NEWaukeean: Melissa Hendrickson
What is your job and its responsibilities?
I am the Director of Health Services and Lead Pediatric Registered Nurse at Penfield Children’s Center. Penfield Children’s Center is a non-profit organization that helps infants and young children with and without disabilities reach their full potential through education, therapy services and programs. I manage the Special Care Nursery program at Penfield where we provide medical care, therapy services and early education for children ages 0-5 with significant health concerns, developmental delays and medical conditions. In the Nursery, children play, learn and thrive in the company of their peers. A professional team of Penfield specialists works with families to develop a customized plan of medical monitoring, education and therapy designed to advance each child’s development and achieve medical stability.
Was there a point where you decided this was the city you wanted to live in?
I am a person who is very close to my family and friends and could not imagine ever leaving them. Most of the friends I have in Milwaukee I’ve grown up with and have known for up to 26 years! Milwaukee is where my heart is!
What is your favorite Milwaukee event?
As a big Milwaukee Brewer fan I love going to baseball games all summer long. It’s a tradition among my friends and family to get tickets every season! I can’t imagine going a season without having tickets. Everything that goes along with the baseball season I love…the weather, the tailgating, the excitement and of course the team!
What is your favorite Milwaukee beer?
My favorite Milwaukee beer is hands down PBR!
Is there an issue you believe all Milwaukeeans should turn our attention to?
In Milwaukee we aren’t doing enough about infant mortality. Often we hear the media talk about babies dying from co-sleeping but the truth is that nearly 60% of Milwaukee’s infant deaths are due mainly to prematurity (infants born before 37 weeks gestation). Infants born prematurely have a greater risk of medical complications, long-term disabilities and death. Infant mortality is a complex problem that impacts everyone. There isn’t a perfect solution because it’s not just an issue of health care access or health care quality; there are numerous social, economic and racial/ethnic issues that play a role. From 2005-2010, 16 states in the U.S. had a significant decline in infant mortality rates; sadly Wisconsin wasn’t one of them. There are things we can do to help create awareness. You can educate yourself and participate in one of Milwaukee’s Infant Mortality Summits. The City of Milwaukee Health Department has held several summits aimed at reducing Milwaukee’s high infant mortality rate and each year has focused on a different factor that contributes to this high rate. Together we can make a difference!
What do you think of Milwaukee as a place to socialize and play?
I think Milwaukee is a great city to explore and socialize. There are so many restaurants and bars of different varieties that there’s something to fit your every mood. In the summer being outdoors is a must and we are fortunate to live on Lake Michigan and we get to enjoy the beautiful weather and beautiful views. There is definitely something to be said about living on water.