Physicians Hall Front

First Teaching Health Center in Wisconsin Coming to Milwaukee Health Services, Inc.

Milwaukee, Feb. 15, 2023 – Today, Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (MHSI), the Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Health, and Children’s Wisconsin announce the development of Wisconsin’s first Teaching Health Center (THC), located at MHSI’s Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center on Milwaukee’s northwest side. The THC designation supports the launch of a new family medicine residency - the North Side Milwaukee Health Centers Family Medicine Residency. The new residency will bring more family physicians to the area, hard hit by current health care workforce shortages.

“The North Side Milwaukee Health Centers Family Medicine Residency aims to build a sustainable pathway for Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s primary care physician workforce, particularly as workforce shortages continue to be a significant challenge,” said Stephanie Harrison, CEO of the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association (WPHCA). “It also works to diversify that workforce to be more reflective of the communities they serve, which is known to improve health outcomes for under-resourced communities and historically marginalized populations.

THC programs receive federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and support primary care residency training programs in underserved communities. MHSI received the competitive HRSA THC grant to support the new residency. The HRSA funding facilitates a three-year family medicine residency program with 14 new residents starting in July 2023. Once fully operational, the program will train and graduate 14 residents annually, with 42 resident physicians enrolled concurrently.

“Teaching Health Centers offer residents a unique experience that elevates social determinants of health and emphasizes community-based primary care. They also increase the percentage of physicians who choose to practice in primary care settings,” said Tito Izard, MD, president and CEO of MHSI. “We are taking an innovative, asset-based approach to building a physician workforce representative of the populations served.”

The North Side Milwaukee Health Centers Family Medicine Residency will be housed at MHSI’s Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center but also leverages the expertise of the family medicine faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin and partners with Froedtert Hospital and Children’s Wisconsin for required hospital rotations. The goal is to expand the North Side Milwaukee Health Centers Family Medicine Residency to the other Federally Qualified Health Centers on Milwaukee’s north side, such as Outreach Community Health Centers and Progressive Community Health Centers, in the future.

“The Medical College of Wisconsin is pleased to be a partnering institution and is honored to work with the partnering institutions - Milwaukee Health Services, Inc., the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, Froedtert Health, and Children’s Wisconsin. We are grateful for the leadership of Drs. Izard and Garrison to promote physicians as health advocates within their respective communities – and the medical community at large,” said Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, provost and executive vice president at MCW, and the Julia A. Uihlein, MA, Dean of the School of Medicine. “It is an amazing accomplishment. I believe this kind of partnering initiative will have an enormous impact on our communities into the future and, in particular, into our communities of greatest need for healthcare access and equity.”

“Enhancing health care access in a part of the city where a disproportionate number of residents are at high risk is of vital importance,” said Eric Conley, executive vice president, Froedtert Health, and president, Froedtert Hospital. “Froedtert Hospital’s participation in this program will help train future health care providers who will support this North side community.”

“This innovative residency program, along with the leadership of Milwaukee Health Services, will improve access to primary care services, and help form physicians eager to address the unique health needs of the community. This is an important step towards building stronger, healthier, and more resilient communities for kids and families. We welcome the opportunity to support the family medicine resident rotations at Children’s Wisconsin as part of their training,” said Scott Turner, executive vice president, Children’s Wisconsin.

The residency is spearheaded by two Milwaukee north side-native family medicine physician leaders – Tito Izard, MD, president and CEO of Milwaukee Health Services, Inc., and Camille Garrison, MD, Residency Program Director and Vice Chair of Graduate Medical Education, Department of Family & Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Family medicine physicians provide care to patients of all ages throughout their lives, focusing on health and wellness within the context of patients’ families, communities, belief systems, and values. They treat acute illnesses, help manage chronic illnesses, work with patients to prevent health problems, and may also provide maternity and women’s health care.

Additional start-up funding was provided by Froedtert Health and the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP) Health Systems Shared Community Investment Fund. WPHCA and the MHCP were instrumental in the planning and execution of the Teaching Health Center designation and North Side Milwaukee Health Centers Residency project, bringing to fruition a decade-long shared goal of establishing a Teaching Health Center in Milwaukee.

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