A Healthier Wisconsin

2021 Call for Policy & Systems Changes for Improved Health

Funding Summary

Funds Available: Approximately $1.5 million will be available to support three to five meritorious community-led projects. 

Application Deadline: LOI Applications due by 5 PM (CST) on November 16, 2020

Funding Timeline: Project funding will begin on July 1, 2021. Projects should be conducted over a 24- to 36-month period. 

Funding Details: AHW’s call for Policy and Systems Changes to Improve Health will support system change that will lead to a population-level health improvement by community-led, multi-sector partnerships in Wisconsin. 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 demonstrate 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 full RFA for details) that tend to hold a problem in place in the scope of work for their project, assuring they have both key decision-makers, impacted populations, and community voices engaged throughout the process
  • Will work to improve health equity

Successful applicants are encouraged to demonstrate alignment with AHW focus areas of improving heart health, supporting healthy minds, and dismantling cancer, and will feature a multi-sector network of partners that includes an MCW School of Medicine academic partner. 

webinar series

Recording: 2021 Policy & Systems Changes to Improve Health RFA Informational Webinar

On September 10, AHW hosted an informational webinar providing interested applicants with information on AHW, an overview of the current grant opportunity, an introduction to the application process and timeline, as well as an opportunity to ask initial questions. View the recording below:

AHW Funding Virtual Open House

Have questions? We’re here to help. AHW program managers will be available on a regular basis to share answers to frequently asked questions and take any questions from interested applicants or merit reviewers. Register at the links below to receive the webinar log-in information.

Wednesday, September 16 | 9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. | Registration Closed

Wednesday, September 23 | 9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. | Registration Closed

Wednesday, September 30 | 9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. | Registration Closed


merit review

Merit reviews will be conducted for all LOIs and full proposals that pass technical review by a merit review panel with expertise in the field. The merit review panel will consist of a combination of MCW and community-based reviewers for both application stages.


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  Who is eligible to apply for the Policy & Systems Change for Improved Health funding 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 desired communities. 

Projects must designate one primary community partner applicant organization and one primary MCW School of Medicine academic partner. Please see full RFA for eligibility details regarding both primary partners.     

  How does my partnership apply?

Applicants under this RFA are highly encouraged to have a pre-submission meeting with AHW Program Manager Maureen Busalacchi. Please contact Maureen early in your application process to set up a meeting. 

Applications will be accepted only through the official online form. Applications must be received by 5 PM (CST) on November 16, 2020. Applicants must answer all required fields and follow the restrictions set within the online form. No attachments or paper or emailed applications will be accepted. AHW will confirm receipt of the submission via email to the primary community and MCW School of Medicine academic partners. 

Following successful submission of the online form, signatures from key project personnel will be required via DocuSign in order to complete the LOI submission and be eligible to advance to merit review. 

  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 AHW’s Allowable 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 my community organization has not identified an MCW School of Medicine academic partner?

AHW can assist community organizations in identifying a potential MCW School of Medicine academic partner to work with. Please fill out the Partnership Request Form and discuss your needs with AHW Program Manager Maureen Busalacchi (mbusalacchi@mcw.edu) at least a month prior to submission. 

Please note that this request does not guarantee a partnership may be identified, but that AHW will make every attempt to support you in identifying a possible academic partner. 

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

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

  • Application Stage 1: Letter of Intent (LOI) applications due by 5 PM (CST) on November 16, 2020. Applicants will be notified in January 2021 of invitation to move to stage 2. 
  • Application Stage 2: Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal application by 5 PM (CST) on March 15, 2021. 
  • Award Determination: Award determinations will be made in May 2021 with funded projects beginning their work in July 2021. 

Please see the full RFA for review criteria and details regarding the application process. 

Contact us

For further information or to schedule a pre-application consultation, contact Maureen Busalacchi at (414) 955-4327 or mbusalacchi@mcw.edu.

Please note that AHW staff are currently working remotely and email is the preferred form of communication.

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