Call for Policy & Systems Changes for Improved Health

Funding summary

Funds Available: $1 - $1.5 million total to support three to five projects. Applicants should consider budgets between $200,000 - $400,000 per project for the award period.

Application Deadline: July 1, 2019 at 12 p.m. (noon) CST

Funding Timeline: Project funding will begin January 1, 2020. Projects should be conducted over a two- to four-year period.

Funding Details: Policy and systems changes look upstream from individual behaviors, asking what policies and systems are in place that either promote or inhibit healthy choices. Changing how these systems function can have a significant, long-term impact on the health of a population.

AHW's Call for Policy and Systems Changes for Improved Health seeks to support community-led, multi-sector partnerships in affecting a systems change that will lead to a population-level health improvement in the areas of heart health, healthy minds, and/or cancer.

Promising initiatives funded through this call will:

  • Look beyond individual behavior change, reflecting a focus on the root cause(s) of poor health outcomes, changes at the policy and systems level, and demonstrates community collaboration
  • Clearly identify a policy and systems change that will lead to a population-level health improvement change that will have a lasting impact after the funding period
  • Include efforts to affect the six conditions of systems change (see RFA for details) that tend to hold a problem in place in the scope of work for their project, assuring that they have the key decision makers working with them throughout the process as well as community voices
  • Will work to reduce health disparities

Successful applicants will feature a multi-sector network of partners, including an MCW School of Medicine academic partner.

application resources

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  Who can apply for the Policy & Systems Changes for Improved Health opportunity?

Applications must feature a multi-sector network of partners working with an MCW School of Medicine academic partner. Each partnership should contain the necessary expertise to address policy and systems changes in the targeted communities.

Projects must designate one (1) primary community partner applicant organization and one (1) primary MCW School of Medicine Academic Partner. Please see the full RFA for eligibility details regarding both primary partners.

  How does my partnership apply?

Applicants under this RFA are required to have a pre-submission meeting with the Program Manager, Maureen Busalacchi. Please contact Maureen early in your application process to set up a meeting. It is recommended to talk through your ideas as soon as possible as one meeting is required but more discussions are encouraged.

Applications will be accepted only through the official AHW online form. Applications must be received by the July 1, 2019 12 p.m. (noon) CST deadline. No attachments or paper or emailed applications will be considered. AHW will confirm receipt of the submission via email to the primary community and MCW School of Medicine academic partners.  

  Are applicants required to select one AHW focus area or can a proposed project address multiple focus areas?

In AHW's 2019-2023 Five-Year Plan, we have identified three health priorities in Wisconsin around which to focus. These issues are improving heart health, supporting healthy minds, and dismantling cancer.

AHW recognizes that systems changes can broadly impact health across many focus areas. For this funding opportunity, projects may select a single AHW focus area or select multiple focus areas for impact.

  What are allowable expenses under this funding opportunity?

AHW uses a cost-reimbursement model. Funds may only be used for direct, project-related expenses. Please review a complete list of Direct, Indirect, and Unallowable Costs (PDF) as you prepare your application.

In addition, AHW funds may not supplant funds or resources otherwise available. Please see AHW Supplanting Criteria (PDF) for details.

Further details on AHW financial compliance requirements can be found in the full RFA.

  What if the application does not provide enough space for all of our project collaborators/partners?

The application provides space to list 10 additional collaborators or key players from the sectors driving the system as well as those impacted by the system.

If you have more than 10 collaborators on your project, please select 10 primary collaborators who best represent the system. If you are documenting the participation of a coalition, please name the coalition as a single collaborator rather than listing individual members.

At subsequent stages of the application process, there will be opportunity to detail additional partners.


  What if my partnership has not identified an MCW academic partner?

AHW can assist you in identifying a potential MCW academic partner to work with. Please fill out the Partnership Request Form and discuss your needs with Program Manager Maureen Busalacchi at (414) 955-4327 or at least one month prior to a submission.

Please note that this request does not guarantee partnership.

  How long does the application process take? When will award announcements be made?

The Call for Policy and Systems Changes for Improved Health application is a three-stage process:

  1. Stage 1 Online Application & Review
  2. Stage 2 Pitch Presentations & Review (invited applicants only)
  3. Stage 3 Full Proposal Submission & Review (invited applicants only)

Please see the full RFA for review criteria and details regarding each application stage. We anticipate making award announcements in December 2019, with funded period beginning January 2020.


  If selected, what are the reporting requirements?

Funded projects will be expected to continually engage in program evaluation activities to document progress toward stated outcomes and to disseminate lessons learned. Progress reports, site visits, and conference calls are required throughout the duration of the project. Partners should make accommodation to attend one (1) in-person grantee cohort meeting each award year during the project period. Funded projects will also undergo an annual assessment of progress, which may have an impact on continued funding.

Please see the full RFA for additional details regarding reporting requirements.

Have Questions?

We’re here to help. For questions or further information on this funding opportunity, including scheduling your required pre-application meeting, contact Maureen Busalacchi at (414) 955-4327 or

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