Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers’ 45thAnniversary

Milwaukee – September was a month of celebration as local Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers (SSCHC) commemorated its 45 years of service to Milwaukee’s multi-ethnic, medically underserved community.

SSCHC History

In September of 1969, community residents voted to create the Health Organization for Public Ethics (H.O.P.E.). It operated under the philosophy that no one would be denied care, regardless of income – a mission that lives on through the organization known today as Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers. After building a presence in the South 16th Streetcommunity, and through support from H.O.P.E, the Health Contact Center, United Way, Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital andother programs, SCCHC expanded from one clinic to five separate locations, including three full-service medical clinics.

Economic Engine

In addition to providing comprehensive primary and preventive health care and social services, SSCHC is a powerful economic engine for the Latino community, with a client population that is 85 percent Hispanic.

SSCHC also is a major employer in the communities it serves. The health center provides direct employment opportunities, including critical entry-level jobs, training and community-based career building options.

In 2009, SSCHC directly generated 259.6 full-time jobs and indirectly created an estimated 45.5 jobs for a total of 305 local jobs in just one year. In this same year, SSCHC instilled almost $30million of operating expenditures directly into the local economy.

Through creating jobs, supporting local businesses and engaging in community partnerships and development projects, SSCHC plays a significant role in developing the community’s economy.

In an effort to reach more people in need of medical services, SSCHC opened a clinic in Waukesha in 2012, which createdadditional new jobs and made effective use of a formerly vacant building.

In addition to creating employment opportunities, the health center keeps people at work. SSCHC provides care to keep local workers healthy and productive, so they can provide for their families and contribute to their vibrant community.

“What sets SSCHC apart is its dedication to the complete health of the individual as well as the overall health of the broader community,” said John Bartkowski, president and CEO.

At SSCHC’s location in Milwaukee, the community health center is an anchor for local businesses. SSCHC draws at least 500 people to the area every day, which helps support surrounding restaurants and retail stores like El Rey and Family Dollar.

The health center also purchases goods and services directly from local businesses, including food from Pete’s Fruit Market.

Through its partnership with WIC, SSCHC supports local farmer markets as well. In general, community-based health centers like SSCHC alleviate stress on local ERs and drive down business health costs by serving vulnerable populations.

SSCHC has a belief in personal responsibility and wants people to be involved in their health care. To support this mission, SSCHC engages in capital development projects and community partnerships.

Due to SSCHC’s positive involvement in the community and increasing patient demand, the health center attracts investment and other businesses to the community.

The centers also are involved in the creation of countless community programs, including “Latinos por la Salud,” a group that directs health initiatives impacting the whole neighborhood.

“Latinos por la Salud” and SSCHC staff led a Healthy Grocery Store Campaign to introduce new health foods into neighborhood grocery stores and provide parent education in local schools.

SSCHC also started “The Community Health Worker Volunteer Program,” which is made up of veteran chronic care patients who act as key resources among neighbors and extend SSCHC’s influence beyond clinic walls and out intothe community.

“Our community partnerships allow us to provide a broad range of services to our patients and bridge cultural and economic barriers,” said Dr. Julie Schuller, executive vice president and vice president of clinical affairs.

For the past 45 years, and for the foreseeable future, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers has acted as an economic engine and helped people in Wisconsin lead successful lives – both by providing care that keeps community members productive at their jobs and with their families, and by supplying jobs and resources in the community it serves.

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