Archive for the ‘Works at Large’ Category

You may recognize artwork from Express Yourself Milwaukee (EYM) from their outdoor Pop Up gallery on Lisbon, between 33rd and 34th streets.  In case you aren’t familiar with EYM, it is an agency that exposes Milwaukee youth to dance, music and visual arts.  For the past year, we at the Planning Council have been fortunate enough to host the colorful artwork from their “LIFTED!” exhibition from summer 2011.  Every meeting (and we host a lot of meetings) has been brightened by the vibrant prints and hangings.

Cropped art

Over the past for years the Planning Council has hosted art from MPS High School of the Arts, Redline and UWM.  We are looking forward to our next exhibit from Artists working in Education.


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surveycover_bigAn ongoing survey of new mothers, collecting data on “maternal attitudes and experiences before, during and shortly after pregnancy” periodically releases information based on data collected. These surveys are done by the Pregnancy Risk Monitoring System (PRAMS). Wisconsin mothers began participating in PRAM in 2007.

One study shows high differences in postpartum depression between black and white mothers:

Many women feel depressed after bringing a new born home from the hospital. Research has shown that 8% to 15% of women can suffer from postpartum depression.

This is more than just the baby blues, if a mother is having feelings of depression for more than the first ten days after returning home this could be a sign of postpartum depression. Symptoms include feelings of sadness, overwhelmed, panic, anxiety, as well as problems eating or sleeping, problems focusing, and fear of harming self or the baby.

Creating a healthy environment for both mother and baby is important. Postpartum depression can affect all but survey results of Wisconsin mothers showed black mothers (26%) are twice as likely to have postpartum depression as compared to white mothers (11%).Hispanic mothers also have high rates of reporting symptoms at 18%.

For more information on postpartum depression and Wisconsin results take a look at PRAMS report.

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IMGP1497 Infant mortality is a major public health issue in the Unites States disproportionally affecting African-Americans. Wisconsin and Milwaukee are identified as a high risk state and city where black infant mortality is three times the rate of white infant mortality. To combat this the Planning Council for Health and Human Services, Inc. has received a grant for “Engaging African-American Fathers to Reduce Infant Mortality by Improving their Health Literacy.” Funding for this project was provided by the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

This project targets African American fathers living in the Milwaukee ZIP codes identified as being most at risk for infant mortality (53205, 53206, 53210, 53216 and 53218). Men from the community will be engaged in developing culturally appropriate health literacy materials and approaches to guide new fathers in the first nine months of fatherhood.

This project will work with Milwaukee LIHF Community Action Plan to strengthen fathers’ involvement with their family. As well as the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative, My Father’s House and Silver Spring Neighborhood Center working (with the Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood Project at Next Door Foundation). The academic partners include Dr. David Pate, Associate Professor, UW Milwaukee School of Social Welfare and nationally recognized researcher on African American fathers who will serve as academic partner along with Dr. Kris Barnekow, Associate Professor in the College of Health Sciences at UW Milwaukee whose research focuses on health literacy and training in maternal and child health.

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health picWith a healthy balance of brains, brawn and body any man can be great!
To actively advance African American men’s health BrainBrawn&Body, Inc. has released a new interactive website! For the past 7 years The Planning Council has been investigating health disparities and encouraging people of color to seek out resources and gain knowledge to get healthy.  This new website is a wonderful resource for men to learn about maladies that could affect them and where to find help. Plus let’s not forget a healthy man means healthier children and a healthier family. Check out this website here.
 Get some exciting previews into the health topics covered by checking out BrainBrawn&Body, Inc on Facebook

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Some sources estimate that one in five high schoolers has taken a prescription drug like Vicodin or Oxycontin that wasn’t prescribed for them. And 41 percent of teens mistakenly believe that it’s safer to use Rx meds to get high than to use illicit drugs like cocaine or heroin.  http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/why-more-teens-are-abusing-prescription-drugs-2460779.html 

Disposal Year-Round

If you have lefotver prescriptions, you can drop them off year-round, in the 24-hour drop-boxes available in the lobbies of the following police departments:  Anyone 

  • The West Allis Police Department at 11301 West Lincoln Avenue
  • The West Milwaukee Police Department at 4755 West Beloit Road

There are some restrictions – NO illegal drugs, needles, syringes, thermometers, bloody and infectious waste, hydrogen peroxide, aerosol cans, household waste, creams, ointments or personal care products.



