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Community Partnerships and Engagement

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Wisconsin Partnership Program

In 2005, the University of Wisconsin Medical School was renamed the School of Medicine and Public Health, signaling a plan to develop a revolutionary new model that unites public health and medicine. Dr. Robert Golden became dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health in 2007, and developed the vision, mission and guiding principles for this transformation.


The Wisconsin Partnership Program has been a vital source of support and direction for the school’s transformation. Since its inception in 2004, the Wisconsin Partnership Program has focused on establishing a foundation for significant and sustainable changes in health and health care, and on helping to build the capacity of community organizations throughout the state.


The Got Dirt? Garden Initiative, funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program, designed a process to establish youth gardens at elementary schools and childcare centers throughout Wisconsin.Substantial investments have been made in integrating public health into the school’s research and teaching mission, and supporting community-based projects. To date, the Partnership Program has awarded more than 300 grants totaling more than $125 million to university faculty and staff, and community organizations from around the state.


By linking the resources of the Partnership Program with the expertise of the School of Medicine and Public Health, the program is dedicated to building healthier communities throughout the state by forming lasting partnerships – a cornerstone of the program.


The Wisconsin Idea - where boundaries of UW-Madison extend to the boundaries of the state, and beyond - is embodied in the activities of the Partnership Program, with its emphasis on reducing health disparities and making Wisconsin a healthier state for all.


The school has continued to provide service to Wisconsin, not only through engagement in its research and educational activities, but more importantly through direct collaboration and partnership with communities and their priorities. The community grants from the Wisconsin Partnership Program - totaling over $43 million since 2004 - directly serve communities by supporting local public health programs and educational efforts and by increasing community capacity to address Wisconsin’s most vexing public health challenges.


The Wisconsin Partnership Program created the Community Academic Partnership Fund to support opportunities for community-academic collaboration that result in the improvement of population health and advancement of the goals of the State Health Plan, Healthiest Wisconsin 2020.


The grants support community-academic partnerships, using a “community empowerment” model, by providing the grant funds directly to the community organization - to provide overall leadership and direction to the project. In addition, all projects are required to have an academic partner who supports the work by providing advice on evidence-based approaches or on program evaluation.


Since 2004, the program has funded 159 projects with awards totaling nearly $31 million.


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Community Partnerships and Engagement

Last updated: 10/20/2016
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