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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Mike and Amy Lovell named community leaders of the year

President Lovell started the SWIM initiative for Milwaukee. Marquette Wire stock photo

University President Michael Lovell and his wife Amy were recently recognized by BizTimes Milwaukee as community leaders for their work with trauma, whether it be founding Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee or raising awareness for childhood trauma through events at Fiserv Forum.

President Lovell said he first became aware of the need to address trauma in late 2017.

At a community forum we hosted at Marquette, a panel of experts spoke about how the root cause of the most pressing challenges facing Milwaukee — health disparities, violence, poverty — was generational trauma,” President Lovell said in an email.

Stephen Saunders, professor and chair of the psychology department at Marquette, said the types of trauma the Lovells are working against are complex.

This is everyday, chronic trauma,” Saunders said. “These are situations that families have to deal with moment to moment, that forces them to ask questions like, ‘How am I going to feed myself and my family?’”

Maredithe Meyer, the reporter for BizTimes who wrote the article and an alumna of Marquette’s Class of 2017, said she was inspired by the Lovells’ passion for their initiative against trauma.

“Getting to talk to (President Lovell) brought it all home and I’m very proud of what Marquette stands for in the community,” Meyer said.

Meyer said BizTimes wanted to choose someone whose work has impacted the workforce and relates to business.

“Trauma is at the root of a lot of Milwaukee’s issues,” Meyer said.

Saunders said some of the reasons why systems of trauma are more commonplace in Milwaukee is due to higher levels of poverty, chronic racism and high levels of incarceration — especially of black males.

“This causes families to be split up, and creates a lack of opportunities for victims to cope with this trauma,” Saunders said.

After expressing his gratitude for the recognition from BizTimes, Lovell quickly turned the attention to Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee, where he heads the steering committee. 

SWIM is a “collaboration within the human services, healthcare, educational and criminal justice sectors that is bringing Wisconsin to the forefront of the trauma-informed care movement,” according to the SWIM website. 

“We share in celebrating this award with everyone in the community who has come together through SWIM,” President Lovell said in an email.

Saunders said the work done by the Lovells proves that systemic trauma can be treated. 

Amy Lovell was named a community leader of the year.

“SWIM takes what we know works,” Saunders said. “It scales these services upward and makes resources like counseling, food security and educational opportunities more available by working with all these other organizations.”

President Lovell said there are over 140 organizations that participate in SWIM.

Amy Lovell said SWIM’s work on trauma stems from the foundation of the Jesuit faith tradition.

“I cannot think of a cause more rooted in our Ignatian mission,” Amy Lovell said. “Awareness is fundamental to bringing people together toward our common goal of healing.”

Saunders said he is amazed by the growth of the trauma initiative.

“I’m delighted that Marquette is going from simple laboratory demonstrations to actually transferring what we know and actually trying to make a difference in the community,” Saunders said.

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