MCW's Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment awards more than $2 million to improve health across Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Nov. 21, 2017 – The Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment recently awarded $2.1 million to five initiatives to improve health in communities across Wisconsin as part of its policy and systems awards.

The selected initiatives demonstrated promise in advancing policy and systems change to address some of Wisconsin's most pressing health issues, including suicide prevention, shelter for vulnerable women, immunizations, safe prescriptions, and child care resources. The initiatives are geographically dispersed, and work with communities across the state as well as in Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Monroe and Vernon counties.

"Each of these initiatives are working to address important health issues in very different communities with diverse needs across Wisconsin," said Christina Ellis, program director at the AHW Endowment. "But they all share a commitment to improving health through partnerships with a focus on policy and systems change."

These initiatives are part of the AHW Endowment's strategy to support communities working with MCW to improve health through changing the systems that create the structures in which the people of Wisconsin work, live and play. "By changing the system, the AHW Endowment and its partnering communities can see the benefits of the change continue beyond the initial award," said Cheryl Maurana, senior associate dean and director for the AHW Endowment. In addition to funding, awardees receive access to technical assistance and educational opportunities to share best practices and lessons learned. Another round of funding will be released by the AHW Endowment through a competitive process in the coming months.

Five initiatives chosen to change policies and systems that could lead to sustainable improvements in health in Wisconsin communities include:

$349,886 to help Milwaukee women in street-based sex work find safe shelter and housing. A partnership with the Benedict Center, MCW and Continuum of Care, among others, the three-year award will change policies and protocols to increase access to safe shelter and housing for women in street prostitution in order to reduce their risk of violence and injury.

$446,063 to prevent medication errors for all Wisconsin residents resulting from misread labels. Every day, thousands of Wisconsin residents fail to fully benefit from prescription medications, and many suffer new health problems – all because they misunderstand the prescription directions. Through a partnership between Wisconsin Literacy, Inc. and MCW, this three-year award continues work to create a statewide standard that will help patients and their families safely take the medications they need for their health.

$419,691 to reduce suicide in Fond du Lac County. In Wisconsin, suicide rates are highest among 40 to 54-year old men. This three-year award will work with the Fond du Lac School District, Comprehensive Service Integration and MCW to help create a coordinated county-wide system to address suicide in this population.

$489,121 to expand immunization services for Wisconsin families through partnerships with community pharmacies across the state. A partnership between the Wisconsin Pharmacy Foundation and MCW, this award will use the next two and half years to expand access to immunizations by developing a consistent vaccination protocol and training for pharmacist-provided vaccines offered at Wisconsin community pharmacies, and ultimately, increase immunization rates and reduce the prevalence of vaccine preventable diseases in the state.

$399,808 to improve children's health and care services in Monroe and Vernon Counties. Using a unique approach, this initiative will bring child care programs into a network of shared services for families across the region. In addition, the project will connect children to medical homes, while embedding developmental screenings and support for families early in a child's development.

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