Jeanette Kowalik, associate director of women’s and infant health at the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), was named yesterday as health commissioner for the city of Milwaukee.
The city’s Common Council voted 14-0 to confirm Mayor Tom Barrett’s nomination of Kowalik, a respected veteran in public health who is returning to her home town to head an agency where she once worked.
“Although we are sad to lose Jeanette, we are thrilled for her and the city of Milwaukee,” said AMCHP Interim CEO Barbara Laur. “The people of Milwaukee are getting a strong team leader and advocate for children and families.”
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to return home to serve in this capacity,” Kowalik said. “Years ago, the Milwaukee Health Department is where I discovered my passion for public health, specifically MCH. I’m committed to moving the department forward. I’m extremely appreciative for the opportunity to work for AMCHP.”
Kowalik joined AMCHP in 2016, bringing more than a decade of progressive public health experience. She began her career as an intern at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Milwaukee in health care administration, obtained a master of public health degree from the Northern Illinois University, and earned her doctorate in health sciences at UW-Milwaukee. She has worked for the Milwaukee Health Department, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, as director of STI Surveillance in Chicago, and director of Prevention and Campus Health Initiatives at UWMadison.
During hearings before the council on Tuesday, Kowalik listed her priorities as combating the lead crisis, reducing infant mortality, lowering sexually transmitted infection rates, reducing racial disparities, and improving staff morale, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.