North Side clinic promises to “make a difference” in children’s health

Julie Tolan, CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, watches as Faye (left) and Alexis Williams cut the ribbon for the new health care clinic at the Northside YMCA. (Photo by Eric Oliver).

Julie Tolan, CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, watches as Faye (left) and Alexis Williams cut the ribbon for the new health care clinic at the Northside YMCA. (Photo by Eric Oliver).

A new health center in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood is now open, bringing primary care to children, teenagers and their adult caregivers in an underserved area of the city.

The clinic, a collaboration between Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Marquette University College of Nursing, is open for patients three days a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Juanita B. Williams and her two daughters, Faye and Alexis, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the clinic. Williams has lived in the area since 1953, and has gone to Children’s throughout her lifetime.

“Healthy people make healthy children; healthy children make healthy adults,” Williams said. “I will do everything I can to make sure everyone in the neighborhood can find this place to get what they need.”

(Photo by Eric Oliver)

(Photo by Eric Oliver)

Shaneé Jenkins, executive director at the Northside YMCA, 1350 W. North Ave., said that the community has historically suffered from large health care disparities and very few care options.

Adult and family nurse practitioners from Marquette University College of Nursing manage the clinic. The College of Nursing and Children’s Hospital also partner to operate another primary care clinic at COA Youth & Family Centers – Goldin Center, 2320 W. Burleigh.

Including the Northside YMCA clinic, Children’s now offers family-centered primary care at 19 locations in the Milwaukee area.

The idea for the Northside Y clinic was proposed in 2011 when Children’s Hospital hosted a series of sessions for residents to talk about problems they were seeing in the community, Jenkins said.

“From those conversations, the idea of a clinic as a resource for families in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood was born,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the relationships among the YMCA, Children’s Hospital and the Marquette College of Nursing demonstrate that when three organizations whose missions align work together, they can “provide a much needed resource to children and caregivers.”

According to Smriti Khare, president of Children’s Medical Group, “We are piloting population health tactics to actively change how we provide care for children and families. The tactics address not only how care is delivered, but also when, what and where care is available,” added Khare, who oversees the primary care clinics.

Children’s hopes to open more clinics across the state, according to Anthony Smith, a spokesperson for the hospital. “Our goal is to have the healthiest kids in the nation, and if we can start in our own backyard, that is the plan.”

“These clinics are for everyone regardless of shape, size, age, gender, resources. The clinics are for every child and their family.”

Josie Veal, a nurse at Milwaukee Area Technical College and Lindsay Heights resident, said she had not been aware that the clinic was moving into the community, but noted that the potential for a positive impact is huge. She said residents just have to be made aware the clinic is there.

Tyler Weber, neighborhood program coordinator at Walnut Way Conservation Corp., said that it is great to see the synergy among the three partners.

“To have them all working together shows the power of collaboration,” Weber said. “It’s incredibly exciting.”

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