Over 500 Attend MSMC-Sponsored Summit on Poverty

The Medical Society of Milwaukee County (MSMC) brought author and researcher Kathryn J. Edin to Milwaukee for the Social Development Commission Summit on Poverty September 6 in Milwaukee.

Edin, author of $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, is one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers, working in the domains of welfare and low-wage work, family life and neighborhood contexts. A qualitative and mixed-method researcher, she has taken on key mysteries about the urban poor that have not been fully answered by quantitative work: How do single mothers possibly survive on welfare? Why don’t more go to work? Where are the fathers and why do they disengage from their children’s lives?

“All the people in this book wanted was a chance to belong, dignity and social incorporation. Everyone wants to feel of value,” Edin said during her keynote talk. “Whenever you think about what to do next ask yourself, ‘does this incorporate the poor or separate them?’ That lack of eye contact is showing that person that they are worthless. Rather, that they are worthy. When you treat people in affirming ways you help them function with forward making decisions. It starts with dignity.”

More than 500 people attended the summit Sept. 6 and 7, including MSMC President Andrew Kastenmeier, MD, who introduced Edin.

“Stories like these are all too common across America and here in Milwaukee,” said Dr. Kastenmeier. “Access to affordable, healthy food and access to adequate living conditions are just two examples of how your social environment impacts your health. If we want a healthy Milwaukee, we need to address these issues.

“We believe physicians can help lead this initiative, and the Medical Society of Milwaukee has committed our resources for the coming years to impacting social determinants of health,” he added.

MSMC served as the Premier Partner for the event and also sponsored two breakout sessions on prescription drug abuse prevention led by Jillian Theobald, MD, Froedtert Hospital Emergency Department.

Medical Society of Milwaukee County
P.O. Box 13114, Milwaukee, WI 53213
Phone: 920-560-5637

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