Behavioral Health: John Chianelli

Health Care Heroes


Behavioral Health: John Chianelli
Executive director
Whole Health Clinical Group, Milwaukee Center for Independence


The Milwaukee Center for Independence has taken on a new approach to the treatment of mental illness. In 2015, MCFI acquired the services of Milwaukee’s TLS Behavioral Health and evolved them into the Whole Health Clinical Group.

It is the first community-based integrated health and social services program in Wisconsin, and serves more than 2,400 people per month.

John Chianelli serves as executive director of the organization, which is focused on providing integrated primary health care, mental health care and social services for the community.

The Whole Health Clinical Group was recently awarded a $1.6 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to continue to expand its integrated services.

According to Chianelli, when both primary and mental health care are available in the same location, clients are more likely to get regular checkups, immunizations, and ongoing care that helps them manage chronic physical disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

The new center represents a fundamental shift in the way the community approaches mental health treatment, Chianelli said.

Community-based models give primary health and mental health care providers the ability to work together in a team setting along with patients. It allows a more coordinated, collaborative care model that produces better overall health outcomes for the patients.

The clinic currently operates the region’s only two crisis resource centers for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

The centers provide a safe, recovery-oriented environment, peer support and connections to ongoing support services and other resources within the community.
It also operates several satellite locations throughout the city.

Whole Health Clinical Group is leading the way when it comes to new coordination of care, access to care and overall health for people living with a mental illness.

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