MCW’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment awards $158,000 to combat sex trafficking among youth

April 21, 2014

The Medical College of Wisconsin’s (MCW) Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment awarded $158,000 over two years to the Proactive Outreach for the Health of Sexually Exploited Youth (POHSEY) project through the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program (HWPP).

Wraparound Milwaukee, a unique system of care for children with serious emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs and their families, is the lead community partner on the project. The goal of the POHSEY project is to improve the identification and treatment of youth who are at-risk for or are victims of sex trafficking.

The law defines involving a child in a commercial sex act or sexually explicit performance as human trafficking. Last year, the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission released a report estimating that, over a two-year period, 77 children were identified as victims of sex trafficking in Milwaukee. The landmark report put a number on the problem for the first time. However, because the report only included youth who had police contact, the partners on this project believe that many more youth are actually affected in Milwaukee.

Academic partner Wendi Ehrman, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at MCW and a specialist in adolescent medicine at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, in collaboration with the Milwaukee Adolescent Health Program, Wraparound Milwaukee, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and Rethink Resources, will investigate common risk factors for sex trafficking that can be used to identify youth in need of intervention and services, such as physical and mental health care.

Studies indicate that the information collected by health care providers and the juvenile justice system contains many known factors for evaluating the risk of commercial sexual exploitation. The goal of this project is to use data from Milwaukee’s juvenile justice system and other system agencies to create a new method for identifying those youth who have experienced sex trafficking or who are at risk for being victimized.

HWPP has awarded a total of $2.3 million as part of its ninth funding cycle. POHSEY is one of nine project awards by HWPP in 2013 to partnerships between academics and community health and non-profit organizations for urban, rural and statewide health improvement projects in Wisconsin. HWPP is a component of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) endowment, a fund stewarded by MCW with the mission of serving as a catalyst for positive change in the health of Wisconsin communities.

Community Watch

» Anodyne Coffee plans to open location in Wauwatosa Village Updated:  7/29

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Menomonee Falls baseball virtuoso Ty Weber and Big Ten Media Day Updated:  7/29

» Wauwatosa West girls basketball coach Ashley Imperiale resigns 7/26

» Store owners, police weigh in on string of protests at Mayfair mall Updated:  7/26

» Tosa police will not release squad video of officer-involved shooting Updated:  7/25

» Wauwatosa school district files lawsuit against WIAA over conference realignment Updated:  7/25

» Protest over fatal shooting forces brief closure of Mayfair Mall 7/23

» Reports into fatal Wauwatosa police shooting delivered to DA 7/22

» Social media story on the storms rolling through Milwaukee area 7/21

» Business Spotlight: Cranky Al's has grown from desperation to a Wauwatosa institution Updated:  7/20

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Wisconsin Badgers football, WIFCA All-Star game 7/20

» Michaelis leads Wauwatosa East past rival West in regional 7/20

» Milwaukee County Chargers earn overtime win over Muskego 7/20

» Activists push DA for disclosure on police killing in Wauwatosa 7/19

» Video: How a Pokémon Go newbie experienced the craze playing in Wauwatosa Updated:  7/19

» Tosa police, firefighters celebrated during First Responders Fest 7/18

» Ray's Wine & Spirits in Tosa celebrates 55 years with public party 7/15

» Wauwatosa's Relay for Life event slated for July 22 7/14

» Wauwatosa Mayor Kathy Ehley receives award for business leadership 7/14

» Video: Mayfair Collection's Bartolotta restaurants billed as 'triple threat' Updated:  7/14

» Bus rapid transit route clears two hurdles 7/13

» A look at the French restaurant Cafe Grace, opening Tuesday in Wauwatosa 7/13

» Wauwatosa West baseball team drops four of last five games 7/12

» Wauwatosa East baseball team falls to Marquette in Greater Metro semifinals 7/12

» Coalition for Justice, Black Lives Matter protest in Milwaukee, Tosa Updated:  7/12

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Best Summer Ever


We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.



Hidden Tosa


"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where our Wauwatosa reporter explores the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.