150 Years of Serving Healthy Communities

Aurora Sinai: A Proud Past, a Bright Future

Aurora Sinai Medical Center 150th AnniversaryIn August, Aurora Sinai Medical Center will celebrate its proud heritage at the 150th Anniversary Gala. Your investment in the Aurora Sinai Medical Center Well Community Fund ensures that all patients have access to high-quality care in their moment of greatest need. For more information, visit the Aurora Health Care Foundation website.

Milwaukee/Lutheran Hospital. Mount Sinai Hospital. Evangelical Deaconess Hospital. For 150 years, the roots of these legacy hospitals have been entwined with the history of Milwaukee, serving the most critical health care needs of the community in moments of crisis and celebration.

Throughout the 20th century, these three hospitals merged to form Aurora Sinai Medical Center.

Aurora Sinai Medical Center 150th Anniversary

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Today, Aurora Sinai is the only hospital in downtown Milwaukee, committed to an area once served by over a dozen hospitals.

Nationally recognized for its outstanding quality, Aurora Sinai continues to build a well community every day. In addition to core services, the hospital offers exceptional obstetrics, orthopedics and sports medicine, bariatric medicine, elder care and women's health services.

"Aurora Sinai is a mission-based hospital," says Aurora Sinai president Carolynn Glocka. "It takes a community to work together to create a healthier future."

Caring for the City's Most Critical Challenges

Aurora Sinai Medical Center 150th Anniversary

Reverend William Passavant, founder of Milwaukee Hospital and father of our 150-year legacy

When Reverend William Passavant arrived in Milwaukee in 1863, the emerging city was ravaged by smallpox, tuberculosis and cholera, and overwhelmed by the medical needs of returning Civil War veterans. In response to these growing needs for quality care, Passavant established the Milwaukee Hospital, a 20-bed converted farmhouse on the city’s western frontier.

Today, Aurora Sinai Medical Center continues a 150-year legacy of serving the city's most critical health care needs. While cholera and smallpox have been eradicated, the hospital is now responding to an even greater challenge to our community's future: infant mortality.

Aurora Sinai is a critical resource for mothers and infants to live well. The hospital is home to downtown Milwaukee's only Level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for premature or high-risk infants, providing 24/7 access to maternal-fetal medicine specialists, neonatologists, lactation consultants and midwifery services. The hospital also offers a comprehensive Centering Pregnancy program that offers pre- and postnatal education, support and networking. In partnership with Zeta Phi Beta sorority at Marquette University, Aurora Sinai offers the Stork's Nest incentive program, which provides childbirth and wellness education courses at no charge. The Safe Mom, Safe Baby program empowers and assists survivors of domestic violence in creating safe environments for babies. The hospital also partners with Aurora Family Service to stabilize and strengthen the emotional, spiritual and financial health of Milwaukee families.

"In 2012, 2,600 babies were born at Aurora Sinai. The team cared for over 100 micro-preemies, weighing less than 3 pounds," notes Glocka.

Building Lasting Relationships

Aurora Sinai Medical Center 150th AnniversaryThe Midwifery and Wellness Center at Aurora Sinai has been a forerunner in reducing infant mortality in Milwaukee. With a mission of supporting safe pregnancies and delivering healthy babies, the center has provided personal, educated, competent health care to women for 26 years. It is the largest midwifery clinic in the state of Wisconsin.

The center's 14 midwives provide physical support to laboring mothers, as well as health and wellness education that directly impacts infant mortality rates. The center boasts a 97.2 percent normal birth rate, compared to 91 percent in the city as a whole.

"Three percent may not seem like much," notes Jackie Tillett, certified nurse midwife and manager of the Midwifery and Wellness Center. "But its impact is huge."

"We have about 500 births a year at the midwifery center," Tillett says. "We have no home births, but we try to create a homelike atmosphere in the hospital – with the safety and support from our caregivers."

Tillett credits the improved outcomes to individual case management. Moms-to-be receive personalized, one-on-one coaching and support throughout their pregnancies. They also receive the same extensive prenatal care and diagnostic testing that they would receive from an obstetrician-gynecologist.

This education allows for better use of resources, as well. "When this education is in place, you'll see fewer emergency room visits, because people better understand what's happening during pregnancies," says Tillett.

With this intense case management, women are taught how to recognize the signs of high-risk pregnancy. "We teach women the value of prenatal care," explains Tillett. The center has achieved this not only at Aurora Sinai, but also through outreach programs at neighborhood clinics, schools, and community centers.

The Centering Pregnancy program, which offers pre- and postnatal support and education, is an essential part of care. The program is based on the idea that women can build on each other's knowledge. In addition to having one-on-one visits with certified nurse midwives, patients meet with each other every two weeks to discuss their pregnancies.

"We've found that the women's knowledge really builds on the knowledge of their peers," says Tillett.

"Pregnancy is natural – it's not an illness," says Tillett. She explains that many women want to experience a vaginal birth without epidurals and other heavy painkillers. "Many people don't realize you can have a safe vaginal birth." She notes that the center's cesarean-section rate is lower than average, at 8 percent. (In Milwaukee County in 2010, 23 percent of live births were cesarean births.)

"I feel honored that women choose to come here and have us participate in this very special time in their lives," Tillett says. "Our patients tell us that not only do they feel safe here, but they feel heard, respected and supported. We establish trust and build upon it with every visit."

"With the nurse midwifery method of care, we're building lasting, healthy relationships, which fosters successful pregnancies and births."

Securing a Healthy Future for Milwaukee

Built on a foundation of trust, loyalty and confidence, Aurora Sinai will continue to thrive by educating patients on everyday wellness behaviors, responding to the growing need for primary care services, and offering cutting-edge specialty services.

The hospital also continues a 110-year history of medical education and research. In March 2013, the Aurora Research Institute was launched to centralize research efforts and foster greater clinical collaboration. Through the Institute, Aurora Sinai provides more access to new devices, medications and treatment options than any other health system in Wisconsin. By serving as a learning institution for medical residents, nursing students, and clinical researchers, Aurora Sinai is seeding the future of health care.

"We stand at the heart of downtown Milwaukee," said Carolynn Glocka. "We are fortunate and grateful for our patients, community partners, donors and supporters. It takes a community to work together to create a healthier future. Together, we will continue to deliver on our promises for decades to come."

For more information, visit the Aurora Health Care Foundation website.