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Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment announces $3.1 Million in awards to advance community health initiatives and accelerate health research projects

Funding supports $1.95 million in community initiatives and $1.19 million in research studies aimed at improving health outcomes statewide

Milwaukee, Dec. 19, 2018 – The Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW) has announced the award of more than $3.1 million to five community health initiatives and six health research projects aimed at improving health for residents statewide.

“From cells to society, the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment is working to propel promising work and ideas that support a healthier Wisconsin today, and for generations to come,” said Cheryl A. Maurana, PhD, founding director of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Through these awards, we are excited to advance research that can improve lives and help partners create real, positive change in communities statewide.”

“We congratulate these research partners and community coalitions on their exciting proposals and look forward to working with them to develop new knowledge and build systems that can make good health possible,” added Dr. Maurana.

The following community initiatives will begin their work in January 2019:

Statewide | Wisconsin Medical Dental Integration Project ($528,610)

Through a $528,610 award, the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin and partners will develop protocols to integrate oral health services into primary care medical clinics and health systems to improve access to dental health services and reduce the impact and incidence of dental disease on overall health outcomes.

Statewide | Using Food Hubs to Improve Community Health ($501,268)

This $501,268 award to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin will build on a successful program in eastern Wisconsin to expand the development of a system bringing high-quality, healthier foods to hunger relief agencies across Wisconsin.

Waukesha County | Building a Healthy Family Caregiver System ($474,360)

Through a $474,360 award to Eras Senior Network, Inc., partners will develop and pilot a coordinated, collaborative system of health care, government and community agencies to support the health and wellbeing of family caregivers caring for chronically ill and aging seniors.

Milwaukee County | Lowering Uninsured, STI & Unintended Pregnancy at Milwaukee County Health Departments ($450,000)

This $450,000 award to Health Care Education and Training will support four local health departments in Milwaukee County to develop and adopt policies, procedures, and practices to expand access to health insurance enrollment assistance and basic reproductive care for residents.

In addition, a $10,000 award will support Drug-Free Communities of Fond du Lac County and the Fond du Lac School District in developing a strategic plan to expand early identification and support systems for pregnant women who use drugs.

The following research projects will begin their work in January 2019:

Determining the Phenotype of Airway Collapse in Obstructive Sleep Apnea ($200,000)

Led by Guilherme Garcia, PhD, this $200,000 award will support a team seeking to develop methods to detect the most common contributor to obstructive sleep apnea to drive better diagnosis and treatment identification for patients.

Targeting Cannabinoid Receptors for Neuroprotection of Parkinson’s Disease ($200,000)

Through a $200,000 award led by Qing-song Liu, PhD, researchers will examine the extent to which drugs targeting the endocannabinoid system in the brain may protect against the development or progression of Parkinson’s disease as well as whether these drugs may effectively treat disease symptoms.

Randomized Controlled Trial for Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Infection ($200,000)

Through a $200,000 award led by L. Silvia Munoz-Price, MD, PhD, researchers will conduct a randomized controlled trial seeking to produce improve understanding, diagnosis, and clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with Clostridium Difficile Infection, the most frequent hospital-acquired infection in the United States.

Neurophysiological Effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury ($200,000)

Through a $200,000 award led by Lindsay Nelson, PhD, a team of researchers will investigate the autonomic nervous system mechanisms that may help explain mild traumatic brain injury symptoms and inform the development of evidence-based rehabilitation programs.

Development of Predictive Test for Chemotherapy Selection for Pancreatic Cancer ($200,000)

Led by Marja T. Nevalainen, MD, PhD, this $200,000 award will support a team in developing a predictive test to assist clinicians in selecting a chemotherapy regimen with the highest efficacy for individual pancreatic cancer patients, aiming to improve clinical care and survival of pancreatic cancer patients.

Mechanisms of Accumulating Damage from Repetitive Subconcussive Head Impacts in Contact Sports ($199,022)

Through a $199,022 award led by Brian D. Stemper, PhD, investigators will study repetitive head impacts sustained during sports participation to develop new knowledge around how repetitive, subconcussive head impacts may result in accumulating brain damage and identify new preventive measures.

For more information about AHW, visit ahwendowment.org.

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About AHW:

The Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW) is a statewide health improvement philanthropy propelling promising work and ideas in health research, education, and community to build a healthier Wisconsin for generations to come. Established by the Medical College of Wisconsin to steward a generous gift from BlueCross BlueShield of Wisconsin, AHW has invested more than $240 million in nearly 400 projects, helping partners statewide change lives for the better.

About MCW:

With a history dating back to 1893, The Medical College of Wisconsin is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research and community engagement. More than 1,200 students are enrolled in MCW’s medical school and graduate school programs in Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Central Wisconsin. MCW’s School of Pharmacy opened in 2017. A major national research center, MCW is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In FY2016, faculty received more than $184 million in external support for research, teaching, training and related purposes. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Annually, MCW faculty direct or collaborate on more than 3,100 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,500 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 525,000 patients annually.

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