Community connections are so important at urban research universities, and we are making excellent progress on one of our most important new connections: the UWM School of Public Health.
A very visible sign of the progress will be seen in the coming months at 1240 N. 10th St., in the block between Juneau Avenue and Winnebago Street and just a few blocks from our important partners at Aurora Sinai Medical Center. The 10th Street structure, formerly known as Pabst Brewery Building 7, will be undergoing a transformation to become the new home for our School of Public Health. Next to the current 33,000-square-foot building we will be creating a 23,000- square-foot addition, with construction scheduled to begin in May. The entire facility should be open in Fall 2012.
While the building will be significant, what takes place inside it will be even more important. It will be the home for educators and researchers looking into the health challenges present in urban areas in general and in Milwaukee in particular.
Specifically, researchers will explore ways in which they can strengthen the health of the community while people are still healthy rather than waiting to treat people when illness or disease has set in. Addressing health issues before they become problems is the distinguishing difference between the study of public health and that of clinical medicine (what doctors and nurses do to treat patients).
We will be sharing the facility with other community partners, including the City of Milwaukee’s Health Department.
Another important objective of the UWM School of Public Health, which is being led by Acting Dean Stephen L. Percy, will be to train the next generation of public health workers. It is especially important to this state that UWM, in particular, train future public health workers. That is because 93 percent of recent UWM graduates are still living in Wisconsin.
Already, we have students enrolled in our public health academic programs. While their numbers to date are small, they represent a growing emphasis UWM has on health care-related research and education. The UWM College of Nursing is the largest nursing school in Wisconsin and operates two Community Nursing Centers. The UWM College of Health Sciences offers the largest number of health-related degree programs. These two colleges combined are currently educating more than 3,500 individuals.
Helping UWM with the community connections that will create the facility for the School of Public Health will be our UWM Real Estate Foundation along with The Brewery Project LLC, an organization created by the late philanthropist Joseph J. Zilber to redevelop the former Pabst Brewery.
UWM looks forward to keeping this project on track and having an even stronger influence on the health of Milwaukee.