Wisconsin Partnership Program announces $3.5 million in new community grant awards

January 5, 2024

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is pleased to announce $3.5 million in community grants awarded to seven new initiatives through its Community Impact Grant Program.

The awards of $500,000 each over three years provide support for innovative community-academic partnerships to improve health and health care and advance health equity in a wide range of communities across Wisconsin. The grant recipients are providing rigorous community-led approaches to address critical community health needs including access to health care, expanding the public safety workforce, youth health and well-being, food security, civic engagement and economic stability.

The grant recipients and initiatives are: 

Children’s Outing Association for the initiative Building Bridges to Health Equity in the Amani Neighborhood: Improving Health Care Access and Quality

This project will promote health equity within the Amani neighborhood—a Milwaukee community facing significant health disparities and elevated risk for many chronic health conditions — by building local community capacity and enhancing access to high quality primary care services and health education.

David Frazer, MPH, Center for Urban Population Health, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, UW-Milwaukee, Advocate Aurora Research Institute, serves as the academic partner.

City of Madison Fire Department for the initiative City of Madison Firefighter/EMT Development Program 

This project provides students underrepresented in the public safety workforce with paid experience and formal mentorship, in order to support them in attaining eligibility for full-time employment with the Madison Fire Department. The overarching goal of this project is to expand workforce capacity.

Michael Spigner, MD, EMT-P, Department of Emergency Medicine, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, serves as the academic partner.

GSAFE for the initiative Leveraging Community Organizations to Support Better Overall Health Among LGBTQ+ Youth by Bridging Educators & Families

This project addresses social and community factors that impact health for LGBTQ+ youth at home and in school through the development and evaluation of interventions in the areas of educational policy analysis, educational leadership and family engagement.

Mollie McQuillan, PhD, UW–Madison School of Education, serves as the academic partner.

Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Inc. for the initiative Improving Social Determinants of Health Factors Through Utilization of a Family Coach 

This project seeks to improve the mental health crisis facing youth from historically under-resourced neighborhoods in Milwaukee County through the implementation of family coaching services and community engagement that addresses the social factors contributing to poor health and educational outcomes.

Joshua Mersky, PhD, The Institute for Child and Family Well-Being, UW–Milwaukee,  serves as the academic partner.

Marshfield Clinic Inc. for the initiative Feeding the Whole Child, Whole Family, and Whole Community through Civic Engagement 

This project seeks to improve food security for children and families in northern rural Wisconsin by partnering with afterschool programs on the four pillars of food security: availability of healthy foods,  access to healthy foods, knowledge about preparation and stability of diet.

Maggie Bohm-Jordan, PhD, Department of Sociology and Social Work, UW–Stevens Point, serves as the academic partner.

Embolden WI for the initiative Engaging Communities to Change Health Outcomes (ECCHO) 

This project aims to improve health outcomes for communities in Milwaukee and Rock County by addressing the health factors of social connection and community belonging to promote civic engagement. Through culturally specific education and a civic health training program, this project will strengthen social connection and community belonging and build participants’ capacity as public health decision makers and influencers.

Mary Beth Collins, JD, UW–Madison School of Human Ecology, serves as the academic partner.

Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association for the initiative Medical Legal Partnership

This project seeks to improve financial stability and well-being for patients with lower incomes and unmet civil legal needs by connecting them with free health related legal services.

Amy Washbush, PhD, UW–Madison School of Human Ecology, serves as the academic partner.

“The Wisconsin Partnership Program, through the Community Impact Grant Program, is strengthening the health of communities across our state. These new initiatives provide innovative and rigorous approaches to address a wide range of health challenges,” said Amy Kind, MD, PhD, UW School of Medicine and Public Health associate dean for social health sciences and programs and executive director of the Wisconsin Partnership Program. “We are proud to support these impactful community-academic partnerships and look forward to the many ways that patients, individuals and families will benefit from their work.”