about 17 apartments for people in its health plans who have, or are at risk of, high health care costs. In Sweat’s case, Children’s Community Health Plan initially paid for transitional housing. He then got a housing voucher through the Milwaukee County Housing Division’s Housing First program. Through the health plan, he began working with a case manager and started regularly attending his appointments for medical and behavioral health care. He even began working to connect other people who were homeless with resources. Sweat is an example of how homelessness affects health in another way. The average life expectancy among people who are homeless is between 42 and 52 years old. Sweat died suddenly in the summer of 2020. He was in his mid-forties. Read more.

Children's Wisconsin hosts home visiting roundtable for policymakers

Children’s Wisconsin, along with partners Jackson & Portage Counties, hosted more than 20 federal, state and local lawmakers for a roundtable on home visiting services and family resource centers on September 26. Policymakers heard from Children's staff firsthand on programs and services we offer to support parents and caregivers. 

Responding to the alarm: Mental health concerns spiking due to societal changes, but kids and providers stepping up to the challenge

In order to better understand the mental health challenges facing Wisconsin’s youth, the Milwaukee Business Journal assembled a panel of behavioral health experts to get their perspectives on where we are and where we need to go. In addition to Advocate Aurora Health and Rogers Behavioral Health, Cheryl Brosig Soto, Section Chief of Pediatric Psychology and Developmental Medicine Children’s Wisconsin and Medical College of Wisconsin, and Amy Herbst, MSSW, APSW, Vice President of Mental and Behavioral Health at Children’s Wisconsin participated. Learn more about kids’ needs, reducing stigma, tele-mental health, workforce and innovative partnerships.

Children's Wisconsin invests more than $151 million in community benefits

At Children’s Wisconsin, we recognize our role and responsibility in improving community health. We are committed to investing our resources to ensure children and families receive the care, education and support they need to be healthy and well. Children’s is proud to offer many programs and services that positively impact the health of Wisconsin residents. While this report provides an overview of solely Children’s investment in addressing community health, we also rely on the generosity of our many individual, corporate, government and foundation donors. In addition, we are grateful to partner with many community organizations, working collaboratively to achieve our common goals. In 2021, Children’s invested more than $151 million in community benefits. This includes providing $77.7 million in unreimbursed care to ensure kids have access to high-quality, pediatric-focused health care, especially for those covered by Medicaid and children burdened by systemic health inequities. Learn more about our community benefit investments.

At Every Turn: Connecting the dots for Ksenia

Three years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an investigation and five deaths nationally due to vaping-related lung injuries. A team right here at Children’s Wisconsin was the first to bring this to the CDC and nation’s attention. Just weeks prior, 11 teens were rushed to Children’s Wisconsin with severe lung injuries and no one knew why. As soon as doctors narrowed down the cause to vaping, Children’s Wisconsin warned the public and soon learned it was a national issue. The Children’s Wisconsin team didn’t stop there. They have become advocates for children, working each day to prevent more from vaping and coming up with resources for those who want to quit. Wisconsin was the first state to discover e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI), yet is one of the last states to raise the age of tobacco purchase to 21. Ksenia, from Nashotah, Wis., was the sixth EVALI patient to be seen at Children’s Wisconsin. Watch Ksenia’s story to learn more about EVALI and how teens like her can be saved from vaping.

Impacts of asthma on children

In September, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published several articles about the impact of asthma on children and the causes, costs, effects and stories of families.

  • Cities are trying to address the staggering impacts of asthma: Uncontrolled asthma has dire consequences – and has a disparate impact on Black residents who often present to Wisconsin emergency departments for asthma at significantly higher rates than white residents. Dorian James, the former coordinator for the Community Health Asthma Management Program, or CHAMP, at Children’s Wisconsin, said he believes the asthma program at Children’s Wisconsin is a good model to follow. 
  • With more tools than ever, expanded Wisconsin asthma program could dramatically reduce ER visits, overall costs: A pilot program began in 2014, called the Asthma-Safe Homes Program – which involved Children’s Wisconsin and Kenosha County teaming up to provide home visits, asthma education and solutions to reduce asthma triggers. Based on the 2019 report that demonstrated the program’s positive outcomes and cost savings, funding has now shifted from the CDC to Medicaid/CHIP to support the program and offer reimbursements. Families working with the program will now receive two to six home visits, case management, education, home environmental assessment, items to reduce asthma triggers, follow-up calls and funds to address any potential acute asthma hazards. As a member of the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin, the state program will also have access to schools and childcare venues, where coordinators will try to locate and eliminate triggers.
  • Asthma affects 6 million children, many of whom grow up in underresourced neighborhoodsMa’Siah’s mom, Monica, lived for fear in many years because of his breathing troubles. At three months, Ma’Siah had surgery for laryngomalacia, a condition where the tissues above the vocal cords are too soft and flop in the airway, making it harder to breathe. As he grew older, Ma’Siah suffered more and more breathing crises. Uncontrolled pediatric asthma consistently ranks within the top three causes of emergency department visits in Milwaukee. Ashley, Children’s Wisconsin school health nurse at Starms Discovery Learning Center, shares more about the struggles families face in managing childhood asthma. A program at Children’s Wisconsin was developed to help families, like Ma’Siah’s, manage their asthma.
  • Substandard housing promotes asthma triggers and getting help can be a nightmare: Dorian James at Children’s Wisconsin said he has seen everything from pests and rodents to irritants such as bleach and air fresheners in the homes of asthma patients. “If we can look at the triggers in the environment and eliminate them, we can improve asthma control without having to increase medication,” he said. But taking on unhealthy home environments can be expensive, time-consuming and for renters, complicated. 

Governor Tony Evers, Department of Health Services announces kids' mental health investment in Children's WisconsinGov Evers visit

Governor Tony Evers and officials from the Department of Health Services and the Office of Children’s Mental Health visited Children’s Wisconsin to announce a $14.1 million investment to support youth mental health, including $5 million to Children’s Wisconsin for our Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic and to develop a pediatric psychology residency program with the Medical College of Wisconsin. Governor Evers visited the Walk-In Clinic and heard from a family on its impact in the community. The additional funding will enable expanded hours for the Walk-In Clinic as well as a bridge clinic to assist youth until they can access the services they need. Through the new psychology residency program, Children’s Wisconsin will be able to better retain graduate students in its psychology training program, instead of them leaving to complete their required residency somewhere else. The remaining $9 million will go to UW-Whitewater for the Qualified Treatment Trainee grant program, which Children’s also benefits from, to help support and accelerate the licensure of mental health clinicians. Learn more from Fox 6.

