Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

Taking Action! Milwaukee’s Efforts to Reduce Teen Birth Rates

Friday, June 21, 2013

The County Health Rankings model includes teen birth rates because they are so strongly tied to lower levels of educational attainment and cyclical poverty—two factors we know negatively impact health.

The city of Milwaukee once had the second highest percentage of teen births in the nation, however innovative work by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee seeks to change that. In 2005, the city’s teen birth rate represented nearly 19 percent of all births citywide. The following year, the city’s United Way chapter launched a ten-year Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative.  Three years later, this initiative spurred a communitywide goal of reducing teen birth rates for girls age 15 to 17 by 46% by 2015.

While cutting the birth rate by nearly half was an ambitious goal, Milwaukee has had five consecutive years of declining teen birth rates and is on pace to meet its goal.

How has Milwaukee made such a dramatic transformation? The Rankings & Roadmaps  webinar on June 20, 2013 featuring Nicole Angresano, Vice President of Community Impact for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, sheds light on their efforts and its impact on their community.

Angresano believes “we owe it to our young people to introduce strong, bold, messages and programs that help them make better choices about their sexual health.”

In addition to grant making and educating youth and communities, the initiative works to bring multi-sectorial leaders, representing business, government, education, health care, the faith based community, law enforcement, and nonprofits to the table. Angresano credits much of the initiative’s success to having strong relationships.