A Healthier Wisconsin

Funding News: AHW Awards $6.5 Million to Improve Health & Advance Health Equity in Wisconsin

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June 29, 2021, Posted by AHW Endowment

Graphic of AHW Funding Announcement

The Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW), a statewide philanthropy based at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), has announced the award of $6.5 million to 17 projects aimed at improving health and advancing health equity across Wisconsin.

“At the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment, we are working to create a healthier state today, and for generations to come” said Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, director of the AHW and senior associate dean at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “We are pleased to be supporting a set of community initiatives and research projects that show great promise to improve health in Wisconsin.”

The 17 funded projects include efforts led by community agencies and MCW researchers focused on underserved, marginalized, and stigmatized populations alongside projects that aim to address new emerging and long-standing health issues across the state. Examples of the issues that projects are addressing include suicide, intimate partner violence, substance abuse, access to mental health care, and addressing the critical need to grow health care and community health workforce.

“The Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment is driven by a goal to make Wisconsin the healthiest state in the nation,” said Joy Tapper, MPA, chair of AHW’s public oversight body, the MCW Consortium on Public and Community Health. “These funding awards will be part of the long-term work to improve health and advance health equity in Wisconsin today and long into the future.”

The following list of funded projects will begin their work in July 2021:

Basic, Clinical & Translational Science Pathway

Regulation of the Small GTpase Prenylom by SMGGDS During Neuronal Development
MCW Principal Investigator: Carol Williams, PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology | Co-Investigators: Allison Ebert, PhD, Cell Biology, Neurobiology, Anatomy; Cecilia J. Hillard, PhD, Pharmacology and Toxicology; Mark Distefano, PhD, Chemistry

Molecular Pathogenesis of Common Variable Immunodeficiency
MCW Principal Investigator: Denim Wang, PhD, Microbiology and Immunology | Co-Investigators: James Verbsky, MD, PhD, Pediatrics; John M Routes, MD, Pediatrics

Plasma Factors in Patients with Sickle Cell Disease Sensitize Nociceptors to Drive Pain
MCW Principal Investigators: Cheryl L. Stucky, PhD, Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy | Co-Investigators: Amanda M. Brandow, DO, MS, Pediatrics; Allison D. Ebert, PhD, Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy

Enhancing Neural Plasticity for Recovery from Aphasia
MCW Principal Investigator: Jeffrey R. Binder, MD, Neurology | Co-Investigators: Sara B. Pillay, PhD, Neurology; Priyanka Shah-Basak, PhD, Neurology

Iyengar Yoga as a Probe of Prolonged Grief Disorder Neurobiology
MCW Principal Investigator: Joseph S. Goveas, MD, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine | Co-Investigators: Kari R. Hainsworth, PhD, Anesthesiology; Cecillia J. Hillard, Phd, Pharmacology and Toxicology

Defining the Cardiometabolic Profile of Transgender Boys and Men on Testosterone Therapy
MCW Principal Investigator: Susanne M. Cabrera, MD, Pediatrics | Co-Investigators: Michael Widlansky, MD, MPH, Medicine; Andrew Petroll, MD, MS, Medicine; Kristen Klement, MD, Plastic Surgery


Education & Workforce Development Pathway

Student Champions: Connecting Dementia Patients & Caregivers to Essential Community Resources
Primary Community Organization: Marquette University | Academic Partner: Kathryn Denson, MD, Medicine

Integration of CHWs into Public Health Initiatives for Rural and Urban Communities
Primary Community Organization: Milwaukee Area Health Education Center | Academic Partner: Leslie Ruffalo, PhD, MS, Family Medicine

Pediatric Readiness Program for Community Emergency Departments
Primary Community Organization: Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin | Academic Partner: Lorin Browne, DO, Pediatrics

Dismantling Cancer Through the Community Health Worker Workforce
Primary Community Organization: UniteWI | Academic Partner: Jamila Kwarteng, MS, PhD, Community Health

Milwaukee Healthcare Workforce Initiative
Primary Community Organization: Employ Milwaukee, Inc. | Academic Partner: Greer Jordan, PhD, Institute for Health and Equity


Policy & Systems Change Pathway

Reducing Medication Errors: Adopting Evidence Based Directions for use on Prescription Labels
Primary Community Organization: Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. | Academic Partner: Kenneth G. Schellhase, MD, MPH, Family Medicine

Battling the Bottleneck: Increasing Capacity for ASD Diagnosis Within Primary Health Care Across Wisconsin
Primary Community Organization: Marquette University | Academic Partner: Kathleen A. Koth, DO, DFAACAP, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine


Population & Community Health Studies Pathway

Effects of Mass Communication on Veteran Suicide Prevention: Help Seeking and Firearm Safety Behaviors
Primary Community Organization: War Memorial Center | Academic Partner: Bertrand D. Berger, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine

Recovery Residences that Work: Building Quality through Accreditation Standards Statewide
Primary Community Organization: WisHope, Inc | Academic Partner: Katinka Hooyer, PhD, Family Medicine

Integrating Advocates Within a Healthcare Setting to Strengthen Intimate Partner Violence Screening
Primary Community Organization: Sojourner Family Peace Center | Academic Partner: Gisela Chelimsky, MD, Pediatrics

Increasing Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care Setting Through Team Training
Primary Community Organization: Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality | Academic Partner: Katinka Hooyer, PhD, Family Medicine

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