Ald. Chantia Lewis
Press Release

Council Committee strongly backs creation of city Board of Health

The full Common Council is scheduled to take action on the legislation when it meets on Tuesday, February 5 at 9 a.m. in the third floor Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.

By - Jan 24th, 2019 04:44 pm

The Public Safety and Health Committee today unanimously recommended for approval legislation creating a Board of Health to play a multifaceted role in helping to promote, protect and improve the health and wellbeing of Milwaukee residents.

The measure to create the Board of Health – recommended for approval today in Common Council File #180919, an ordinance authored by Alderwoman Chantia Lewis – states that the nine-member Board would be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council.

The full Common Council is scheduled to take action on the legislation when it meets on Tuesday, February 5 at 9 a.m. in the third floor Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.

“The Board of Health would function as a partner with the Mayor and Common Council in working to improve overall public health by ensuring a constant flow of information and a dogged focus on key health issues,” said Ald. Lewis. “This effort and focus will allow the Council to allocate resources for MHD programming and other services to citizens where needed.”

“I firmly believe that the Board of Health will help all of us achieve a much healthier Milwaukee for our children and grandchildren,” said Ald. Lewis.

Mayor Tom Barrett said he is pleased by the committee’s action and should the measure pass at Council on February 5, he will be encouraging city residents who want to serve on the Board of Health to apply.

“I’m pleased with the progress Commissioner Kowalik and the Health Department have made since her appointment. The creation of a Board of Health is another step toward a highperforming and community-engaged Health Department. I appreciate Ald. Lewis’ action to create the board and her support of Commissioner Kowalik,” Mayor Barrett said.

Dr. Jeanette Kowalik, Commissioner of Health, said she is “elated” that the Board of Health could become a reality in 2019. “Thanks to Alderwoman Lewis and Mayor Barrett as well as several other Alders for supporting this investment in the City of Milwaukee,” she said. According to the ordinance, the Board would:

  • Assure the enforcement of state public health statutes and public health rules of the state Department of Health Services as prescribed for a level III local health department.
  • Assure the Health Department operates as a level III local health department as defined by the state.
  • Report to the state Department of Health Services as required.  Meet at least quarterly.
  • Assess public health needs and advocate for the provision of reasonable and necessary public health services.
  • Develop policy and provide leadership that fosters local involvement and commitment, that emphasizes public health needs and that advocates for equitable distribution of public health resources and complementary private activities commensurate with public health needs.
  • Assure that measures are taken to provide an environment in which individuals can be healthy.

The February 5 Council meeting will be televised live on the City Channel (Channel 25 on Spectrum Cable and on AT&T U-Verse Channel 99) in the City of Milwaukee. It can also be viewed via streaming video on the City website at milwaukee.gov/Channel25.

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