Children's mental and behavioral health leaders meet with federal lawmakers on kids' prioritiesHHS Roundtable

In mid-July, the Children’s Hospital Association conducted a Washington, DC fly-in to reinforce our mental and behavioral health legislative priorities, which was attended by over 80 children’s hospitals executives and clinical leaders from 35 hospitals from across the country. Dr. Smriti Khare, Chief Mental & Behavioral Health Officer, and  Amy Herbst, Vice President Mental & Behavioral Health, represented Children’s Wisconsin and met with Wisconsin members of Congress, including Congressman Bryan Steil and Congressman Mike Gallagher. Additionally, Dr. Khare was one of eleven children’s hospital leaders that participated in a roundtable with the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to discuss youth mental health and provide feedback on the Administration’s priorities to address the crisis. Dr. Khare, along with two other children’s hospital clinicians, also participated in a meeting with key Senate Health Committee staff to answer questions and provide input on mental and behavioral health legislation that will be introduced in the coming weeks.

Firearms are leading cause of death for children in Milwaukee, ER doctors says

ER doctors from Milwaukee are speaking out about terrifying trends involving young victims of gun violence. They say the victims keep getting younger and firearms are the number one cause of death for children in the city of Milwaukee and beyond. Dr. Michael Levas, an ER doctor at Children's Wisconsin, said he's seen more young victims of gun violence through his doors in this last year than ever before. He's been working in Milwaukee for 11 years. "When we see the upwards of 70 patients we've already treated just this year under the age of 18, it's traumatic," said Dr. Levas. He said this year alone, seven of his patients died from gun injuries. The hardest part about his job, he said, is breaking the tough news to parents and family. "It should terrify every parent that the biggest risk to their child's life, whether they live in an urban area, a rural area, or the suburbs, is firearm death. That is what is going to take their children," said Dr. Levas. Read more from CBS 58. Hear from a father on NBC 4 about his 16-year-old son, Malik, who was shot and the trends Milwaukee is seeing. Police data shows Malik is one of 81 people ages 18 and younger who have been injured in non-fatal shootings this year in Milwaukee. That’s 19 more than this time last year and nearly double the amount from 2020. Milwaukee Police Department records show another 16 people ages 18 and younger have been murdered this year. The troubling increase can be seen compared to previous years as well.

Breathing easy: How the Community Health Asthma Management Program levels the health field

Monica, from Milwaukee, Wis., will never forget the first time she saw her son Ma’Siah turn blue. He was just a newborn as he struggled and gasped to breathe. The emergency room doctors that stabilized Ma’Saih told Monica he was simply born with small airways and a floppy trachea. That wasn’t the last time they would rush to the hospital in fear of Ma’Siah’s life. After years of frustration at other hospitals, Monica took Ma’Siah to Children’s Wisconsin when he was five years old and he was diagnosed with asthma. Monica was introduced to the Community Health Asthma Management Program (CHAMP) which gets a picture of a child’s whole health by assessing their home and social needs. The program acts as a community navigator, assisting the family with housing, food, transportation, utilities and other social needs. CHAMP also provides home visits to assess possible asthma triggers and create a personalized plan. Thanks to CHAMP’s guidance and intervention, today, Ma’Siah is the lovable, free-spirited 8-year-boy he deserves to be. He loves riding his bicycle, doing karate and playing games. He’s no longer afraid of being active or going outside, as he once was. Learn more. The CHAMP program was also recently awarded the Global Vision Community Partnership Award by the Wisconsin Hospital Association!

State, local lawmakers honored with Children's champion policy awardsPolicy awards

The Children’s Champion Policy Award honors public policy leaders in Wisconsin who strive to make a positive impact in the lives of Wisconsin children and families and move health and child well-being policy forward. 

Children’s honored two state lawmakers with our annual Children’s champion policy awards: Representative Mark Born (R – Beaver Dam) and Representative Evan Goyke (D – Milwaukee). Representative Born was recognized for his leadership on the Joint Finance Committee, supporting a strong Medicaid program for kids, funding for school-based mental and behavioral health care and modernizing psychology licensure which will help more patients get access to this care. Representative Goyke was also honored for his work on the Joint Finance Committee, supporting Children’s as a safety-net hospital, committing to violence prevention efforts and better serving children in out-of-home care and child victims of sex trafficking. Policy awards full group

New this year, Children’s also began awarding a local lawmaker with our champion award; this year the recipient was Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. He was honored for his dedication to working towards our many shared priorities and for his leadership in bringing Milwaukee County
 partners together. Children’s appreciates his commitment to health equity and addressing disparities. County Executive Crowley also been a champion for children’s mental health and is dedicated to ensuring kids in Milwaukee have access to the care they need. Children’s is grateful for his partnership to support families with safe and accessible food, housing and other social needs.

Children's Wisconsin ranked among the nation's best by U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Children's Wisconsin in eight specialties and #1 in Wisconsin as part of the new 2022-23 Best Children's Hospitals rankings. The 15th Annual Best Children's Hospitals rankings recognize the top pediatric facilities across the United States. Children's Wisconsin's specialty rankings include: Cancer; Cardiology & Heart Surgery; Gastroenterology & GI Surgery; Neurology & Neurosurgery; Pulmonology; Nephology; Urology; Diabetes & Endocrine. "At Children's Wisconsin, we have built one of the most prestigious pediatric hospitals in the country and continue to provide an unmatched depth and breadth of care in our state," said Mike Gutzeit, MD, chief medical officer at Children's Wisconsin. "We could not do what we do without all of our dedicated, talented providers and staff, and the support of the community. All of Wisconsin should be proud to have access to some of the best pediatric care in the country."

