Milwaukee -– Today Si
eenth Street Community Health Centers (SSCHC); a provider of high-quality, patient-centered health care, health education and social services free from linguistic, cultural, and economic barriers; announced its expansion plans at a ceremonial groundbreaking for its clinic and organizational headquarters at 1032 South Cesar E Chavez Drive in Milwaukee. The opening for the new space is planned for fall of 2024.
SSCHC President and CEO Dr. Julie Schuller was joined by Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge; Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley; Dr. Mark Lodes, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President Population Health and Medical Education, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network; and approximately 100 community members to celebrate the additional services that this expansion will provide to the community.
The groundbreaking also celebrated an announcement of Froedtert Health’s generous gift of $4.7 million to complete the project. More than $2 million of the totaled $9 million project came from the State Healthcare Infrastructure Grant through American Rescue Plan grant that was awarded to SSCHC by Governor Tony Evers in March of 2022. Congresswoman Gwen Moore was also instrumental in securing $1.25 million in funding to help progress the project. Other funding resources include the federal Health Resources and Services Administration which provided another $1 million. The total cost of the expansion is just over $9 million. “Every Wisconsinite should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, and I know that’s a belief the good folks at Sixteenth Street and I share,” said Gov. Evers. “I was glad to support this project with more than $2 million from our allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to build upon Sixteenth Street’s critical work and ensure thousands more families on the South Side of Milwaukee get access to the care they need.”
In February of 2022, SSCHC acquired the adjoining property at 1018 Caesar Chavez Drive for approximately $200,000. This building is being demolished to make space for the new structure, which will be connected to the clinic. SSCHC is also developing plans to address parking concerns for the clinic. GROTH Design Group is the architect and Berghammer is the contractor for the expanded clinic.
The three-story, approximately 21,000-square-foot clinic expansion is being constructed at the north end of the existing clinic. It will offer primary medical care, a new pharmacy, integrated behavioral health services, supportive social services, and wellness classes, which will be available to the community. More than 45,000 individuals rely on Sixteenth Street and this development is estimated to accommodate an additional 32,000 visits annually for people of the South Side community who are currently without needed care.
The expansion supports an integrated model of health care where community members can find all of the health care services they need under one roof. The expansion will include a new, critically important pharmacy, so that patients seeing a doctor at Sixteenth’s Street’s Chavez Clinic will be able to go straight from their appointment to the pharmacy to pick up prescribed medication. The new pharmacy is one of the only pharmacies to be introduced to the area and the second pharmacy to be located within SSCHC’s clinics. SSCHC also houses an Advocate Aurora Health pharmacy at its Parkway Clinic at 2906 South 20th Street.
Froedtert Health has a long-standing relationship with Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers. In 2021, Froedtert Health gifted $3.7 million for the opening of Sixteenth Street’s clinic on National Avenue, which focuses mainly on mental health.
“Mental health and substance use remain significant health issues in our community,” said Cathy Jacobson, president and chief executive officer of Froedtert Health. “This latest gift to Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers affirms our commitment to make a positive, sustained impact in the heart of Milwaukee and to expand access to care for those who need it most.”
The majority of the second floor of the expansion will offer the community additional mental health services including substance use disorder services, additional space, and rooms for groups. At the Chavez Clinic location, SSCHC will offer integrated mental health services, a care model offered by Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers’ providers.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to breaking down barriers to care by bringing quality medical and behavioral health care into communities most in need and addressing social determinants of health through community-based strategies,” said Julie Schuller, MD, president and CEO of Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers. “This new clinic will allow us to expand access to care for thousands of individuals and families and better serve those we are already touching through increased provider capacity and enhanced space for supplemental and community services.”
The Chavez location will offer Group Pregnancy Classes, which is a holistic approach to prenatal care. The Group Pregnancy classes will bring small groups of women together who are all due to have their babies around the same time for their care. Patients who are expecting are provided services as a group, and this cohort goes through the process together, where the focus is on education and support. Members of the group form lasting friendships and are connected in ways not possible in traditional care.
The expansion will also allow SSCHC to move its well-known Lead Program and its Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program from their current location at 1337 South Cesar E Chavez Drive in Milwaukee to the Chavez Clinic, thereby addressing the needs of the community and furthering its integrated model of health care. SSCHC’s Lead Program has been helping families protect children from lead poisoning for more than 25 years by partnering with the Milwaukee Health Department to provide free home-based outreach and testing. Annually, the program tests more than 6,000 Milwaukee children. The WIC program at Sixteenth Street is one of the most highly utilized programs in the state, giving expecting families support through nutritional counseling, lead screenings, breast feeding counseling, and medical resources for pregnant and post-partum women. Having the WIC program located in the same building with pediatrics will allow SSCHC to expand upon its integrated model of health care. Approximately 8,000 patients participated in SSCHC’s WIC program last year.
SSCHC operates seven clinics in Milwaukee and one in Waukesha. These clinics offer primary medical care, behavioral health services, substance abuse services, social services, various supplemental services, community advocacy and overall family health care, and provides bilingual care to everyone regardless of insurance status. In addition, SSCHC has clinics in 23 schools, the most recent of which is located inside of South Division High School, a satellite geriatric clinic at the United Community Center as well as a Women, Infant and Children (WIC), clinic. SSCHC’s current capacity is nearly 200,000 annual visits.