It may seem like Reach Out and Read (ROR) Wisconsin operates on its own, but we are actually part of a larger policy and advocacy group called the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin (Alliance). The Alliance provides a home for ROR Wisconsin by providing financial, administrative and graphic design support. The Alliance’s goals are to raise awareness for children’s health, mobilize leaders, impact public health and implement programs proven to work. To accomplish this, the Alliance oversees seven initiatives:
- Early Literacy (ROR Wisconsin)
- Emergency Care
- Grief and Bereavement
- Injury Prevention and Death Review
- Medical Home
- Oral Health
These initiatives work together to spread awareness, foster collaboration between key partners, influence legislation and implement effective programs and coalitions that lead to better outcomes for kids across the state. Here are some notable accomplishments from the past year:
Asthma: The Wisconsin Asthma Coalition (WAC) conducts walkthroughs to identify asthma triggers and provide low to no-cost recommendations to reduce or eliminate triggers. This year, Asthma staff completed walkthroughs in 14 schools and 15 child care centers in five different counties. Additionally, staff worked with YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care quality rating program, to better align their environmental standards with WAC’s guidelines. These efforts, and many others, will continue into the 2018-19 school year.
Emergency Medical Services for Children: The Emergency Medical Services for Children Program (EMSC) has partnered with 14 emergency departments to improve their pediatric readiness. Over the next two years, the emergency departments will use a quality improvement frame work to improve pediatric emergency care safety and quality. The following emergency departments are participating:
- Crossing Rivers Health – Crawford County
- Memorial Medical Center – Ashland
- Sauk Prairie Healthcare – Prairie du Sac
- Southwest Health Center – Platteville
- Mile Bluff Medical Center – Mauston
- Divine Savior Healthcare – Portage
- UnityPoint Health – Meriter – Madison
- Howard Young Medical Center – Woodruff
- Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – Franklin Hospital
- Waupun Memorial Hospital
- Mercyhealth Hospital and Medical Center – Walworth
- Mercyhealth System and Trauma Center – Janesville
- Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center
- Marshfield Medical Center
- EMSC also provided two pediatric specific education sessions for pre-hospital providers in Door and Oneida counties. A total of 46 emergency care providers were trained at the March 24 and May 10 sessions.
Infant Death Center: The Infant Death Center (IDC) gave two presentations on addressing the unique bereavement needs of mothers experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. The first presentation was at the southeastern Wisconsin Prenatal Care Coordination Partnership (PNCC), a diverse group of agencies and medical providers who offer the PNCC Medicaid benefit to women in the southeastern portion of Wisconsin. The IDC also presented to a group of home visiting nurses at the Southside Health Center in Milwaukee.
Injury Prevention and Death Review: In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Injury Prevention and Death Review staff facilitated the Keeping Kids Alive in Wisconsin Conference on April 17-18 at the Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center in Oshkosh. More than 100 local child death review (CDR) and fetal infant mortality review (FIMR) team members attended to explore trends in child death and learn about best practice prevention strategies. The Clark County CDR team was awarded the annual William Perloff Keeping Kids Alive in Wisconsin Award for successfully implementing prevention activities in their community through data collection and death reviews.
Medical Home: Medical homes are characterized by trusting partnerships between families, children and their health care teams. Children who receive care within a medical home may have improved health outcomes and families are more satisfied with such care. The Medical Home initiative works to ensure more Wisconsin children are served within medical homes by guiding, educating, and partnering with health care teams and families. Over the last year, Medical Home staff have completed 18 trainings in 11 counties, reaching 154 attendees, including 51 clinicians. The trainings discussed developmental screening within child well-care, pediatric mental health screening and other key resources.
Oral Health: On June 21, 2017, Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 146. This new law allows dental hygienists to practice with fewer restrictions and in more settings including nursing homes, hospitals, day care centers and physicians’ offices. The Oral Health team actively supported the bill in order to expand access to oral services statewide.
Reach Out and Read Wisconsin: Over the past year, 20 clinics launched new ROR programs. There are now more than 215 ROR programs in Wisconsin! This growth will continue into 2019 as two health systems, SSM Health Dean Medical Group and ThedaCare Physicians, are planning to make ROR a standard of pediatric care by providing ROR in all of their Wisconsin clinics. They join 10 health systems already implementing ROR within all of their Wisconsin clinics; Access Community Health Centers, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, Milwaukee Health Services, NorthLakes Community Clinic, Progressive Community Health Centers, Vernon Memorial Healthcare, UW Health, Watertown Regional Medical Center and Wildwood Family Clinic.
The Alliance’s graphic design and communication team supports all of the initiatives’ work with newsletters, conference materials, social media campaigns, promotional items and annual reports. They also manage the Alliance website, which will be getting a major update in the coming months.
If you would like to support the Alliance’s work to improve children’s health, please visit our website or consider making a donation.