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May 23, 2023

Milwaukee County Wins Five 2023 NACo Achievement Awards
Awarded for Mental Health Emergency Center, Credible Messenger Program, Electronic Patient Care Records System, Strategy Dashboard, and Parks Foundation

MILWAUKEE, WI – The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently announced the 2023 Achievement Awards and recognized five Milwaukee County programs. The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. 

“It’s an honor to have the work of Milwaukee County’s changemakers recognized by the National Association of Counties. We are committed to moving resources upstream and transforming county government into an organization dedicated to achieving race and health equity,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Over the past three years, we’ve leaned on our values of transparency, accountability, and accessibility to implement a strategic plan that meets the wholistic needs of all our residents.”

Each year, NACo’s Achievement Awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and more. Launched in 1970, the program is designed to recognize innovation in county government. 

“The Achievement Awards demonstrate excellence in county government and the commitment to serve our residents every day,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey. “This year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and collaborative efforts we have seen in over 50 years of presenting these awards."

This year, Milwaukee County submitted five programs for recognition: Mental Health Emergency Center; Milwaukee County Credible Messenger Program; Milwaukee County Electronic Patient Care Records System; Milwaukee County Strategy Dashboard; and Milwaukee Parks Foundation – receiving awards for all five submissions. 

“The Office of Strategy, Budget, and Performance is thrilled to see all five of our submissions win National Achievement Awards. Our three performance managers worked exceptionally hard to ensure the county’s hard work was recognized nationally,” said Joe Lamers, Director of the Office of Strategy, Budget and Performance. “This is truly a county-wide victory as we all work to identify creative and innovative solutions to meet community needs and set up residents for long-term success.” 

Background on the Milwaukee County program’s receiving achievement awards: 

Mental Health Emergency Center 

  • In September of 2022, Milwaukee County celebrated the opening of the new Mental Health Emergency Center, a Joint Venture between Milwaukee County and the area’s four health systems, Advocate Aurora Health, Ascension, Children’s Wisconsin, and Froedtert Health. The unprecedented public-private partnership has resulted in significant investments in mental health services for adults, adolescents, and children.
  • The Center serves as a key component in the redesign of a continuum of other community-based mental health service enhancements including expanded mobile crisis services, new Federal Qualified Health Center-based walk-in Access Centers, expanded Crisis Resource Centers, and new centrally located outpatient services for youth.
  • The new Mental Health Emergency Center is a major achievement for Milwaukee County and the health systems in providing holistic, decriminalized, destigmatized, and equitable mental health care. Learn more about the emergency center here

Milwaukee County Strategy Dashboard

  • Milwaukee County is committed to achieving racial equity and driving change to become the healthiest County in Wisconsin. In 2020, the county launched the strategy dashboard to promote transparency and accountability as it implemented the first strategic plan in 20 years to focus on race and health equity. 
  • In the last three years, the dashboard has been updated with datasets tracking county institutional practices, community living conditions, and residential health outcomes.  
  • Learn more about the dashboard here

Milwaukee County Credible Messengers Program 

  • A community-based approach to youth justice that focuses on transformative mentoring and restorative justice in action. The Credible Messenger program deploys individuals from five community-based organizations who have been trained through the Professional Community Intervention Training Institute.
  • The Credible Messengers have shared life experience with the youth they are mentoring and focus on an Intervention or Prevention Track supporting justice-involved youth or young people identified as high riskby the community. 
  • Over 75 percent of youth participating in the program do not recidivate. 
  • Learn more about the Credible Messenger Program in the 2022 DHHS Annual Report.

Milwaukee Parks Foundation 

  • Milwaukee Parks Foundation engages our community in supporting Milwaukee County Parks to collectively steward a thriving park system. To ensure a vibrant park system for all, The Foundation’s growing membership program offers giving options to everyone and brings together the community and its resources.
  • The Foundation is similar to foundations throughout the country that support urban park systems. Learn more about how you can get involved with the newly established Milwaukee Parks Foundation.
  • Learn more about the Milwaukee Parks Foundation here

Milwaukee County Electronic Patient Care Records (ePCR) System 

  • Milwaukee County’s ePCR is the first step in creating a database/reporting system, accessible by health care professionals from dispatch to discharge. This project is the first step in a future state of emergency health care that will allow Milwaukee County to be more equitable in our response to the needs of our patients.  
  • Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management is statutorily charged with the oversite of the 15 EMS services including data collection and analysis. An absence of universal protocol for data entry and consistency across technology and nomenclature led to missing or miscategorized data that could skew the data set.
  • The main objectives of the ePCR system are to 1) reduce data entry errors, 2) use common nomenclature for better analytics, and 3) create operational efficiency to better understand the patient care encounter. 
  • Milwaukee County’s ePCR system is still in the planning stage. County leaders and subject matter experts spent most of 2022 partnering with the 15 local fire and EMS departments to better understand their current data capacity and needs and to enlist their partnership in a universal, county-wide EMS electronic patient care system. 

For more information about NACo’s Achievement Awards, click here.




(414) 278-4211 | fax: (414) 223-1375
Milwaukee County Courthouse, Room 306
901 N. 9th Street | Milwaukee, WI 53233

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