Four new awards from the Wisconsin Partnership Program will support and extend innovative health projects that will affect the lives of Wisconsinites of all ages, races and backgrounds.

The new Community Impact Grant grants, each totaling $1 million over five years, approved by the Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Partnership Program, bring robust community-university collaborations to address the following areas:

  • The Cultivate Health Initiative (CHI) to grow the Wisconsin School Garden Network. With academic partner Sam Dennis of the UW-Madison Department of Landscape Architecture and lead organization Community Groundworks, CHI will develop the Wisconsin School Garden Network in five regions of Wisconsin. Over the five years of the grant, 2,000 educators will be trained to provide garden-based education to a diverse population of 90,000 children in both rural and urban areas.
  • The Improving Assisted Living Quality through Collaborative System Change project. About 60 percent of Wisconsin’s vulnerable seniors reside in assisted-living communities, which receive little oversight and support to monitor and improve the quality of the care they provide. This grant, led by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and collaborating with academic partner David Zimmerman of the UW-Madison School of Engineering, will expand the reach of an existing quality-improvement coalition formed in 2009 to help these communities share information and assess their progress towards quality-improvement goals.
  • The Reimagining Criminal Justice to Improve the Health of Wisconsin’s Families and Communities project. Dr. Geoffrey Swain of the UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health will work with WISDOM, an organization of about 160 Wisconsin faith congregations working for social justice to improve population-level health in Wisconsin by changing re-entry processes when incarcerated individuals are re-integrated into society.
  • The Advancing School-Based Mental Health in Dane County project. With the goal of improving the well-being and school performance of students with mental-health concerns, this project will evaluate and refine an existing pilot model of integrated mental-health services and expand the reach of the program to other schools in Dane County. Academic partner Dr. Tally Moses of the UW-Madison School of Social Work will work with lead organization Madison Metropolitan School District and other stakeholders to assess the structure, process and outcomes of the program.

“These awards mark important steps for the Partnership Program,” said Dr. Patrick Remington, chair of the Oversight and Advisory Committee and associate dean of public health at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “The new Community Impact Grants are designed to move us closer to sustainable impact, which relies on policy, systems and environmental changes. They also reflect the diversity of Wisconsin’s population and health needs.”

About the Wisconsin Partnership Program

The Wisconsin Partnership Program represents a far-reaching commitment by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health to improve the health and well-being of Wisconsin residents through investments in research, education and community-academic partnerships. The Partnership Program was created with funds from the conversion of Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin to a for-profit corporation.