Jeanette Kowalik, City of Milwaukee Commissioner of Health (Photo by Karen Stokes)

This past Tuesday evening, Ascension St. Joseph, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Office of Violence Prevention and the Sherman Park Community Association met at the Sherman Phoenix with community members to introduce the BUILD Health Challenge.

Milwaukee is one of 18 new awardees in the BUILD Health Challenge. It’s a unique program which focuses on Bold, Upsteam, Integrated, Local and Data-Driven projects that can improve community health.

“This was a difficult grant to get,” said Nicole Angresano, Vice President, Community Impact United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. “Six percent of applicants were funded. Getting the grant was the easy part, now the work happens.”

On Aug. 13, 2016, the Sherman Park neighborhood erupted in violence after the fatal police shooting of Sylville Smith, an African American man. During the three-day turmoil, several people, including police officers, were injured and dozens of protesters arrested.

Reggie Newson, Chief Advocacy Officer, Ascension Wisconsin (Photo by Karen Stokes)

“I was amazed at how many residents were involved in the clean-up after the unrest, it was inspirational, it was emotional to see how much people cared about this neighborhood,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

The Sherman Park neighborhood which has been perpetually burdened through social, political, economic inequities is ready for rebirth.

Mabel Lamb, executive director of Sherman Park Community Association, has lived in Sherman Park for over 19 years and has seen a lot of change.

“One reason we are so grateful for being part of this grant is being able to reinvent and rebuild Sherman Park,” Lamb said. “Over the last 48 years the Sherman Park Community Association has focused on quality of life issues and one of the things we’ve learned is that we are stronger when we work together.”

According to BUILD partners, BUILD Sherman Park will advance a community-driven process to implement The Blueprint For Peace, Milwaukee’s public health approach to violence prevention. BUILD Sherman Park focuses on empowering Sherman Park’s residents, fostering safe, strong neighborhoods, as well as strengthening capacity, coordination, and collaboration for health and safety.

Alderman Khalif Rainey, Reggie Newson, Mabel Lamb and Nicole Angresano (Photo by Karen Stokes)

Their vision is that as residents increase, access to and utilization of the neighborhood’s natural and built environment, community and health resources, community and government leadership, and healing activities, individual and community resilience will also increase. The result will be a reduction of violence and health inequities.

“We’re [Ascension St. Joseph] an anchor in the Sherman Park and West Burleigh Street community,” said Reggie Newson, Chief Advocacy Officer, Ascension Wisconsin. “Ascension St. Joseph is the community hospital where we provide primary care and special care, we have the biggest emergency department in the state, our intensive care units, our natal care units and prenatal care, it’s the baby hospital.”

Mayor Tom Barrett (Photo by Karen Stokes)

“St. Joseph is committed to providing quality care with outstanding patient experience. We know that 20 percent of the outcome for healthcare comes from clinical care, that’s why we are working hard beyond healthcare. We can upstream to provide a social response to really impact health outcomes in the Greater Milwaukee area. With our partnership we are providing $336,000 of matching support,” Newson added.

“Ascension St. Joe’s has committed $336,000,” said Ald. Khalif Rainey. “They are the definition of a partner for the Sherman Park area and we deeply need them.”

“This is a grant that is going to be built by the members of Sherman Park,” Angresano said. “This is a grant that is going to be driven by and led by folks in this room who live, work and support Sherman Park.”

For more information or to join contact Nicole Angresano at nangresano@ or 414-263-8115