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Partnership significantly expands preventive healthcare services at 44 Milwaukee churches

A truly grand grand opening

March 31, 2011, began like every other day for Barbara: listening to Eric Von’s Morning Magazine show on WMCS-AM radio. An interview with Julia Means, a Columbia St. Mary’s parish nurse and a nurse at the Community-based Chronic Disease Management clinic (CCDM), caught her attention. The Word of Hope CCDM clinic offers screening, diagnosis and treatment for diabetes and hypertension to people without insurance.  And, today was its grand opening.

As Julia talked about the incidence of hypertension and diabetes in the African American community, Barbara recalled the symptoms she’d been feeling over the past few months: a lot of thirst, frequent urination and general fatigue. Compelled by Julia’s interview, Barbara, who lived within a half mile of the clinic, was the first person at the grand opening’s health fair.

Barbara’s diabetes screening revealed a blood sugar level five times higher than what is considered normal. Her condition was presented to the CCDM physician on-call and within an hour she began treatment for diabetes. Barbara started to feel better fairly soon and even felt well enough to stay for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For Barbara, it was truly a grand opening and the beginning of a commitment to treat her newly discovered chronic disease. 

Through a new partnership with the Northwest Jurisdiction of Milwaukee’s Church of God in Christ (COGIC), Columbia St. Mary’s has expanded the reach of its Community-based Chronic Disease Management (CCDM) program.  This collaboration between Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin addresses barriers to health services for low-income adults who are at risk of developing chronic diseases.  The CCDM program screens and manages hypertension and diabetes. By establishing clinics in nontraditional locations, such as food pantries and churches, CCDM clinics contribute to the prevention of chronic disease complications among Milwaukee’s most vulnerable populations through screening, referral and management services, low-cost drugs, and preventative education.

Rev. C.H. McClelland, Bishop of the Church of God in Christ's Northwest Wisconsin Jurisdiction and Bill Solberg, CSM director of mission services sign the COGIC Covenant.

Rev. C.H. McClelland, Bishop of the
Church of God in Christ's Northwest
Wisconsin Jurisdiction and Bill
Solberg, CSM Director of Mission
Services, sign the COGIC Covenant.

In January 2011, Columbia St. Mary’s signed an agreement with the churches, the COGIC Covenant, to expand health education and screening to the churches and their communities. An important element of the Covenant was expansion of the CCDM clinic model of care to at least two COGIC church sites over the next year, and in March, the new Word of Hope clinic opened. The other churches will screen and educate their members through health liaisons to receive care at the CCDM clinics.

As a result of the COGIC Covenant, members now have access to healthcare services like mammography screening, colorectal cancer screening, prostate screening, cooking classes, nutritional education, diabetes education and assistance regarding advance care directives.  Other healthcare services and programs may be provided at the suggestion of the health liaison volunteers.

 “We know that our churches serve as a resource to our members in many different ways,” Rev. C.H. McClelland, Bishop of the Church of God in Christ's Northwest Wisconsin Jurisdiction said. “We feel privileged to help our members improve their health and the health of their families through this partnership with Columbia St. Mary’s.”

Community collaboration is essential to making a difference
Each church has a health liaison volunteer who works with CSM parish nurses and community health workers to accomplish collaborative health goals.

“Working with church health liaisons is a new and creative approach,” Bill Solberg, CSM's Director of Mission Services, said. “As informal leaders in their churches, the liaisons are closely aligned with church members and able to link members to appropriate health programs.”

Additional CCDM clinics aim to repeat success
The staff of the Word of Hope CCDM clinic, located within Holy Cathedral Church of God in Christ, assesses and treats uninsured people with hypertension and non-insulin dependent diabetes. It is an expansion of a successful clinic that has been operating for the past four years at the New Life Food Pantry in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood. It is being funded through the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program, a component of the Advancing Healthier Wisconsin endowment program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Two additional CCDM clinics are planned for the future.

“Through screenings, education and community partnerships, the Riverwest clinic significantly lowered the blood pressure for 76 percent of the patients it serves,” Solberg said. “We hope to replicate that success at the new clinic.” Read below about why one patient calls the clinic’s grand opening truly grand!

The CCDM clinics and parish nurses are funded through gifts to CSM Foundation. To support this and our other community benefit programs, please click here.

CCDM clinic locations and contact information:

New Life Food Pantry
Community-based Chronic Disease Management clinic
205 E. Concordia Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: (414) 588-9178
Hours: Wednesdays from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:00 - 5:00 pm
The New Life Food Pantry clinic hours coincide with those of the food pantry in efforts to meet people where they naturally go on a regular basis.

Word of Hope CCDM
Community-based Chronic Disease Management clinic
2677 N. 40th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53210
Phone: (414) 588-9178
Hours: Mondays from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm


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