Children's Wisconsin celebrates opening of Forest Home Clinic on Milwaukee's near south side

Located just south of Historic Mitchell Street, the new clinic at 1432 W Forest Home Avenue replaces and expands upon services that Children's Wisconsin had previously provided in a space at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center at 1032 S Cesar E. Chavez Drive. In addition to urgent care, the 18,000 square-foot structure will provide comprehensive pediatric care including primary care, dental care, imaging, family and child therapy, neurology, pulmonary medicine and post-surgery appointments. Opening the clinic at this location represents our efforts to improve the proximity and access to health care for children in underserved neighborhoods. Hear from Marianna Valadez, former Children's project manager, on her thoughts on the Forest Home Clinic, in the neighborhood where she grew up.

"I want to give a big thanks to Children's for the vision - for investing in our community. I know that it has been a long road getting here, but I am pleased to have this new clinic here," said Milwaukee Common Council President José Pérez, who represents the city's 12th aldermanic district. For Maria Sanchez, who attended the clinic's open house with her four young daughters - having a clinic within blocks of her home will be a big help. Typically she drives her kids to other Children's locations. "I think it's easier for families because it's more accessible. I know a lot of families don't have vehicles. It's also bilingual, which also really helps." Read Biz Times and Milwaukee Business Journal.

Children's Wisconsin is training more therapists and helping kids like Mariska

In the summer of 2021, 8-year-old Mariska from Greenfield, Wisc. started showing signs of anxiety. She had issues falling asleep and staying asleep. She would get a tummy ache every time she got in a vehicle, and she was constantly worried about going into public areas with lots of people. Her parents feared the pandemic had taken its toll. Mindi received recommendations for therapists but they had waitlists that were months long. Mindi decided to call Children’s Wisconsin’s scheduling department and was able to make an appointment with Jessica Kotsakis, APSW, right away. Mariska met Jessica that September and the two quickly bonded over their love of soccer. Jessica made Mariska feel at ease and provided useful tools that helped Mariska manage her anxiety. They did exercises to help Mariska control her breathing and practiced positive affirmations that Mariska could repeat to herself at any time. She has gained so much confidence in herself, learned ways to cope with her feelings and is her quick-witted self again.

For a therapist to become licensed, they must complete 3,000 hours of clinical training, which takes a significant amount of time and money. Through the Therapist Fellowship Program, which receives funding from many sources, including the state, Children’s Wisconsin supports post-graduate qualified therapists with pay and benefits as they complete those hours. While licensure typically takes upwards of five years to complete, therapists in the Fellowship Program typically earn their licenses in less than two years. “I would absolutely not be where I am today if it weren’t for this program,” said Jessica. “As a mother with a family to support, the time commitment alone would have made it impossible to pursue further licensure. This simply would not be an option for me without the Children’s Wisconsin Therapist Fellowship Program.” By March of 2022, eight therapists had completed the training and received their licenses — 14 more are currently enrolled. Since the program was launched in 2019 more than 1,285 families have been supported with more than 16,000 sessions. Read more

Children's providers meet with members of Congress on pediatric research

Cal Williams, MD and Sridhar Rao, MD of Children's Wisconsin, recently visited Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress on pediatric research priorities. The Coalition of Pediatric Medical Research (CPMR), of which Children's is a member), hosted a forum called Developing the Next Generation of Diverse Pediatric Researchers with leaders from the White House, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Congress to discuss bolstering the pediatric research workforce pipeline to support more candidates, encourage increased diversity and promote career success of pediatric researchers.

At Every Turn: Victoria's drive to thrive

Shortly after Victoria, from Milwaukee, Wisc. was born in 2019, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Often kids with Down syndrome have low muscle tone — and that was the case for Victoria. In her life, she struggled to learn to crawl and walk, but, now, nothing is slowing her down. Victoria’s physical therapist at Children’s Wisconsin connected her with Go Baby Go!, a partnership between Children’s Wisconsin and Marquette University that builds specially designed cars that help kids with special needs become independent. Watch Victoria’s story to learn how her Children’s Wisconsin physical and occupational therapists have been there for every help her become the thriving, active child she is today.

$1 million commitment from Delta Dental to expand Children's Wisconsin services

Children’s Wisconsin is excited to announce a $1 million commitment from Delta Dental of Wisconsin Foundation to support the expansion of its dental program, which will increase access to oral health care for some of the state’s most vulnerable. The Children’s Wisconsin dental program specializes in providing comprehensive care to kids of all ages, as well as kids with physical, developmental or intellectual disabilities, complex medical histories, sensory impairment and/or behavioral issues. More than 90 percent of those who receive dental care at Children’s Wisconsin are covered through Medicaid.

Children’s Wisconsin is one of the largest providers of pediatric dental care in Wisconsin, serving approximately 22,000 patients every year across four locations, as well as in its inpatient and outpatient operating rooms. The Children’s Wisconsin dental program is recognized for its expertise in special care dentistry, with about 35 percent of all patients having a disability. Children’s Wisconsin is also the state’s only pediatric dental residency program serving as the sole training ground for pediatric dentists. “Funding from Delta Dental to expand our space will allow us to provide more training and experience in special care dentistry to Marquette University dental students and our professional dental colleagues. Familiarizing them with the needs of patients with disabilities and providing them with the opportunity to feel the rewards of serving this population, is a critical first step in improving much-needed access,” said Lori Barbeau, DDS, medical director of the Children’s Wisconsin dental program. “ Read more.

Milwaukee Market Match program funding approved unanimously by County Board

The Milwaukee Market Match program is a nutrition incentive program that provides matching dollars for families receiving FoodShare, Wisconsin’s version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP). For every dollar a family spends on healthy fruits and vegetables, they receive matching dollars to purchase additional produce at participating local farmers' markets. The Milwaukee Market Match program also acts as an engine for the local economy—participating farmers reap the benefit from higher sales of produce and SNAP dollars remain local. In fact, every $1 invested generates up to $2 in economic activity. Supporting families in purchasing more healthy food options through the Milwaukee Market Match Program provides an opportunity to address key health inequities in our community. We’re all familiar with the benefits of a healthy diet – especially for children – to grow, develop, learn and thrive. Healthy meals can reduce risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stress and mental illness. However, fresh vegetables and fruit are often expensive, putting healthier options out of reach for many. That’s why efforts, like the Milwaukee Market Match Program, are critical to extending families’ dollars further to support healthy food purchases.

