Director of community service
Columbia St. Mary’s
Bill Solberg has been director of community service at Columbia St. Mary’s for the past 10 years, but according to him supporting access to care in the community has been a goal of the hospital’s for much longer than that.
“I get to see life from a couple of different levels and help Columbia St. Mary’s with its mission to meet the needs of people in the community who are vulnerable and don’t have access to care or have insurance.”
Heather Puente, health project coordinator for Empowering Families of Milwaukee, City of Milwaukee Health Department, and a former colleague of Solberg’s at Columbia St. Mary’s, nominated him for this award.
“Bill has been a leader in partnerships uniting Columbia St. Mary’s and churches to solve community health problems,” Puente said. “These efforts move beyond ‘business as usual’ to reach thousands of people who are disconnected from traditional health care.”
Solberg led the formation of the Church of God in Christ Covenant, a collaboration of 44 churches that came together to provide health screening and other preventative care to congregants in Milwaukee’s central city. He also leads an initiative which helps more than 2,000 people be screened for high blood pressure and different types of cancer. He is also the leader of the Safe Sleep Sabboth program which addresses infant mortality. Solberg was also instrumental in developing partnerships with the Seton Dental Clinic to meet the dental needs of the poor and homeless in the community as well as the Smart Smiles program, which takes a team of dental professionals to area schools for cleanings, dental sealants and flouride treatments.
“I’m very grateful that Columbia St. Mary’s has given me the freedom to find ways to help our system improve social justice for the community,” Solberg said. “I believe there are some things that are so important through life; and having access to affordable health care is one of them regardless of income or economic level. I keep doing this because I’m able to find creative ways in our current health care environment to make that happen for people.”
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