Wisconsin Partnership Program Announces $ 4 Million Awards for Health Equity Initiatives


The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health announced its 2021 Community Impact Grant.

Grants of $ 1 million each, over five years, support community-university partnerships and their initiatives to improve health and advance health equity by addressing the social determinants that influence health and well-being as well as the systems, structures and policies that shape these determinants and keep health inequalities in place.

This year’s awards support initiatives across a wide range of issues, communities and geographies, including the promotion of food sovereignty in the Oneida Nation; improve access to housing for women affected by criminal justice; improving dementia health care for Latinos; and improving access to health care in rural Wisconsin for people with substance use disorders.

“The Wisconsin Partnership Program continues to support initiatives that tackle issues critical to the well-being of society,” said Dr Amy Kind, director of the Center for Health Disparities Research, professor of medicine at the school and president of the Partnership’s Oversight and Advisory. Committee. “This year, we are particularly pleased to support a wide range of initiatives whose work reaches diverse communities across Wisconsin.”

The grants were awarded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program Oversight and Advisory Committee (OAC), following a multi-stage competitive application and review process. This year’s awards went to the following organizations:

  • FREE campaign for the initiative Health equity for criminal justice has affected women through access to housing improve the health outcomes of formerly incarcerated women and their families by increasing access to safe, stable and supervised housing and resources to support successful reintegration and recovery. The team will use a variety of approaches including coordinating transitional and reintegration housing in Milwaukee, Madison and the Chippewa Valley to achieve their goals. The FREE campaign is an initiative within EXPO (organization of ex-incarcerated people), led by women affected by criminal justice, Lori DiPrete Brown, UW-Madison School of Human Ecology, is the academic partner.
  • Oneida Nation for the initiative Food Sovereignty in the Oneida Nation: A Comprehensive Approach to Health develop a programming model that promotes food sovereignty and cultural identity among indigenous communities as a comprehensive approach to reduce health disparities and improve health and health care. Dr. Bret Benally Thompson, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Faculty Advisor at the Native American Center for Health Professions, sits on the University Partner.
  • Community center united for the initiative Latin American Regional Consortium on Dementia Health develop a regional model of dementia health care and caregiver support to improve detection, diagnosis and support of Alzheimer’s disease for Latinos in the southeast region of the state, including Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha.
  • Wisconsin Hospital Association for the Initiative Wisconsin Rural Health and Addiction Clinical Support Program (RHeSUS) to improve access to treatment and care for people with substance use disorders in rural Wisconsin. This initiative supports a new collaboration between Wisconsin Voices for Recovery, academic partner Dr Randall Brown, professor of family medicine, and the Wisconsin Hospital Association, which will leverage its network of health systems to facilitate this work.

Dr Melinda Kavanaugh, UW Milwaukee Helen Bader School of Social Welfare is the academic partner.

“These newly funded initiatives have the potential to catalyze change, advance health and significantly address health inequalities,” Kind said.


The Wisconsin Partnership Program is a permanent endowment of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, committed to improving health and advancing health equity through investments in community partnerships, education and research. It was established in 2004 with an unprecedented donation as part of the conversion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin into a stock insurance company. To date, the Wisconsin Partnership Program has awarded more than 560 grants worth $ 265 million to advance biomedical and population health research, promote health and public health workforce development, and support community partnerships to improve health and advance health equity.


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