Thanks to grassroots advocates and our partners, the County Board approved $1.1 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to support the program at nearly a dozen markets across Milwaukee County. That means many more families who use FoodShare at the markets will be able to receive matching funds to purchase additional healthy fruits and vegetables. Children’s is grateful for the collaboration and hard work of many partner organizations who helped make this advocacy effort possible. Read more at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.

Kids in the crossfire: The lifelong impact of violence and trauma

One summer day, a mother left her house to go to a doctor’s appointment while her son went to the local park to play basketball with friends. It was a typical day, until she got a phone call. Her son had been shot at the basketball court. Mom knew her son needed physical help, so she got him out of the shower and rushed him to Children’s Wisconsin. But that was only the start. Mom said, “Never in a million years did I think this would happen to my kids. In the moment, I couldn’t think of anything else besides, is he alive? Some kids make it out, some kids don’t. I was just so glad my son was alive.” She noted that, at first, he wanted to retaliate. He spoke of finding the people who did this and paying them back. But sitting down and talking to him, and a referral to Project Ujima, helped.

Project Ujima works to stop the cycle of violent crimes through crisis intervention, social and emotional support, youth development and mentoring, mental health, and medical services. Children’s Wisconsin launched Project Ujima in 1996 in response to a growing number of victims showing up in the Children’s Wisconsin Emergency Department with gunshot and stab wounds. With violence on the rise, the Project Ujima team is supporting more kids and families than ever with the tools needed to heal. The number of people the team has worked with over the last three years has nearly doubled. While Project Ujima can work with anyone, at any age, who has experienced violence, the team specifically worked with 140 victims of firearm injuries under the age of 18 in 2021. In 2018, they worked with 55.

According to studies, among children with firearm injuries, the chances of them ending up back in an emergency department within the next year is 22.4 percent. Among the patients Project Ujima has worked with, only 4 percent have had that experience.

When asked what helped her son most after he was shot at the basketball court, Mom listed Project Ujima, his family’s support and guidance, and positive activities like a summer job. And when asked what she wants people to know about gun violence, she said, “Kids are being killed. As parents, our relationship with our kids plays a big part. The more we can talk to them and be active with them, learn about their friends, and be a part of their everyday lives, the more we can steer them in the right direction.” Read more about Project Ujima and healing and support resources.

Children's Wisconsin crisis response team is seeing more children for mental health issues since the start of the pandemic

When the crisis response team at Children's Wisconsin began in 2020, it was estimated the team would see about 800 children each year. The team includes a psychiatrist and mental health social workers who care for children and adolescents who may have attempted suicide or who have a self-inflicted injury, among other similar mental health concerns. But by the time 2020 was over, the team had seen close to 1,000 children. That number increased in 2021, as nearly 1,400 kids were helped by the crisis response team that year. From 2020-21, the Children's Wisconsin emergency department saw a 60% increase in patients who attempted suicide, according to a spokesperson from the hospital.

The crisis response team sees patients who may be experiencing suicidal or homicidal ideation, psychosis, mania or other similar issue. When children arrive, the team makes sure the patient is stable. They perform assessments and discuss next best steps with their families. Team members put together a safety plan, which focuses on identifying warning signs or coping skills. They also help connect them with a therapist, psychiatrist or other outpatient programs for follow-up care. The navigator follows up with families to ensure recommendations are being followed and provide resources for follow-up care. The work of the team is funded through a three-year, $2.5 million grant from the United Health Foundation. Funding from the United Health Foundation grant also supported de-escalation training and trauma-informed education for all emergency department nurses and medical staff. Read more in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Read Children’s NewsHub.

Children's Wisconsin & Bellin Health partner on new Ashwaubenon clinic for kids

Bellin Health plans to build a new clinic for children and teens that will combine primary and specialty care on Ashland Avenue in Ashwaubenon. Construction will begin in December and is expected to be completed in early 2024. Bellin primary care providers and specialists will staff the clinic alongside specialists from Children's Wisconsin. The project is part of a partnership that the two health systems and ThedaCare debuted late last year to expand access to pediatric services in northeast Wisconsin. Dr. Matt Buelow, a pediatric specialist at Children's Wisconsin, said having primary and specialty services in one building will be a "tremendous asset." "This is a really unique design; it's a unique model," Buelow said. "It's going to be a game-changer in terms of the patient experience." Read more in the Appleton Post Crescent.

At Every Turn: Saving Ayden's smile

Ayden's pain was so severe that he was unable to sleep or eat. The cause? Cavities that turned into infections. For months, his mom tried everything she could to get him into a dentist, but with no success. The pain got so severe his mom did the only thing she could think of and brought him to Children's Wisconsin Emergency Department. Many parents don't realize dental disease is the most common childhood ailment and the number one reason kids miss school. Watch Ayden's story to learn how Children's Wisconsin was able to get him the help he needed, and is there for all families…at every turn.

"60 Minutes" features innovative Children's Wisconsin mental health programs

On May 8, "60 Minutes" featured the innovative approaches Children’s Wisconsin is taking to address the mental health crisis facing our kids — kids like Austin, Abby, Mary, Neenah, Sophia and so many more. Those incredible and brave young people shared their own mental health struggles and how Children’s Wisconsin has helped them cope, recover and flourish. CBS journalist Sharyn Alfonsi sat down with several Children’s Wisconsin staff and providers to learn the unique ways they are proving mental and behavioral health care for children who need it most. You can view the 60 Minutes segment here.

Children's Wisconsin hosts kids' mental & behavioral health roundtable for policymakers

Children’s Wisconsin hosted more than 30 federal, state and local lawmakers for a roundtable on kids' mental & behavioral health to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month on May 3. Policymakers heard from Children's staff firsthand on what we and the children and families we care for are experiencing. We also shared how Children's is transforming the way we care for kids to offer mental & behavioral health services at more touch points for families. 

