Please Let Us Help You

Illustration by Daniel Downey. Mary Gilpin pulls a sheaf of papers out of a manila file folder, just one of many containing client records from the Women’s Support Center on West Wisconsin Avenue. At the top-left corner of each page, either Gilpin or one of the center’s volunteers has written with a ballpoint pen “SAVED” or “NOT SAVED.” This refers to whether the woman, to the knowledge of the center’s staff, is planning to seek an abortion or not. Other records track whether these women, stopping by for free pregnancy testing, baby supplies or an ultrasound, are “considering” the procedure,…

Condoms for All and All for Safe Sex

photo by Nixx Photography/Shutterstock By Carolyn Kott Washburne   It’s heartening when Milwaukee gets named to positive top 10 lists: best places for singles (Kiplinger), best cities for recent college graduates (CreditDonkey). It’s quite disheartening when our city gets named to not-so-positive top 10 lists. Since 2002, Milwaukee has been one of the top three cities in the nation for chlamydia rates and in the top five for gonorrhea. What’s more, in 2012, Milwaukee made up 47 percent of the new sexually transmitted infection (STI) cases in Wisconsin. And 67.7 percent of new STI cases in Milwaukee were among people…

The Brain Trust

Illustration by Daniel Fishel By Joan Elovitz Kazan In 2011, after being diagnosed with multiple system atrophy – a rare neurodegenerative disorder that affects the nervous system and movement – and suffering from Parkinson’s disease for years, Robbie Miller and her husband, Darrell, reached the decision to donate her brain to science after her death. “We decided, as a family, 100 percent that it was the right thing to do,” he says. Robbie’s doctor, Dr. Paul Nausieda, told them about his research at the Parkinson Research Institute (PRI) in Milwaukee and about the institute’s brain-donation program. “Dr. Nausieda talked to us…

The Doctor Will Write You Now

Photo of The office of a creative entrepreneur / Modern creative workspace by Eduard Bonnin/Shutterstock Thanks to the computerization of medical records, the illegible scrawl of your doctor is mostly a thing of the past. Soon to be gone, too, might be the misunderstandings some patients have after they leave the doctor’s office – thanks to an initiative called OpenNotes. Pioneered in Wisconsin by the Columbia St. Mary’s health care system, OpenNotes allows patients round-the-clock access to important medical information. That includes doctors’ observations, diagnoses, prognoses, instructions, test results, prescriptions, next steps and email communications. Patients access their files through a secure,…

One for the Little Guys

Illustration by Elizabeth Baddeley Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, has surprised many with its explanations of why lopsided conflicts can often result in victory for the “little guy.” Gladwell’s conclusions are nothing new for Bob De Vita. “I’ve been an underdog in a lot of situations,” says De Vita, chief executive officer of the new Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, who has 40 years of experience in the health care field. “Underdogs learn how to win.” De Vita’s cooperative is one of 24 nonprofit companies nationwide that received federal funding –…