AHW's Top Blogs of 2023: Focusing on Wisconsin's Health Concerns

December 27, 2023 Posted by AHW Endowment

Fingers type at a keyboard along with an image representing health topics

Throughout 2023, the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment (AHW) has shared updates, developments, and stories about trending health topics in Wisconsin, as well as projects we’ve funded to address those issues. From science-based approaches to losing weight to the role of telehealth in Wisconsin healthcare, through our blog, we have provided insights from researchers at MCW, as well as updates on the progress being made through AHW-funded research and community-based initiatives focused on these topics.

Here are highlights from AHW's top blog topics of 2023, exploring some of Wisconsin's most pressing health issues and how AHW supports work to advance health for all Wisconsin residents.

The Science Behind Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

Obesity is a common and serious health concern for many Americans, and in Wisconsin, one-third of residents are obese. While there are many weight loss methods, diets, and programs available that promise fast and drastic results, the science behind weight loss does not include a quick fix. With many chronic health conditions stemming from obesity and being overweight, understanding healthy ways to lose weight and keep it off is essential to your overall health and well-being.

In this blog, we explored weight loss science: how and why the body gains weight, what causes us to lose weight, and perhaps most importantly, what you need to know about sustaining weight loss. Touching on insights shared by Tammy Kindel, MD, PhD, bariatric surgeon and associate professor at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin in an episode of Coffee Conversations with Scientists, this blog includes expert tips for finding the right approach to losing and maintaining weight, as well as insights about when bariatric surgery might be considered.

Vasectomy Surgery: Exploring the Science, Myths, and Facts

Each year in the U.S., more than 500,000 men elect to have a vasectomy. As the only currently available form of male birth control, vasectomy surgery offers a safe, permanent, and minimally painful contraception option for men who don’t wish to biologically father children. Yet, many questions and misunderstandings exist around this extremely common outpatient procedure.

Read about how vasectomy surgeries are performed and hear from Jay Sandlow, MD, chair of urology and professor at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, about who ideal vasectomy candidates are, the truth behind some of the most common vasectomy surgery myths, and why March is the most popular time of year for men to schedule their appointments. Hint: It has something to do with a certain college basketball tournament.

Community Health Grants from AHW Support Maternal Mental Health

Pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for a baby profoundly impact a woman's physical and mental well-being. Untreated mental health issues during this time can result in difficulties affecting both the mother and her child's health, including behavioral issues, developmental challenges, strained mother-child bonding, premature or underweight births, and even maternal mortality.

This blog discusses the variety of projects AHW has funded that have aimed to improve maternal mental health diagnosis and care and support improved health outcomes for Wisconsin mothers and their families. Learn how AHW funding has helped more medical professionals screen mothers for depression symptoms during home visits, expanded access to mental health resources for pregnant women and parents in Wisconsin communities, and more in this article.

The Growing Role of Telehealth in Wisconsin Healthcare

Telehealth is a relatively new alternative to in-person visits with healthcare providers, and one that is opening the doors for better access to high-quality healthcare for Wisconsin residents in all parts of the state. With limited hospital and clinic locations in some of our rural communities, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems and provider capacity, telehealth has emerged in recent years as an important tool for addressing health inequities and ensuring better access to healthcare for all Wisconsin residents.

Check out our blog to find out how telehealth is changing the healthcare landscape in Wisconsin, providing residents with care options that can reduce unnecessary hospital visits and limit and reduce exposures to seasonal viruses and illnesses. Plus, we discussed an AHW-funded project that built a statewide network of free and charitable clinics and made telehealth appointments available to vulnerable populations during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AHW-Funded Project Helps Reduce Autism Diagnoses Bottleneck

In 2020, one in 36 Wisconsin 8-year-olds received an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, impacting how they learn, communicate, and behave. Early diagnosis of ASD is essential to connecting families to healthcare services that can help children reach their potential. However, in our state’s underserved areas, families often face long waits to be seen by ASD specialists, causing delays in diagnoses.

To reduce the “bottleneck” of families seeking this type of specific care, an AHW-funded project aims to improve ASD diagnosis statewide by addressing barriers in primary healthcare. Through the project, MCW Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Kathleen Koth, DO, DFAACAP, researchers from Marquette University, and other community partners are working to speed up diagnoses and enhance support for children and families. Visit the blog post to learn more about this important work.

Looking Ahead to 2024

AHW is proud to support health-focused research and community-led projects that aim to improve health for all Wisconsinites, and to discuss valuable insights and updates on the health issues that matter most to you on our blog. As we step into 2024, we look forward to continuing to explore Wisconsin’s most pressing health topics. Here's to another year of working together toward a healthier Wisconsin.

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