The Social Development Commission (SDC), in partnership with the Medical Society of Milwaukee County and a coalition of supporting agencies, will present the SDC Summit on Poverty 2017, Dismantling Systems of Poverty from September 6 to 7.

The SDC Summit on Poverty will be held at Italian Conference Center and is a key collaboration of service providers and subject matter experts such as policy makers, advocates, faith-based and community based organizations.

Imagine living in the United States on two dollars a day, or the only family income came from donating plasma. After two decades of groundbreaking research on poverty, Kathryn J. Edin, co-author of “$2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America,” observed households across this country surviving on virtually no cash income.

According to the New York Times, this is “A remarkable book that could very well change the way we think about poverty in the United States.” The book is co-authored by H. Luke Schaefer, an expert on calculating incomes for the poor.

Edin, whose work turned the world of sociology upside down, was added as a keynote luncheon speaker for the 2017 SDC Summit on Poverty. In addition to her keynote, Edin will be available for a book signing.

“SDC is grateful to the Medical Society of Milwaukee County for their partnership and for bringing Kathryn Edin, one of the nation’s leading researchers on poverty to the summit,” said SDC CEO George Hinton. “The Medical Society of Milwaukee County approached SDC, the largest anti-poverty agency in the state, because we both understand the epidemic of poverty, including the physical and mental health issues that are interconnected with it. Their recognition and desire to help people in poverty, partner with SDC and educate the community, exemplifies both their leadership on health in the county and their forward thinking.”

Edin has authored 8 books and some 80 journal articles. The hallmark of her research is her direct, in-depth observations of the lives of low-income women, men, and children. Edin is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She is a Trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation and an affiliate of the poverty research center at the University of Wisconsin.

“The Medical Society is honored to host Ms. Edin and be recognized as the Premier Partner for the Social Development Commission Summit on Poverty,” said Kathy Schmitz, Executive Director, Medical Society of Milwaukee County. “The book ‘$2 a Day’ is a harrowing account of a ‘new form of poverty’ that has emerged in this country, and Milwaukee is no exception. Studies now show a direct link between poverty, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and health outcomes. Good health, however, is not an option when abhorrent living conditions include no heat, running water, food, and an abusive environment. Physicians have a significant role to play in this issue by identifying and treating adverse childhood experiences to impact good health.”

Ranked within the top five in our nation for the highest poverty level, our community faces a crisis. Poverty is not a choice, it’s an epidemic affecting a deplorable amount of our fellow residents; children, adults, and the elderly.Our culture must change! The number of people living in poverty in Milwaukee County is undeniable. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye and ignore this crisis.The issue must be in the forefront and remain there until it is eradicated.

Reducing poverty in Milwaukee County will require a long-term effort that can only be successful if it addresses the barriers that prevent individuals and families from moving toward economic stability. It is the responsibility of our entire community to help lift our most vulnerable members out of poverty.

Keynote speaker Kevin Powell was originally scheduled for the first day of the summit on September 6. Powell is an author of 12 books, international speaker, activist and advocate for social justice, and a voice who educates and analyzes existing barriers in the political landscape and at the human level. To accommodate the addition of Edin’s participation in the conference, Powell will deliver his keynote on the second day of the conference, September 7.