Ascension St. Joseph Campus – community engagement making positive progress

August 23, 2018

Ascension Wisconsin hosted a meeting on August 6, 2018 to discuss the future of Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital – St. Joseph Campus with neighborhood and community members, faith leaders, representatives from various community health and social services agencies, elected officials and potential partners. The meeting is part of a process Ascension Wisconsin has developed to find the right mix of services that will sustain Ascension St. Joseph for generations to come while improving the health of the community it is privileged to serve.

Reggie Newson, Chief Advocacy Officer, Ascension Wisconsin, told the group, “Ascension Wisconsin’s vision is to make the Sherman Park and West Burleigh neighborhoods the healthiest in the state. St. Joe’s is a vital access point for the community and we want to expand the impact of St. Joe’s by combining traditional medical services with compatible social services that will help us accomplish this.”

Input from the community is important to Ascension Wisconsin as it gathers ideas and suggestions for expanding services at St. Joe’s. Kenneth Munson, CEO of Community Care, Inc. attended the meeting. He said he has both a personal and professional interest in a successful Ascension St. Joseph. Munson washed dishes in the kitchen at St. Joe’s in his youth and now hopes Community Care, which serves adults age 55 and older who have physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities, will be able to work with St. Joe’s to help this vulnerable population. “I was very encouraged by this initial meeting and impressed by the wide range of representation of the attendees and the commitment to the community on the part of Ascension Wisconsin,” said Munson.

Newson said there is no deadline for this process, but expects to continue conversations and explore potential partnerships for the next six to nine months. He said it’s important for the community to know that core services will continue at the Ascension St. Joseph Campus such as, acute care inpatient beds, ICU, surgery, emergency medicine, OB/GYN, Women’s Health and the NICU.

“In addition to those core services, we’re looking to expand primary care on campus and exploring ideas to partner with others to provide additional services, such as long-term care, multi-generational and multi-income housing, education, job training, transportation and healthy foods. We understand healthcare is important but it’s just one part of making this neighborhood as healthy as it can be,” he said.

Some studies show that healthcare accounts for only 20 percent of a person’s overall health. The remaining 80 percent is dependent on their socioeconomic, physical environment and health behaviors such as diet, tobacco and alcohol use. Innovative health systems across the country are finding ways to address these broader issues to improve the overall health of their communities.

While healthcare providers are prepared to restore health when a patient visits their healthcare facilities, population health is created through social, economic and environmental factors as well as human behaviors. These social determinants of health ultimately impact the community’s health outcomes. Exploring expansion of services that address these issues is a key contributor to establishing a sustainable Ascension St. Joseph Campus.

This week, experts on transforming healthcare facilities, working with Ascension Wisconsin, will begin in-depth interviews with community members to gather their thoughts and suggestions and help identify potential partners to make Milwaukee healthier.

If you have ideas or represent an organization that may wish to partner with Ascension St. Joseph Campus, please contact Reggie Newson, Chief Advocacy Officer, Ascension Wisconsin, at (414) 465-3435 or