Member updates. Recent research. Event recaps and photos. 
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2015 4th Quarter Newsletter
President's Message

Rob photo
With the close of another year, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the Forum's research accomplishments in 2015 and preview some of the topics we'll be pursuing in the new year. In terms of research volume, the past year was an unqualified success. We published 21 reports, which is one of our highest totals in recent memory. But while volume is nice, quality and impact are even more important, as emphasized in our 2014 strategic plan...

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Top five research findings of 2015 

This year's list includes findings on bus rapid transit, municipal marijuana policy, philanthropic support for the arts and more.
2015... by the numbers

The Forum is a data-driven organization, so it's only appropriate that we share some of our metrics from 2015.

21......... # of research reports published
48......... # of blog posts
54......... # of presentations to government and civic bodies
111....... # of media hits
274....... # of member organizations
1,135... # of followers on social media
1,467... # of event attendees
Milwaukee Educator Series

In October, we released the second report in our three-part Milwaukee Educator Series: an analysis of principals and district leaders in the four-county metro area, which looked at overall numbers as well as characteristics such as race, education attainment, and years of experience. The first report, Taking Attendance, provided a similar look at the characteristics of teachers in the region. The final report, to be published in early 2016, will focus on the teacher pipeline to determine if Metro Milwaukee is facing a shortage of teachers in the near future.

Read the research and media coverage

Expanding behavioral health outpatient capacity 

Our October report analyzing the availability of outpatient behavioral health services in Milwaukee County - co-authored with two national behavioral health consultants - continues to generate action from key stakeholders. Private health care leaders are considering an action plan to coordinate implementation of report recommendations, while the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is working on several recommendations on its own. Also, we presented the report to the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board in mid-December and heard that County leaders also plan to pursue several of the report's recommendations.

Read the report and media coverage 
Assessing the impacts of North Shore Fire consolidation

It's rare that the Forum gets to share a stage with an advisor to a U.S. president, but that was the case in early October. Forum President Rob Henken presented our report on North Shore Fire Department consolidation at a gala dinner celebrating the department's 20th anniversary. That dinner featured David Axelrod, former Senior Advisor to President Obama, as the keynote speaker. The NSFD report documented huge savings and enhanced services for North Shore residents as a direct result of consolidation. Intergovernmental service sharing is the program topic at our January 13 annual meeting and we recently launched a new research project exploring enhanced service sharing opportunities among the Milwaukee Public Schools, City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County. 

Read the report and media coverage

In case you missed it...

The Forum released several other research reports in the fourth quarter, including:

Justice system leaders discuss relationship with mental health system

More than half of the nearly 11,000 admissions to Milwaukee County's psychiatric crisis service in 2014 involved an emergency detention by police. In addition, a recent analysis identified 85 "heavy users" who were brought in by police at least five times over a recent one-year period and whose treatment costs totaled nearly $5 million. A panel of justice system leaders discussed these challenges and more at a Viewpoint Luncheon on October 26. 

New members

The Forum is a membership organization, and our members are what have kept us a vital part of the community for more than 100 years. We'd like to welcome the following new members to the Public Policy Forum community:

Cardinal Capital
Medical Society of Milwaukee County
Milwaukee Bucks
Sixteenth Street Community Health Center
Jamie Gunn
Lisa Boyd
MaryNell Regan
Upcoming events

2016 Annual Meeting
Wednesday, January 13, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
The Wisconsin Club, 900 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

Milwaukee County Executive Debate
Monday, February 22, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Italian Conference Center, Milwaukee
Registration will open in January