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Children experience anxiety, depression and other symptoms of mental health concerns which can affect academic performance, attendance and the likelihood of being suspended.  Once a need for mental health services beyond what the school offers is recognized there are still many barriers to access, including location, lack of transportation and stigma.  The School and Community Partnership (SCPMH) is a pilot program addressing these barriers at four school sites in Milwaukee.


To support improved youth mental health, school success and overall well being for Milwaukee Public School students, the School and Community Partnership for Mental Health is working to increase the number of students in MPS accessing mental health services.  We are doing this in two ways:

  • Bringing community providers into MPS schools;
  • Engaging community health workers to provide cultural links between families, schools and the providers to reduce stigma and other access barriers

We’re succeeding!  Parent follow-up to access mental health services when their child was referred to a community mental health provider before this project was estimated to be 5%.  Previously, only one in twenty students who was referred to a community mental health provider had parents who followed through and successfully navigated the system.  In our first year, follow-up from parents rose to 45% and in year two- the 2011-2012 school year— parent follow-up reached 60%.

What makes this project special?

  • We are providing families with access to mental health services whether students are eligible for insurance or not
  • We are ensuring communication between parents, teachers and therapists to build a network of support around a child
  • We are expanding the use of community health workers at our MPS pilot sites, who offer participants help in accessing the wider Milwaukee support systems

The School and Community Partnership for Mental Health will continue as a pilot program for the next two school years.  We have been lucky to be at four fabulous MPS sites: Audubon Middle School, Hopkins Lloyd K-8, O.W. Holmes K-8 and Wedgewood Middle School.  Thank you to our mental health providers at Aurora Family Services, Pathfinders and Sebastian Family Psychology Practice.

We also gratefully acknowledge the many funders of this project, including the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (Gertrude M. Speer Fund, ELM II Fund and Johnel Fisher Moore Fund), Milwaukee Public Schools (Safe Schools Healthy Students), the Faye McBeath Foundation, the Charles E. Kubly Foundation and the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

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The School and Community Partnership for Mental Health (SCPMH) is a pilot project designed to allow greater access to mental health services for youth and their families in our four partners in Milwaukee Public Schools; Audubon, Hopkins Elementary, O. W.  Holmes and Wedgewood Park International.  Community mental health agencies are matched with a school and offer training and general support to staff and families. If therapeutic services are needed, a family can choose to have their child seen at school by the community therapist. Research is being conducted to determine if this system leads to better academic and mental health outcomes for these students and to see if having Milwaukee Public Schools partner with mental health agencies makes it easier for students to access therapy and other mental health services.

One of the major benefits of the partnership is that therapists are present in schools to offer therapy and serve as a resource for parents, students and staff.  Milwaukee Public Schools is acknowledging the need and providing the setting for communication among those that serve the needs of students and their families.

For parents, the benefits include;

– Less time off of work to take their children to appointments

– Children missing less school due to mental health issues and time getting to/from appointments

– A coordinated approach for their child.

Accessibility isn’t the only factor prohibiting children from accessing therapy, but this program already has nearly thirty children and their parents involved in the research portion.

Stigma, the misunderstanding of mental illness and how people and children recover, also gets in the way of Milwaukee students getting needed services.  Having providers in the schools, educating staff and parents on an informal basis, reduces the stigma that people may carry and really adds to the impact of this project.

Our thanks to the funders of this project, including the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (Gertrude M. Speer Fund, ELM II Fund and Johnel Fisher Moore Fund), Milwaukee Public Schools, Faye McBeath Foundation, the Charles E. Kubly Foundation and the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

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