Children's Wisconsin partners with Department of Defense's SkillBridge program

Children’s Wisconsin is proud and excited to announce our participation in the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program. SkillBridge provides service men and women the opportunity to gain valuable work experience during their last 180 days of service, and helps them bridge the gap between their military commitment and the beginning of their civilian careers. Service members participating in the SkillBridge program receive their compensation and benefits from the U.S. military, while Children’s Wisconsin provides the training and work experience to enhance their skillset. “At Children’s Wisconsin, we know that the military is skilled — and we know that they bring those skills to the workplace,” said Julie Okoro, manager of Workforce Development at Children's Wisconsin. “Supporting our military members is something that we’re excited to do.” Read about some of Children’s participants.

Children's physician, Dave Margolis, MD, acknowledged by Governor Evers & City of Milwaukee Mayor Johnson

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson declared Sunday, May 1, 2022 as Dr. David Margolis Day. Margolis is a doctor at Children's Wisconsin, the interim chair for the Department of Pediatrics at Children's Wisconsin, Program Director of Bone Marrow Transplant, and a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. With this proclamation, everyone in our city will know what so many of Dr. Dave’s friends, colleagues and patients have long known — that his dedication to and love for kids, the Milwaukee Bucks and the city of Milwaukee knows no bounds. But Dr. Dave’s impact is hardly limited just to Milwaukee. His shining light stretches all across Wisconsin. To recognize that, Governor Tony Evers has also honored Dr. Dave with an official Certificate of Achievement recognizing his lifetime of service. Read NBC, FOX and Children’s NewsHub.

Lead: How to prevent this invisible danger from hiding in your home

Lead is a dangerous metal found in the environment. It can be found in dirt and dust, some things we eat, paint in old houses and contaminated water. Even very small amounts of lead are not safe for children. Children younger than 6 years old are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. Learn about the signs and symptoms of lead poisoning (some children do not look or act sick) and some tips for preventing lead poisoning in your home. Read more.

Change the Checkup Challenge exceeded - mental & behavioral health progress update

The $5 million Change the Checkup Challenge was started in July of 2021 as part of a $20 million commitment from The Yabuki Family Foundation to help Children’s Wisconsin transform the response to pediatric mental and behavioral health. We’re proud to announce that the funds from this challenge have been met; funds raised will bring mental and behavioral health care teams — including at least 36 full-time master’s-trained therapists — into every Children’s Wisconsin primary care office and urgent care location, as part of the largest-scale implementation in any pediatric setting in the nation. 675 supporters from 29 states and one Canadian province, including 197 first-time donors, helped raise more than $5.2 million. Learn more about Children's progress on integrating mental and behavioral health into physical health settings, universal mental health screening, school-based mental and behavioral health, urgent and emergent mental health care offerings, early childhood mental health, partnerships with other providers, and our therapist fellowship program. Read more.

Craig Yabuki Walk-In Clinic now officially open

Children’s Wisconsin is excited to announce the official opening of the Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic. Located on the second level of the Clinics Building at the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee campus, this clinic is a first-of-its-kind in the state and fills a critical gap in care for kids experiencing a mental health crisis. Along with a guardian, children and teens ages 5-18 are welcome to walk in and receive access to care immediately, with no appointment or referral required. Licensed therapists, social workers, and clinic assistants are available to see patients from 3-9:30pm. services provided, families should visit the clinic website at Our staff will provide evaluations and determine any immediate safety concerns, and then communicate with a child’s existing doctors and therapists to ensure continuing resources are available after the visit. The purpose of the clinic is to provide immediate, temporary support, and is not a replacement for ongoing therapy or care by a mental health provider. Learn more.

Spahr white baggingDr. Chris Spahr testifies on medication insurance policy

Dr. Chris Spahr, Children's physician and as Children’s Chief Quality Safety Officer, testified before Wisconsin lawmakers on legislation that would improve care for those needing specialty medications administered in the clinic setting. Read more.

Children's Wisconsin to open walk-in clinic for kids with urgent mental and behavioral health needs

The Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic will be located within the Clinics Building of Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee. It will serve children and teens ages 5-18 and provide services seven days a week from 3-11 p.m. The clinic’s opening date will be based on when staff are hired and trained, with a goal of opening in early 2022. Children’s Wisconsin continues to actively recruit licensed therapists, social workers and clinic assistants who are familiar with community resources and have experience or want to support kids with urgent needs. Staff will provide evaluations and determine any immediate safety concerns, and they will communicate with a child’s existing doctors and therapists to ensure continuing resources are available after the visit. When needed, the clinic team will have access to a psychiatrist. The purpose of the clinic is to provide immediate, temporary support, and is not a replacement for ongoing therapy or care by a mental health provider. Read more.


First lady Jill Biden visits Children’s Wisconsin to thank health care workers and comfort Waukesha parade victims

First Lady Jill Biden, Second Gentleman and U.S. Surgeon General visit Children's Wisconsin 

Children’s Wisconsin made local and national news on Wednesday, Dec. 15, when First Lady Jill Biden, Ed.D., visited our Milwaukee campus to meet with some of the victims of the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy and the Children’s Wisconsin staff who cared for them, as well as with kids who received their COVID-19 vaccine. She brought with her Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, along with a message of gratitude and hope. While Children’s Wisconsin has welcomed dignitaries of all political parties throughout its history, this was the first ever visit by a First Lady.The First Lady learned more about our comprehensive vaccination efforts, which included a vaccination clinic on the Milwaukee campus, and she even played games with kids who had just received their shot. Her message focused on the resiliency of our Children’s Wisconsin staff, the parade victims, and the entire Waukesha community, as well as encouraging families to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.

Children's Wisconsin, Bellin Health and ThedaCare announce new pediatric partnership

Three leading healthcare organizations – Bellin Health, Children's Wisconsin and ThedaCare — are announcing a new pediatric joint venture with a shared focus on improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents in Northeast and Central Wisconsin, as well as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Through focused coordination, closer alignment, and resource investments, the partnership will make a meaningful impact on the lives of children, adolescents, their families, and the region's communities. Read more.

