St. Anthony School, a Catholic K-12 voucher school on Milwaukee’s south side, is partnering with a local nonprofit that runs several health clinics in the Milwaukee area to offer treatment in a new way — one that incorporates education.
Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers moved into a clinic in the basement of St. Anthony’s administrative building at 1727 S. 9th St in January. The organization has run health clinics for families in the Milwaukee area who qualify for BadgerCare Plus, the state’s medicare program, for 47 years.
At St. Anthony’s, SSCHC is providing basic health care for students — primarily by administering vaccinations, conducting evaluations and performing sports physicals. SSCHC professionals are also referring students who require more advanced care to specialists.
But SSCHC and St. Anthony leaders are also trying to develop a model for health care education that could prevent some health conditions that many of the school’s low-income students are at high risk of developing — particularly diabetes and obesity.
“Because of the comprehensive nature of their services and community outreach, we do hope to establish a variety of other educational programs in partnership with them,” said Jose Vasquez, president of St. Anthony School. “We’re exploring ideas of doing some kind of work that can focus on addressing some of the long-term health needs of students.”
Dr. Julie Schuller, executive vice president and vice president of clinical affairs for SSCHC, said the school and the nonprofit are “in the initial stages of that discussion.”
“The more that you can provide both care and education within a person’s normal daily life, the more impact you’re going to have,” Schuller said. “This will be our first attempt at this, so we’re excited about that. If all goes well we’d certainly be open to (including) other schools.”
Vasquez said SSCHC’s deep community ties made it a natural fit for a health care partnership. St. Anthony is the largest Catholic K-12 school in the United States. It’s more than 2,000 students attend classes in five separate buildings on the south side.
Around half of those students were already receiving health care at SSCHC clinics before the partnership began, Schuller said.
“Lots of our patients were already students there and vice versa, so a partnership made a lot of sense from a continuity-of-care perspective,” Schuller said.
St. Anthony previously offered health services to students through a clinic called the Padre Pio Clinic it ran in its administrative building, which received a $500,000 grant from the federal government in 2012 to perform renovations and purchase medical equipment.
SSCHC is now operating in that space.
“I find it just super exciting,” Schuller said. “It’s what we should be doing. It’s what we want to do.”