This month marks the second anniversary of Small Stones, a unique organization created by Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin. A health care resource center with an unusual name, Small Stones is going into its third year of offering Milwaukee’s business and general communities easy access to nurse health educators, a medical library, an on-line medical information service and a health related retail store – all under one roof.
They also present community education classes on a variety of health topics and provide health promotion services to local businesses.
"We’re currently working with Quad Graphics, the Kohl’s Corp. and the Lutheran Home in Wauwatosa in developing walking and wellness programs for their employees and we provide them with pedometers at a discount," says Meg Miller, community education coordinator for Froedtert and the Medical College.
The center, located at 8700 Watertown Plank Road, has 2,500 members, up from 1,000 a year ago, but you don’t have to be a member to take advantage of its services, explains Miller. Memberships, however, include merchandise discounts, a copy of a personal health journal, free periodic health screenings and unlimited access to the center’s lending library.
"The name derives from an ancient Chinese proverb: ‘Those who move mountains begin by carrying away small stones’," Miller says.
"Not only do we incorporate various aspects of a retail store and a source of accurate up-to-the-minute information, all three of our staff members here are registered nurses, specializing in education," she says.
The information provided by Small Stones is designed to educate and ease the minds of individuals with ailments, and improve their communications with health care practitioners by enabling them to ask better questions.
"We provide a good combination of information, support and materials that can help individuals make changes in their lifestyle that will work for them," says Mary Freisleben, one of three nurse health educators on the Small Stones staff. As a nurse, Freisleben has always understood the importance of information and self-care in recovery or management of health.
Small Stones has a library of more than 5,000 consumer health books, newsletters, magazines and tapes ranging from asthma to women’s health topics. Consumers can research health information on-line at one of their computer terminals.
It also serves as a retail store selling popular health books, audio and videotapes. "Sales of these materials have just about doubled this last year," says Kathy DeVries, marketing vice president for Froedtert.
The center also makes available on-line health risk assessments and screenings for high blood pressure, cholesterol, osteoporosis, body fat and more, as well as on-line access to clinical experts, including physicians.
Small Stones, partnering with the Ellenbecker Investment Group, recently added free financial assessments to its offerings.
Another new program in force, "Small Stones at School," offers classroom teachers in the Milwaukee area anatomical charts, models and graphs to illustrate to their students the health benefits of physical activity. It also administers a speaker bureau serving the schools.
For more information, contact Small Stones at 414-805-6520 or visit them at www.smallstones.com or www.froedtert.com.
Feb. 20, 2004 Small Business Times, Milwaukee