Children's Wisconsin Notable Heroes in Health Care

Children’s Wisconsin is honored to have several colleagues recognized as 2021 “Notable Heroes in Health Care” by BizTimes Milwaukee. These awards honor individuals and teams in health care who are making a difference in the lives of our patients and families. In addition to being well-deserved, these recognitions speak to the breadth of care and services Children’s Wisconsin provides to our communities and families: COVID-19 response; diversity, inclusion and equity; mental and behavioral health; innovation and research; collaboration. As you look at the list of the winners, you will see our entire system reflected back. See the half dozen Children's awardees.

How the Children's Wisconsin Positive Parenting Program helped one family find peace

Triple P is a parenting program for kids up to age 12 who have been experiencing moderate to severe behavior issues. It offers free seminars, workshops and virtual discussion groups — but it doesn’t tell parents how to be a parent. It’s like a toolbox of ideas. Parents choose from strategies that fit their own unique needs, and then they choose how to use them. When Zohan would get upset or had big emotions, his mom Patricia would calmly talk to him and have him slowly count with her. 1, 2, 3….his focus would slowly shift and he’d begin to relax. There is also deep, slow, purposeful breathing in and out that helps the child center themselves and regulate their emotions. Learn about 3-year-old Zohan from Milwaukee and their family's experience with Triple P.

Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy

On Sunday, Nov. 21, 18 kids and families started a journey with Children’s Wisconsin due to the tragedy at the Waukesha Christmas Parade. We’re excited to share the last child remaining in our care at Children's Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee from that incident was discharged on Jan. 1. While one child sadly did not survive, we are thankful that the medical conditions of the others involved have improved. Though they are home now, we know this is a journey and many face a long recovery as a result of serious injuries, both physical and mental. They will continue to need the love, support and dedication of the community. Read more.

Addressing fears of the COVID-19 vaccine and kids

We know that parents want to make the best decisions for their kids. While many families are eager to have their children vaccinated, we know some parents have questions and may not know what information to trust or how to evaluate what they are reading or hearing from friends and family members. Read answers to common questions.

Dr. Louella ADr Amosmos, Dr. Christina Diaz testify to raise tobacco, vaping age from 18 to 21

Dr. Louella Amos, pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Wisconsin and Associate Professor of Pediatrics for the Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine with the Medical College of Wisconsin and Dr. Christina Diaz, pediatric anesthesiologist at Children’s Wisconsin and professor of anesthesiology with the Medical College of Wisconsin shared their perspectives before the Assembly Substance Abuse and Prevention Committee. Raising the age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products is an important component of addressing this public health crisis among our youth. Stakeholders who receive their authority from state law, including law enforcement and retail partners, need this legislation to ensure they can help keep these harmful products out of the hands of our young people and out of our high schools. Strong, adequate compliance and enforcement is essential to limiting youth access to these products.

Children's Wisconsin's pediatric trends related to COVID-19, RSV and hospital census data

Each week, Children's Wisconsin will provide hospital census information to help our community better understand how respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are impacting kids. Check every Wednesday for updated data.

Hunger is health: How a Children's Wisconsin partnership gives families security and stability

A collaborative and cooperative effort, known as the Food Insecurity Program, was first conceived in 2016, after a study of the families coming to the Children’s Emergency Department revealed that about half of all the kids were facing food insecurities. In December 2020, the program expanded dramatically, ensuring that families with food insecurity are given a $15 gift card for Children’s cafeteria and cafes, information about food resources in Milwaukee County, and receive a follow-up call from an information and referral specialist at the Children’s Wisconsin Family Resource Center. To date, the Family Resource Center has received more than 1,360 referrals from the Children’s Wisconsin Emergency Department. Information and referral specialists were able to reach 80 percent of those families, and 70 percent reported positive outcomes, including being connected to at least one resource. Even though food insecurity is the initial trigger, when a referral specialist from the Family Resource Center connects with the family, they often identify additional needs — such as employment, transportation or mental and behavioral health — and they’re able to connect them to other resources the family never knew existed. Read more.

National effort to "Sound the alarm for kids" facing mental health crisis

Children’s Wisconsin is taking another step in our efforts to raise awareness about the mental and behavioral health crisis facing kids. We’re joining Children’s Hospital Association, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) to “Sound the Alarm for Kids” to not only raise awareness, but to urge Congress to enact legislation and increase funding to address the issue. “The crisis is significant. About one in five kids in Wisconsin is struggling with a mental illness. Our kids have high rates of anxiety, depression and suicide and not enough access to care,” said Amy Herbst, MSSW, APSW, vice president, Mental and Behavioral Health, Children’s Wisconsin. Read more.

Children's Wisconsin opening new clinic in Appleton

Children’s Wisconsin will open a new clinic location in Appleton in 2023 conveniently located off Interstate 41. “Children’s Wisconsin provides health care to all kids who need the specialized services in a way only Children’s Wisconsin can. This new location will allow us to expand existing services and add new specialties,” said Gail Ostrander, vice president of northeast regional services, Children’s Wisconsin. “Expanding services at locations that are closer to where families live supports our efforts to provide more personalized and integrated care.” Annually, Children’s Wisconsin supports 50,000 visits of kids who live in the northeast region. But due to existing clinical space, only about 20,000 of those visits happen at clinics in the area. Families travel to a location in the Milwaukee region for the other 30,000 visits. The new state-of-the art building, designed for kids, will have the potential to support up to 70,000 visits a year, reducing the need for families to travel to Milwaukee for appointments. Read more.

Wisconsin pediatric health experts release statement on keeping kids in school and safe from COVID-19

Children’s Wisconsin, UW Health Kids and the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics made a plea to Wisconsin communities: Keep kids safe and keep schools open. How? Follow public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Kids are back in school and we strongly support efforts to ensure Wisconsin kids can be in school safely. In-person instruction, sports and other extracurricular activities are essential to kids’ overall health and well-being, including their mental health. It is essential we protect our children from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 and avoidable school closures due to workforce illnesses. We all have a role to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Following public health protocols, especially wearing masks, can reduce the spread of illness and the need for quarantine and isolation from work, school and other activities. Read more.

