A Healthier Wisconsin

Understanding and Addressing Health Disparities in Wisconsin

Building systems to measure, monitor, and identify solutions to reduce health disparities in Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Understanding and Addressing Health Disparities in Wisconsin Through Statewide PartnershipsPrincipal Investigator:Joan M. Neuner, MD, MPH, MedicineCo-Investigator:Kathryn E. Flynn, PhD, Medicine; Rachel Cusatis PhD, Medicine; Kirsten M. Beyer, Phd, MPH, MS, Institute for Health and Equity; Aaron Winn, PhD, Clinical SciencesAward Amount:$1,500,000.00
Award Date
Project Duration:36 Months

Project Description Narrative:

Although Wisconsin has led the way nationally in improving health care quality, there are widespread disparities in health outcomes and care, ranking Wisconsin among the worst in the nation in premature death related to racial inequality. Many efforts to improve health disproportionately benefit some groups while others are left behind, ultimately worsening disparities.

Reports have continued to show health disparities by race and ethnicity, health insurance, and geography. With inequalities rising, it is critical to continue to measure and understand where health disparities exist, taking into account factors such as unemployment, education, adverse effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, and structural racim, in order to develop targeted interventions to eliminate them.

Through this award, a new statewide partnership will be launched, co-led by researchers in the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine and University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health to identify where health disparities exist by building sustainable systems that will measure, monitor, and identify possible solutions to reduce disparities through evidence-based innovations.

Additional project partners: University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, Wisconsin Health Information Organization, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute

Project Updates:

  • Examined the impact of COVID on health measures from 2019-2020 and found substantial decreases in primary care visits for Wisconsinites with high blood pressure and diabetes, decreases in blood pressure control, and persistent disparities in colorectal cancer screening as well as an increase in unsafe use of opioids, which began to reverse in 2021
  • Partnered with 14 Wisconsin health systems to begin implementing evidence-based interventions to reduce disparities
  • Developed content and launched the Healthy Metric website, a central location for sharing reports, action tools, information about ongoing statewide interventions, and other research resources
  • Developed five disparity reports examining disparities in screening, risk factors, chronic disease, and patient safety measures that were impacted by COVID
  • Continued to build statewide partnerships to develop and amplify research to target disparities, supporting $17M ni funding approved to date

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8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-4350