Wisc.edu: Medical Students Work in Milwaukee to ‘TRIUMPH’ Over Health Problems


This story was originally featured on the wisc.edu site.

In a central Milwaukee neighborhood landmarked by Jake’s Deli and the Northside YMCA, transformations are taking place.

Lots that once held broken glass and weeds blossom with gardens and hoop houses. A notorious drug den now houses a nonprofit neighborhood center called the Walnut Way Conservation Corp.

It’s here that third- and fourth-year University of Wisconsin—Madison medical students enrolled in Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) are undergoing their own transformations. The neighborhood is their classroom, and their efforts target broad public health goals: promote health equity, reduce infant mortality and gun violence, increase nutrition and exercise, increase immunization rates, and prepare for careers as community-engaged physicians.

Presenting her project at Walnut Way recently to UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, Ripp said that by reaching out to neighborhood groups and other organizations, such as the Wisconsin Bike Fed, they were able to launch a two-week summer bike camp to teach school-age children and their families safe ways to use bicycles for transportation.  Other TRIUMPH students presented a range of projects that reach into the community. Ripp said the experience was unlike any previous part of her medical education. Her fellow students echoed the theme that what they were learning in TRIUMPH could not happen in a classroom.

UW medical student Ray Garcia (left) talks about his work on an HIV peer mentoring program at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center. Photo by Bryce Richter.

It’s a question that the medical community is watching closely. TRIUMPH partners, such as Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, are contributing to the efforts and watching the effects of projects that aim to address the root causes of health problems.

By: Lee Sensenbrenner/ January 25, 2016