Milwaukee Health Emergency Center hosts beam signing ceremony

Milwaukee County, Advocate Aurora Health, Ascension Wisconsin, Children's Wisconsin and Froedtert Health hosted a beam signing ceremony where policy makers and community members gathered to sign a beam that will be used in the new building. The beam was painted green, the color of the ribbon used to promote mental health awareness. Milwaukee County's new Mental Health Emergency Center will replace the current facility in suburban Wauwatosa. The facility is designed to help those needing short-term mental health care and serve as a connection point to more long-term support. It will be available to all county residents, regardless of their ability to pay. Read more.

Children's Wisconsin joins Milwaukee Anchor Collaborative to boost workforce diversity

Children's Wisconsin has joined the Milwaukee Anchor Collaborative which has the goal of increasing hiring and corporate spending in Milwaukee's zip codes with high proportions of residents with lower incomes. The collaborative is comprised of major health care and educational institutions in the region who have all pledged to hire more people of color and spend more with businesses owned by those with marginalized identities in targeted zip codes. The anchors are currently setting goals to significantly increase employment and spending and will share more details this fall. Read more in BizTimes and Milwaukee Business Journal.

Healthy Baby, Happy Parent podcast launches

New parents have a lot of questions. Healthy Baby, Happy Parent from Children's Wisconsin is the podcast that answers those questions and more. In each episode, we talk to different pediatricians to get the answers to your most challenging parenting questions. We will tackle everything from feeding your baby to tracking development, to worrying about that first cold. We'll equip you with current evidence-based information, as well as "been there, done that" ideas and advice from our knowledgeable team of pediatric experts. Learn more and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Turning tragedy to hope: Yabuki Family gives $20 million to transform response to pediatric mental and behavioral health crisis

The Yabuki Family Foundation and Children’s Wisconsin announced a $20 million gift to transform the delivery of integrated mental and behavioral health care at every Children’s Wisconsin primary care and urgent care location. This is the largest single gift in Children’s Wisconsin history.Through the Yabuki family’s generosity, the program will expand to at least 36 full-time, master's-prepared therapists who will work alongside pediatricians in every Children’s Wisconsin primary care office and urgent care location. More than 175,000 kids are seen by Children’s Wisconsin pediatricians during routine checkups or at an urgent care visit. This holistic integration of mental and behavioral health creates a new standard for evaluation, treatment and access to services for children. The Yabuki family’s gift also supports the creation of an endowed mental and behavioral health research chair and analytics team to monitor program efficacy, improve and evolve the initiative and ultimately, to share best practices with pediatricians and pediatric health systems locally, regionally and nationally. Other funds will help expand research efforts, including a dedicated focus on understanding and reducing the increasing rate of suicide among kids. Read more and learn about Jeff Yabuki's personal connection to improving mental and behavioral health care for kids.

Kids in the crossfire series continues

This is the second post in the Kids in the Crossfire series — a series of blog posts that will explore the complexity of violence. With a shocking and record-breaking increase in violence in 2020 and now 2021, that experience is happening to more and more people. As the trend continues, violence and trauma approaches every one of us. A group of crime victim advocates, community navigators, nurses and therapists are facing the rise in violence head on. They’re a part of the Community Health team at Children’s Wisconsin. The team helping those who have experienced violence is Project Ujima. Project Ujima, which operates under the overarching Community Health team, works to stop the cycle of violent crimes through crisis intervention and case management, social and emotional support, youth development and mentoring, mental health, and medical services. The Project Ujima team worked with families from more than 201 homicides in 2020. And 2021 isn’t looking any better. In fact, so far, it’s worse. Read more.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Children's Wisconsin in six specialties

The 15th annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings recognize the top pediatric facilities across the United States. The new list was shared Tuesday, June 15, and places the Wauwatosa-based hospital among the best in six specific categories: Cancer; Cardiology & Heart Surgery; Gastroenterology & GI Surgery; Neurology & Neurosurgery; Orthopedics; and Pulmonology. "At Children’s Wisconsin, we have built one of the most prestigious pediatric hospitals in the country and continue to provide an unmatched depth and breadth of care in our state," said Mike Gutzeit, MD, chief medical officer at Children’s Wisconsin. "We could not do what we do without all of our dedicated, talented providers and staff, and the support of the community. All of Wisconsin should be proud to have access to some of the best pediatric care in the country." Read more.

Children's Wisconsin virtual care for kids during the pandemic

Children’s was awarded a Milwaukee Business Journal Business Tech award for "Innovative Use of Emerging Technologies" for ensuring Wisconsin kids had access to mental and behavioral health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Children’s quickly created a telehealth mental and behavioral health program going from zero virtual visits for mental health before April 2020 to more than 30,000 visits since. Children’s has tailored its offerings to meet kids’ needs, using technology to help families feel comfortable during their visits, meet their therapy goals between sessions and connect with other families. From creating different-themed virtual Zoom rooms, leveraging the Manatee app that empowers kids and families to integrate therapy goals into everyday life, and launching virtual group therapy and telepsychiatry, the progress and achievements that have been made in mental and behavioral health this past year have been remarkable.

2021 Miracle Marathon raises more than $800,000 for Children's Wisconsin

Visit WKLH 96.5 to watch some of the powerful stories shared during our annual radiothon.

Pediatricians deal with vaccine hesitancy all the time. Here's how they are talking to parents about the COVID vaccine.

Pediatricians have more experience than other doctors in talking to people who have questions about what goes into their bodies or their children's bodies, particularly vaccines. And they are often trusted resources for parents, comfortable in sharing their expertise in an effective manner. "I ask parents if they've thought about getting vaccinated and we talk about their concerns," said Kristin Bencik-Boudreau, a Children's Wisconsin primary care pediatrician at Bayshore Pediatrics. "It opens the conversation, and even if they're hesitant, they are listening because I'm someone they trust with their child." "This pandemic has caused anxiety for everyone, and a common reaction to anything anxiety-provoking is to go into denial," said Paul Veldhouse, a Children's Wisconsin primary care pediatrician at Forest View Pediatrics. "That's caused a lot of people to go to the wrong places on the internet and get a lot of wrong information." Read more.

Children's Bob Duncan appointed to federal Medicaid commission

Bob Duncan, executive vice president of Children's Wisconsin and president of Chorus Community Health Plans, was appointed to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). MACPAC reviews Medicaid and CHIP access and payment policies and advises Congress on issues affecting Medicaid and CHIP. His term will end in 2024. Read more.

