Cream City Medical Society: The history of African Americans in medicine in Milwaukee (part 1)

February 26, 2014

pic of 5 doctors

By: Rene’ Settle-Robinson, D.P.M., Cheryl R. Martin, M.D. (2002), Bernestine Jeffers and Sana Montgomery (2002),
Additions and Revisions by:
Mbili F. Waller (2007), Janine A. James, M.D. (2002 and 2007)
in Health Care: Closing the Gap. Another involvement is The Healthiest Wisconsin 2010: A Partnership Plan to Improve the Health of the Public, a framework for transforming the state health plan for the 21st century. Dr. Juliette Martin and Dr. Wayman Parker have been active in this initiative. A number of CCMS physicians have participated in The 4th Street Forum, a nonpartisan program for public discussion of political and social issues and the exploration of solutions. These are just a small sampling of their numerous professional and volunteer activities

Dr. Wayman Parker and other CCMS physicians are currently involved in operating a free clinic, The C.H. Mason Clinic, on the campus of Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God in Christ, along with their parish nurse, Lisa Neal, RN. and Mbili Waller. Dr. Parker has assumed the leadership role in this initiative, getting it up and running as well as seeing patients. As the clinic patient load increases, more CCMS physicians will be involved on a rotating schedule.

Current CCMS president, Dr. Rene’ Settle-Robinson has been extremely active proudly representing this organization locally and nationally. Her achievements are many. She recently spoke in front of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee to support “Healthy Wisconsin.” A few years ago, she ran for political office, seeking the State Assembly Seat in District 12. She obtain 44% of the vote in the primary. She is a lifetime member of the NAACP and continues to represent health professionals and presenting the health care needs of the people of color. Dr. Natasha Travis, current vice president of CCMS, is actively involved in community outreach. She is an advocate for persons living with HIV/AIDS. She also supports early screening and treatment options for patients with any other disease. She has spearheaded the annual National HIV Testing Day Event, “Take the Test, Take Control.” The CCMS goals for this event are to facilitate increased community awareness of HIV/AIDS, provide free, rapid HIV testing and educational resources. Dr. Travis is an assistant professor, department of medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Kevin Izard (family medicine), assistant professor, Medical College of Wisconsin and Dr. Alicia N. Walker (Walgreen’s, Inc.), our first doctor of pharmacy) serves on the Wisconsin Medicaid Pharmacy Prior Authorization Committee. They have received a commendation from Governor Doyle for their contributions.

CCMS endowed the Dr. Terrance N. Thomas Scholarship Fund to provide support to African American students at the Medical College of Wisconsin. We are greatful to the contributions of the parents of Dr. Terrance Thomas, friends, CCMS members, MCW faculty and staff. Over $100,000 of this scholarship money has come from CCMS fundraising events and the meticulous administration of the Medical College of Wisconsin Foundation. According to Dr. Rene’ Settle-Robinson, “This scholarship fund is the largest single endowed scholarship fund for African American physicians built by an African American medical organization in the country.”

The proceeds from the CCMS 75th anniversary celebration were used to establish the Legacy Scholarship Foundation. These scholarships are for the recognition of students from elementary through graduate school planning to attend medical school.

The CCMS Undergraduate Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee offers students academic, social, moral, and cultural support. The Chapter is set up to make sure students continue to dream; establish and accomplish goals, and to mold their environment. Students are provided with tutoring, mentoring, career services, study sessions, academic accountability, and fellowship with CCMS members, shadowing and volunteer opportunities. There are also preparations for medical school admission, seminars, opportunities to mentor high school students, and various trips.

Cream City Medical Society members, in the shadows of its founders, barriers and limitations not withstanding, continue to march forward in the vanguard of Milwaukee’s medical community, endlessly advocating for the disenfranchised, always striving for the best and looking up towards the unlimited future.

(* = deceased CCMS member)

Written by:
Rene’ Settle-Robinson, D.P.M.
Cheryl R. Martin, M.D. (2002)
Bernestine Jeffers and Sana Montgomery (2002)

Additions and Revisions by:
Mbili F. Waller (2007)
Janine A. James, M.D. (2002 and 2007)