First teaching health center in Wisconsin coming to Milwaukee’s northwest side

Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center. Image from Google.

Milwaukee Health Services, Inc., the Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Health and Children’s Wisconsin announced today plans to develop a new family medicine residency on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

The North Side Milwaukee Health Centers Family Medicine Residency draws support from its designation as Wisconsin’s first Teaching Health Center. THC programs receive federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration and aid primary care residency training programs in underserved communities.

The new residency will bring more family physicians to the area, hard hit by current health care workforce shortages, said Stephanie Harrison, CEO of the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, in a press release.

“(The residency) also works to diversify that workforce to be more reflective of the communities they serve, which is known to improve health outcomes for under-resourced communities and historically marginalized populations,” Harrison said.

The HRSA funding facilitates a three-year family medicine residency program with 14 new residents starting in July 2023. Once fully operational, the program will train and graduate 14 residents annually, with 42 resident physicians enrolled concurrently, according to the release.

“Teaching Health Centers offer residents a unique experience that elevates social determinants of health and emphasizes community-based primary care,” said Tito Izard, president and CEO of Milwaukee Health Services, Inc.. “They also increase the percentage of physicians who choose to practice in primary care settings.”

Izard will spearhead the residency alongside Camille Garrison, residency program director and vice chair of Graduate Medical Education, Department of Family & Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Both are Milwaukee north side-native family medicine physician leaders.

Plans call for the residency to be housed at MHSI’s Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center at 8200 W. Silver Spring Drive, where it can leverage the expertise of the family medicine faculty at the MCW and partner with Froedtert Hospital and Children’s Wisconsin for required hospital rotations. The long-term goal is to expand the residency to other federally qualified health centers on Milwaukee’s north side, such as Outreach Community Health Centers and Progressive Community Health Centers.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Drs. Izard and Garrison to promote physicians as health advocates within their respective communities – and the medical community at large,” said Joseph E. Kerschner, provost and executive vice president at MCW, and the Julia A. Uihlein, MA, Dean of the School of Medicine. “It is an amazing accomplishment.”

Additional start-up funding was provided by Froedtert Health and the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership Health Systems Shared Community Investment Fund.

“Enhancing health care access in a part of the city where a disproportionate number of residents are at high risk is of vital importance,” said Eric Conley, executive vice president of Froedtert Health and president of Froedtert Hospital.

“This is an important step towards building stronger, healthier, and more resilient communities for kids and families,” added Scott Turner, executive vice president of Children’s Wisconsin.

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