Children's named Top Workplace in southeastern Wisconsin

Children’s is one of only nine companies who have been honored as Top Workplaces for southeastern Wisconsin in the 12 years that the Journal Sentinel has published the list. Children’s Wisconsin placed 11th in the large business division. Read more.

Children's mental health funding critical in state budget

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a threat to the well-being of many of Wisconsin’s children and families. While the focus over the past 12 months has been on flattening the curve of the spread of the virus, and we’ve made progress, we can’t overlook what is proving to be the next wave of concern. Influenced by the pandemic, there is growing evidence of declining mental health for children and youth. As Wisconsin considers priorities in the upcoming state budget process and the uses of federal CARES Act funding, it is critically important to invest in the mental health of Wisconsin’s children and families. Read more from Amy Herbst, vice president of mental and behavioral health at Children's Wisconsin, and Ann Leinfelder Grove, president & CEO at SaintA.

Children's Wisconsin, Rogers Behavioral Health collaborate to care for kids with chronic pain

Rogers Behavioral Health and Children’s Wisconsin will collaborate on a new service model to better serve teens suffering from chronic pain and mental or behavioral health challenges. The Integrated Healing Program is the first collaboration of its kind in Wisconsin. Services will begin in late spring 2021 at Rogers Behavioral Health’s Brown Deer campus. Teens who are managing the impact of chronic health conditions such as debilitating headaches, musculoskeletal pain, complex regional pain syndrome, and abdominal pain will be supported by child and adolescent psychiatrists and behavioral health staff from Rogers, as well as health psychologists, physical therapists and pain medicine experts from Children’s Wisconsin. When a child is suffering from chronic pain, a comprehensive approach that supports the whole child and family is needed. The end goal is for these children to have the strategies and skills that allow them to manage their conditions so they can live healthy and thriving lives," said Peggy Troy, president and CEO, Children’s Wisconsin. Read more.

$15 million challenge to support mental health initiatives at Children’s Wisconsin is met

Children's Wisconsin is proud to share the $15 million dollar-for-dollar challenge from the Reiman Foundation has been met. The more than $30 million raised supports Children's $150 million, five-year vision to address the growing mental and behavioral health crisis facing Wisconsin kids. Children's recent efforts include screening kids ages 12+ for mental and behavioral health concerns, implementing early childhood mental health, increasing our presence in school-based settings across the state, integrating behavioral health care into the primary and specialty care setting, developing a pipeline of trained post-graduate therapists, implementing a 24-7 crisis response team in our emergency department, as well as enhancing our partnerships with inpatient and residential mental health providers in our community, including a new psychiatric emergency department in Milwaukee. Read more.

Shine Through videos to help address kids' mental and behavioral needs

Kids in Wisconsin are experiencing a mental & behavioral health crisis, and many families are unsure how to address it with their children. That's why Children's Wisconsin is committed to helping parents and caregivers get the answers they need One of the newest additions to our Shine Through webpage is a series of brief, helpful videos for parents and caregivers to help care for and support their child. Videos and resources focus on kids by age group as well as address frequently asked questions, common concerns, and how to talk to your child, pediatrician, schools about their child’s mental and behavioral health.

Children's Wisconsin partners to offer COVID-19 community vaccine clinics

Listen to Mike Gutzeit, MD, chief medical officer at Children’s Wisconsin, and colleagues at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the City of Milwaukee Health Department announce a partnership to help vaccinate Milwaukee educators and child care staff. Hundreds of employees and medical students from Children's Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin plan to help the Milwaukee Health Department deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to all education and child care staff who live or work in Milwaukee. Watch the press conference and read more details in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Anyone looking to sign up for a vaccine appointment through the City of Milwaukee can visit the city's website or call 414-286-6800.

Kids in the crossfire

This is the first in a series of blog posts that will share pieces of the puzzle of violence. A puzzle with many pieces, violence doesn’t have one perspective or solution, but instead is a complex issue that will require many people and a lot of work to combat. The series will explore different perspectives of individuals who respond to the call to serve victims and are impacted by violence, and different interventions to help break the cycle of violence. The goal for everyone is to prevent another record year of children being harmed. Children’s Wisconsin treated 79 victims who sustained gunshot wounds in 2020 in isolated incidents. 79 children with gunshot wounds. More than double the kids seen in 2019 — 38. Six of those 79 children didn’t survive. The team at Children’s Wisconsin has never treated that many deaths from gunshot wounds in one year. Read moreFox 6 recently featured Kristin Braun, Children’s Wisconsin’s Trauma Program Manager, to discuss this blog post.

Facebook Live Q&As about COVID-19 vaccine questions and myths

We have heard from many families who have questions about the vaccines. When will the vaccines be approved for kids? Will some kids be eligible before others? What about parents and guardians with underlying health conditions or someone who is the sole caregiver to a child with complex medical needs? Our experts also answered questions like: Was the vaccine developed too quickly? Are there long-term side effects? Do I need the vaccine if I already had COVID-19? Will the vaccine alter my DNA? Watch the videos here.

Children's Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccine recipients

The first wave of Children’s providers and care staff were back last week to get their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. At Children’s Wisconsin, the vaccine roll-out has been going smoothly. As of January 20, more than 3,700 doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers and other frontline care staff have received their first dose of the vaccine and nearly 2,000 have received the second dose. While some have experienced mild side-effects, Children’s has not had any reports of people they vaccinated who weren’t able to return to work and care for patients. Hear from frontline workers on their experience receiving the vaccine.

Home sweet home: CCHP housing navigators program transforms families' lives

A dispute with a relative left Aminata and her family homeless and desperate, struggling to find a shelter or landlord willing to accommodate her and nine children. When Chorus Community Health Plans (CCHP) learned of the family’s living conditions, they quickly mobilized to find a temporary place to stay. Carly Mikkila, a community intervention specialist, then began her nearly year-long odyssey to find the family a more permanent home they could finally call their own. Carly worked with Aminata to apply for a Section 8 voucher through the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee. With Carly’s help, Aminata and her kids finally found a five-bedroom home and moved in September 2020. Read more.