Notable Heroes in Health Care: Nourishing Partners Program

Class of 2022

The Children’s Wisconsin Nourishing Partners Program was conceived in 2016, after some Children’s Wisconsin providers did a study of the families coming to the emergency department. 

The study found that about half of all the kids were facing food insecurities. Dr. Michael Levas, a specialist in pediatric emergency medicine; Maddie Winn, physician assistant; and Jacqueline Whelan and Megan Shelbe sprang into action.

Now, when a family comes into the Children’s Wisconsin ED, parents are asked about their access to healthy food. If the answers suggest food insecurity, a notation is added to the child’s health record and triggers an alert to the medical team. The family is given a $15 meal card for the Children’s Wisconsin cafeteria or cafes. They’re also given information about food resources in Milwaukee County.

Within a couple of days, families are contacted by an information and referral specialist at the Children’s Wisconsin Family Resource Center.

To date, the Family Resource Center, led by Sarah Goldman, has received more than 4,000 referrals from the Children’s Wisconsin ED. Of those referrals, 936 families requested additional support from referral specialists and 75% reported positive outcomes, including being connected to at least one resource.

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