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City of Milwaukee Health Department launches MKE Elevate community health improvement plan

Multi-agency plan calls for focus on community-selected health priorities and goals for collaborative action

MILWAUKEE – Today, the City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) and partners have released the city’s first community-driven health improvement plan. Called MKE Elevate, the five-year plan identifies 24 objectives and 89 strategies for the MHD and its partners to support and expand work in three priority areas identified by residents, agencies, and organizations as the most pressing issues affecting health outcomes citywide.

“We have made significant progress in key areas, but the disparities in health outcomes in Milwaukee remain far too great,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “That is why this plan focuses on the major factors that are driving health disparities, and calls for partners citywide to identify how they can support this work. We cannot just be satisfied when people beat the odds. We have to work to change the odds so that every member of our community will have an equal opportunity to be healthy.”

Developed through an extensive process to assess the health of residents citywide and hear directly from residents, agencies, and organizations, MKE Elevate seeks to support safer and healthier neighborhoods by aligning existing work and identifying new strategies around economic security, a fair and inclusive society, and positive mental health.

Within these three priority areas, MKE Elevate identifies strategies around key issues, such as access to healthy food, safe housing, quality education, employment, and more – issues often called the social determinants of health – because of the significant impact these factors have on influencing health outcomes.

“Most often, we think of good health as a result of individual behaviors and access to medical care,” said Bevan K. Baker, Commissioner of Health. “And while these are important factors, the majority of what affects health outcomes are the social and economic environments in which we live. To create lasting improvements in the health of Milwaukee residents, we must collectively and collaboratively address these factors.”

MKE Elevate complements and builds on other plans, initiatives, and coalitions already in place to improve the health of Milwaukee residents. As such, it will be a living document, used as a guide for MKE Elevate Action Teams who will identify measures of success and collaboratively identify areas in which they can influence policies to improve health citywide.

To officially launch the MKE Elevate plan and begin forming Action Teams to address the community-identified priority areas, the MHD and community partners will be meeting today from 4-6 p.m. at Hillside Terrace Family Resource Center (1452 N. 7th St., Milwaukee).

To view the plan or join the MKE Elevate movement, visit



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