MCW’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment awards $6.5 million in grants

Medical College of Wisconsin

An Employ Milwaukee program aimed at developing a diverse health care workforce pipeline and a Milwaukee Area Health Education Center-led initiative to triple Wisconsin’s community health worker workforce are among 17 projects recently awarded a combined $6.5 million from the Wauwatosa-based Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment.

The endowment, based at the Medical College of Wisconsin, announced Tuesday the recipients of its annual grant funding, which focuses on increasing health equity across the state. The projects include efforts led by community agencies and MCW researchers focused on underserved, marginalized and stigmatized populations and work to address health issues including suicide, intimate partner violence, substance abuse and access to mental health care.

Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin directed $2.45 million of its grant funding to projects related to health care workforce development.

The Employ Milwaukee-led Milwaukee Healthcare Workforce Initiative received $500,000 to develop an employer-led training program aimed a creating a diverse candidate pool for Advocate Aurora Health and other health systems, according to AHW. Employ Milwaukee is partnering with Social Development Commission, Milwaukee JobsWork, Milwaukee Urban League, RiverWorks Development Corp. and Journey House on the 3-year project.

The Milwaukee Area Health Education Center-led effort to increase the number of community health workers in the state was awarded $515,000. The center is partnering with Wisconsin Area Health Education Centers, UW Interprofessional Continuing Education Partnership, UW Collaborative Center for Health Equity, Walnut Way and Employ Milwaukee on the 3-year project.

Other workforce development projects awarded funding include:

  • $503,000 for a Marquette University-led effort “to establish a workforce solution to support dementia patients and caregivers, quickly connecting them to vital resources and support services.”
  • $522,000 for a Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin-led initiative to develop a Pediatric Readiness Implementation Guide that would support community emergency departments in providing quality, evidence-based pediatric, emergency care.
  • $415,000 for a UniteWI-led effort to train and deploy community health workers to improve cancer screening in Wisconsin.

A full list of the 17 grant recipients is available here.

“At the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment, we are working to create a healthier state today, and for generations to come,” said Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, director of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment and senior associate dean at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “We are pleased to be supporting a set of community initiatives and research projects that show great promise to improve health in Wisconsin.”

AHW is a statewide health philanthropy established by MCW, in stewardship of a Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin gift, to support health research, the health care and public health workforce, and community health initiatives. The endowment was established by MCW in 2004 to receive a portion of the charitable funds from the conversion of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin from a nonprofit organization to a for-profit corporation.

The endowment has awarded $310 million in grants since 2004.

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Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits and education for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism. In her free time, Lauren enjoys hiking, kayaking, and seeing live music.

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