Milwaukee's Sixteenth Street Southside Clinic expansion will serve thousands of new patients
Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers provide patient-centered health care, health education, and social services to thousands in the Milwaukee community. They aim to make sure the care they provide is free from any linguistic, cultural or economic barriers.
Their flagship clinic near Milwaukee’s south side on South Cesar Chavez Drive will be able to serve even more people in its mission, thanks to the expansion that will be completed by the fall of next year.
The expansion will not only add more space, but provide more in-house services such as a new pharmacy, behavioral health services, wellness classes, and much more.
The clinic’s expansion is made possible in part by a $4.7 million donation and a longtime partnership with Froedtert Health, says Sixteenth Street president and CEO Dr. Julie Schuller.
“One of the things I really enjoy about Froedtert Health’s relationship with us is that they understand and trust that we know what's best for our organization,” Schuller says. “They allow us to guide where we want to go and they support from the background.”
She says the $9 million expansion project has been in the making for over a decade.
“The seed for the dream was planted probably after we opened our Parkway clinic, which was in 2006,” she says. “At which time we had a pharmacy partner there, that runs a pharmacy within that clinic and we started to realize all of the benefits that came from colocation of a pharmacy.”
Schuller notes the new in-house pharmacy will especially help patients further understand their medications and allow physicians and providers to directly speak with the pharmacy team handling prescriptions.
“They can collaborate together to try and figure out new solutions, which is a lot easier when you're colocated in the same building,” she says. “You can just walk down the hall and have that consultation.”
During the height of the pandemic, Schuller says she noticed the mental health crisis became even more evident because the isolation period exasperated it, but she also says that it seems people are more comfortable reaching out for help since COVID.
“[People are] more willing to seek help, and identify themselves as having a problem, so that's, one effect, she says. “And our expansion will be including additional mental health services, which I think is just a great response to that increased need in the community.”
Schuller says she’s also noticed the toll the pandemic has taken on Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers providers and says the new pharmacy will help diminish the burnout among their healthcare staff.
“[The new pharmacy] is an additional member of the care team that can provide additional services for the patient that takes a little bit of stress off of the actual physician and medical assistant.”
Sixteenth Street currently serves more than 45,000 patients and the three-story expansion will help accommodate an additional 32,000 annual visits for people living in the South Side community, especially those living without health care.