The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has awarded $750,000 to 15 community-driven projects to catalyze innovative ideas to improve health equity in Wisconsin.

The grants were awarded through the Partnership Program’s Community Catalyst Grant Program and support a wide range of creative and innovative community-driven projects aimed at improving health and reducing health inequities in Wisconsin. The awards are $50,000 each for projects up to 24 months.

Amy Kind, MD, PhD, chair of the Partnership’s Oversight and Advisory Committee says, “These awards enable the Wisconsin Partnership Program to support communities across Wisconsin in their innovative, grassroots solutions to local health challenges and disparities.”

Award recipients

Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia Education and Awareness Initiative for Wisconsin's Indian Country

  • Great Lakes Native American Elder Association (GLNAEA), Great Lakes Intertribal Council
    • This project will bring Native American experts on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to elder gatherings and will design educational programs to inform and empower tribal communities and their healthcare providers to address the cultural implications of addressing Alzheimer’s and dementia within Native communities.

Black Girl Live

  • Lilada’s Livingroom
    • Lilada’s Livingroom provides culturally responsive services to Black women and girls, including those who are survivors of sexual abuse. The project will create a virtual safe space, especially for Black girls 10-17, who are at high-risk for suicide and sexual abuse by addressing prevention and early intervention of sexual assault and suicide, and providing support and access to healing where girls are— on social media via computers, notebooks and phones.

Building Immigrant Leadership for Wisconsin

  • Racine Interfaith Coalition
    • Racine is one of many communities in Wisconsin with a fast-growing immigrant population. This project seeks to build an infrastructure of social support and cohesion to improve health outcomes for its immigrant population.

Building Beloved Community for Reproductive Justice

  • Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, Maroon Calabash, UBUNTU Research and Evaluation
    • Black women in Wisconsin face many challenges while accessing reproductive healthcare, including exceptionally high rates of infant mortality. This project will develop a sustainable statewide organization that promotes the leadership of Black women in the area of reproductive justice.

Community Dental Partnership Program

  • More Smiles Wisconsin
    • By drawing on innovative ideas from outside of the dental world, this project is developing a partnership among non-profit dental clinics to reduce the unique costs and burdens faced by free and charitable dental clinics. The project’s goal is to ensure that each clinic can effectively address the unmet oral health needs of Wisconsin residents and increase the clinics’ impact within healthcare and dentistry.

Community Doula Initiative

  • African American Breastfeeding Network Inc., Maroon Calabash
    • This project aims to improve the experience of Black women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum by building the capability and collaboration of the existing Black doulas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and increasing the understanding of community needs around doula-assisted births. The project will elevate the voices of Black families to statewide conversations around doula service insurance coverage as well.

Community Fellowship to Improve Health

  • Second Baptist Church
    • Through this grant, the Second Baptist Church, the YWCA Madison and the Urban League of Greater Madison, with academic partner Dr. Earlise Ward, UW-Madison School of Nursing, will implement a faith-based depression management program for African Americans. The project aims to improve health outcomes for African Americans by reducing symptoms of depression and stress and increasing access to knowledge regarding depression and healthy coping behaviors in a trusted community setting.

Farmer Suicide Prevention

  • Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program
    • The current suicide rate for farmers is more than double the rate for veterans and five times higher than the general public. In partnership with Suicide Prevention Coalition of Iowa County and behavioral health services, this project will develop a comprehensive set of community-based education and intervention tools that will be integrated into the farming community to address the immediate crisis of suicide and support the overall mental health of farmers.

Improving Health Services and Health Equity for Transgender Individuals

  • Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Inc.
    • This project addresses the health disparities that transgender, gender non-binary, gender expansive, and gender nonconforming (TNG) individuals in Wisconsin experience accessing respectful and inclusive sexual and reproductive health care. The project’s goal is to increase access to affordable and competent sexual and reproductive health care services for TNG people in Wisconsin by creating a more informed and educated healthcare work force, as well as by improving health center materials, including patient intake forms and education materials.

Neighborhood Organizing Institute 2.0

  • Lussier Community Education Center
    • This work builds upon the success of the Neighborhood Organizing Institute and will expand training and support for low-income organizers of color to make changes in their own communities. By addressing health inequities at the grassroots level, and amplifying community voice regarding health issues of local importance, this project seeks to improve overall community health and health outcomes.

Pathways for Equitable Access for Spanish-speaking Early Educators

  • Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health
    • This project will create equitable access for Spanish-speaking early childhood educators to professional development opportunities related to social emotional development and infant mental health. The project team will ensure the tools, resources and training are translated into Spanish, but reflect the cultural awareness of the needs of Latin/x early educators. As a result of this project, Latin/x educators well-trained in this area will have greater efficacy for ensuring positive health outcomes for infants and children in their care.

Preventing Lead Exposure: No More High Lead Levels

  • Metcalfe Park Community Bridges Inc.
    • This project will address the health inequities of lead exposure and lead poisoning in the Metcalfe Park neighborhood of Milwaukee. The team will implement a community-led solution of mobilizing block leaders to engage families and help them recognize and reduce lead exposure and risk of lead poisoning. Beyond awareness and education, this project will test for lead in homes, mitigate exposure to lead, and educate renters and tenants about their rights regarding lead exposure.

Preventing Youth Homelessness for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

  • Pathfinders
    • Youth aging out of foster care face high rates of homelessness and some of the highest barriers to health and well-being in the nation. This project will expand the evidence-base for an innovative solution to the challenges of youth homelessness that has been piloted in Milwaukee. Through further research and evaluation, this project aims to inform state policy and expand this model of service delivery in Wisconsin and beyond.

Transformational Therapy for Children Experiencing Trauma

  • Zion City Church Ministries
    • Led by Anesis, a Black-owned and operated therapy center in Madison, Wisconsin, the grant will provide access to Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) training to address immediate health needs of youth. Through this extensive training, clinicians will be better equipped to support children and their caregivers as they deal with trauma and prevent cycles of intergenerational trauma that lead to other racial health disparities in families and communities.

Teens Leadership and Engagement in Health

  • Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency
    • This grant will support the development of an Adolescent Health Stakeholder group in the Racine community to reduce sexually transmitted diseases and infection in teens and teach leadership skills to support adolescent healthy lifestyles. Teen stakeholders will gather information, identify needs and share resources to ensure the community is receiving optimal care related to sexual health and teen pregnancy.

About the Wisconsin Partnership Program

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health is committed to improving the health and well-being of Wisconsin residents through investments in research, education and community partnerships. It was established at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health through a gift from Blue Cross Blue Shield United of Wisconsin as a result of its conversion to a stock insurance corporation.