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The Wisconsin Partnership Program is working with researchers, community organizations and campus partners to support efforts to lessen the health impacts of COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program recognizes that our partners across campus and Wisconsin communities continue to face unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that many are working on the front lines and behind the scenes – within clinics, hospitals, communities and laboratories – to help mitigate the many impacts of this pandemic. We are grateful for their continued commitment to the health and well-being of the people of our state.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program has responded to the current crisis in several ways: by supporting current grantees, developing a rapid response COVID-19 grant program and supporting strategic partnerships across campus.

COVID-19 Response Grants

The Wisconsin Partnership Program moved quickly to directly respond to COVID-19 and to its health impacts on Wisconsin through the development of the COVID-19 Response Grant Program. This program was designed to support innovative, high impact strategies to address the health challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting. 

On May 6 2020, the Wisconsin Partnership Program announced 21 new COVID-19 Response Grant awards totaling $2.2 million to researchers and community organizations across Wisconsin for their efforts to lessen the impact of COVID-19, as well as a new $470,000 strategic grant to support the development and launch of the new COVID-19 Wisconsin Connect app.

The COVID-19 Response grants support a broad range of initiatives, including innovative projects to help address the immediate health needs of Wisconsin’s urban and rural communities and awards to UW-Madison researchers to support scientific, medical and public health approaches to lessening the impact of COVID-19.

Strategic COVID-19 Response Grants

The Wisconsin Partnership Program's Partnership Education and Research Committee has awarded strategic COVID-19 Response Grants to multidisciplinary research projects to further understand COVID-19.

COVID-19 Wisconsin Connect app

With support from the Wisconsin Partnership Program, collaborators at UW-Madison have launched a free mobile and desktop app to help Wisconsin residents navigate COVID-19 within their communities. The app offers social support, tracks misinformation on social media and provides helpful resources. It was developed by the Center for Health Enhancement System Studies (CHESS) at UW-Madison in partnership with government, academic, medical, business and community organizations statewide.

Strategic partnerships

The Wisconsin Partnership Program provides strategic funding to research and education initiatives across the SMPH. This funding has helped build the capacity within and beyond the school for innovative research and education. Many of these grantees are now mobilizing to address the challenges of COVID-19. Some highlights are noted below.

ICTR-WPP 2020 COVID-19 Response Grant Awards

The UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) and the Wisconsin Partnership Program have joined together to fund three 2020 faculty-led COVID-19 Response Grant Awards. These three new awards extend the 22 awards previously announced by WPP to address urgent health needs imposed by the COVID pandemic. ICTR will support these projects through seed funding and in-kind support.

Neighborhood Health Partnership Program

The Neighborhood Health Partnership Program has developed the Severe Risk for COVID-19 Reports, which provide health officials with information that highlights which ZIP codes in Wisconsin are at higher risk for having many severe COVID-19 cases. Funding for this work was provided by the Wisconsin Partnership Program.

Preventive Medicine Residency

The Wisconsin Partnership Program proudly supports the School of Medicine and Public Health's Preventive Medicine Residency Program. We are grateful to the current residents and alumni who are using their training to help mitigate COVID-19. A recent Wisconsin State Journal article featured preventive medicine resident Dr. Maggie Nolan and her husband Dr. Matthew Nolan, who are on the front lines and behind the scenes of the pandemic. Preventive Medicine Residency alumnae Dr. Jasmine Zapata and her family are featured in a new public service announcement promoting the Wisconsin Connect COVID-19 app.

Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW)

The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, which is funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program, is planning a COVID-19 longitudinal study to track and characterize how this pandemic will impact the social determinants of health. The SHOW team will reach out to any past participants who consented to future contact and request their voluntary participation. Contact researchers@show.wisc.edu for more information.

Wisconsin Population Health Services Fellowship Program

The Wisconsin Population Health Services Program is a cornerstone of the Partnership Program’s investments in education and workforce development. Current fellows and alumni are directly involved in helping Wisconsin respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have pivoted their work to respond to COVID-19 through their service at their current placement sites or by serving at the state- or university-level, providing essential and valuable service to address virus containment and policy issues.

Nearly a dozen current fellows are assisting with local response in health departments across the state including Chippewa County, Eau Claire, Madison-Dane County, Milwaukee, Waukesha County, Winnebago County and Wood County. Six fellows are working at the state-level at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and several others are assisting in COVID-19-related research and planning at UW-Madison.

Supporting current grantees

We continue to take steps to support our current grantees in this pandemic. We recognize that our grantees are experiencing unique challenges impacting their organizations and projects both operationally and financially. Program officers are working closely with grantees, and we are striving to be flexible and responsive to their needs and concerns.

Operations and staffing

The Wisconsin Partnership Program adheres to UW-Madison’s guidelines and protocols for operations during COVID-19. Our staff continues to work remotely and is be available to answer questions or provide guidance to grantees and others. If you have general inquiries, please send them to wpp@hslc.wisc.edu and we will direct them to the appropriate staff member.