The mercury reached the mid-90s on the sunbaked streets of Milwaukee's south side on Tuesday afternoon, but that didn’t stop neighborhood families and lots of little ones from turning out to celebrate the opening of the first Children’s Wisconsin clinic in the neighborhood.
“I want to give a big thanks to Children’s Hospital for the vision (of this clinic) – for investing in our community. I know that it has been a long road getting here, but I am pleased to have this new clinic here,” said Milwaukee Common Council President Jose Perez, who represents the city’s 12th aldermanic district (where the clinic is located). “The families in my district on the near south side have been telling for a very long time that ‘we want more resources’ and ‘we want people here providing services,’ so again I am grateful for Children’s Wisconsin and the partnership.”
Located just south of Historic Mitchell Street, the new clinic at 1432 W. Forest Home Ave. replaces and expands upon services that Children’s Wisconsin had previously provided in a space at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center at 1032 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive. Children's Wisconsin decision to cease operations at the clinic was COVID-19 related. Before the closure, the location was one of the busiest of all of Children’s Wisconsin urgent care locations.
A former Milwaukee Public Library branch building was razed to make way for Children’s Wisconsin new clinic.
In addition to urgent care, the new 18,000 square-foot structure will provide comprehensive pediatric care including primary care, dental, imaging, family and child therapy (behavioral health), neurology, pulmonary medicine and post-surgery appointments.
The clinic will also employ Children’s Wisconsin’s first and only bilingual speech therapist in the Milwaukee area.
Addressing attendees within an hour of the event starting, Peggy Troy, president and CEO of Children’s Wisconsin, informed attendees that the clinic had already filled the first week of appointments, just from families who registered that afternoon.
“This clinic has been a dream for a very long time,” Troy said. “As a mom and a nurse, being able to work with kids and their families is just something that is core to who I am as an individual, and I am so grateful to be here on the south side. We know this has the fastest growing population in the sate of Wisconsin. There are lot of kids here and there are more to come … so to be able to be here is really exciting.”
Children’s Wisconsin health care providers, ranging from doctors to dental hygienists, were on hand at the event to provide tours of the new building, or play games with the dozens of children who bounced about the event tent. They also enjoyed donated refreshments, from fresh fruit and taquitos to popsicles from a local palateria cart.
Other speakers at the event included Adriana de Moya, MD, a longtime pediatrician at Children’s Wisconsin; Amy Romashko, medical director for urgent care services for Children’s Wisconsin who served at the hospital’s Sixteenth Street clinic location, and Mauricio Ramirez, a prominent local muralist, who designed the mural that greets guests in the entryway of the clinic. Dancers from the Ballet Folkorico Xanhariti traditional dresses and suits also braved the heat for the event.
Closer to home
For Maria Sanchez who attended the open house with her four daughters – ages 12, 11, 9 and 2 – having a clinic within blocks of her home will be a big help. Typically, she drives her kids to clinics Children’s Wisconsin locations in Wauwatosa or New Berlin.
“I think it’s easier for families because it is more accessible. I know a lot of families don’t have vehicles. It’s also bilingual, which also really helps,” Sanchez said. “This is actually just three or four blocks (from my house).”
Staff at the clinic will start seeing patients on Monday, June 20.
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