Grants in Wisconsin for Improving Wellness and Health Equity

July 21, 2022 Posted by Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH


Wisconsin has made great strides to improve health and advance health equity in communities across the state. Accomplishments are attributed to the dedicated, experienced, and influential community, public health, and health care professionals that work every day to advance health and wellness in our communities.

Despite the commitment of a strong workforce, we face many challenges to implementing new approaches and solutions amid an ongoing pandemic, evolving chronic and acute health issues, and growing challenges with workforce burnout and stress. When it comes to healthcare access and equity for all residents, Wisconsin needs to do better. 

The state has some of the worst health indicators and disparities in the United States. By some measures, we rank at or near the bottom of the nation

  • Public health funding is ranked 49th.

  • Residential segregation is ranked 48th.

  • Excessive drinking is ranked 50th.

  • Low birthweight racial disparity is ranked 50th.

We have our work cut out for us. 

It’s going to take collective efforts of many community leaders, academic partners, and community organizations in communities across the state to improve Wisconsin’s health indicators — a combination of research, education, and community‑based efforts. 

Thankfully, there are significant investments being made to move the needle toward better health and wellness for more Wisconsinites.

The following are some health focus areas and grant opportunities available to organizations committed to tackling Wisconsin’s leading health challenges.

Building a Strong Healthcare Workforce

AHW also prioritizes investments that aim to improve the health of the people of our state by advancing Wisconsin’s health workforce to be increasingly more accessible, equipped, and representative to improve health for all Wisconsin residents. 

AHW’s Learning Event Support funding opportunity supports Wisconsin‑based learning events that build knowledge, skills, and networks among current Wisconsin‑based health professionals and the next generation of leaders to explore new ideas that can be applied to their work to improve health in Wisconsin communities. 

Eligible applicants may apply for up to $5,000 in funding to support direct, non‑personnel, event‑specific expenses. Learning event support awards are limited to one award per event while allocated funding remains available. 

Testing New Approaches

Addressing growing and evolving health challenges requires innovation and creative partnerships. 

AHW’s upcoming Seed Grants funding opportunity will support community‑MCW academic partnerships and MCW‑led teams to test new approaches, collaboratively incubate novel ideas, and strengthen partnerships to build a foundation for larger endeavors to address Wisconsin’s leading health challenges for deeper impact on health and health equity in Wisconsin’s communities. 

Applicants will be able to apply for up to $50,000 to carry out projects of up to 12 months in duration. Begin gathering your partners and watch for the call for applications in early August!

Register to join us for informational webinars to learn more about this funding opportunity:

  • Community‑Led Seed Grants Informational Webinar

    Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, 10:00 am‑10:45 am CST

    Join us if you are a Wisconsin‑based community or governmental organization or MCW faculty or staff member interested in learning more about how your community‑MCW academic partnership can apply for AHW’s Community‑led Seed Grant funding.

  • MCW‑Led Seed Grants Informational Webinar

    Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, 10:00 am‑10:45 am CST

    Join us if you are an MCW faculty member interested in applying or an MCW staff member supporting faculty who are interested in learning more about how to apply for AHW’s MCW‑led Seed Grant funding. 

Supporting the next generation

Supporting the next generation of the health and healthcare workforce to incorporate community health improvement efforts and community engagement into their practice is critical for moving needles through the long‑term in Wisconsin.

Current learners enrolled in an MCW sponsored training program are invited to apply for funding through AHW’s Call for Applications: Experiential Projects in Community Health. Up to $5,000 maximum is available to develop and implement community‑based health improvement projects in collaboration with community leaders.

Strategic Investment in a Healthier Wisconsin

Through investments in research, health workforce development and education, and community initiatives, AHW grants are building capacity, developing new knowledge, and changing systems to improve health from cells to society. 

AHW invests in numerous areas including the following:

  • Systems Change – Supporting community‑led partnership to address root causes of poor health outcomes and health inequities through systems change efforts.

  • Population Health Research – Supporting project teams to conduct population health research to inform policies and practices that will improve health outcomes and health equity in Wisconsin.

  • Workforce Development – Supporting project teams to develop and implement innovative and sustainable programs and resources to advance Wisconsin’s current and future health workforce.

  • Collaborative Research – Supporting MCW‑led research collaborations to pursue new paths of study, overcome barriers and integrate new research perspectives to move knowledge into action to improve health and health equity in Wisconsin.

Pandemic Recovery Grants

In addition to the funding opportunities through AHW, there are a number of other funding sources for public health grants in Wisconsin

In 2021, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law. As part of the recovery from the deadly pandemic, Wisconsin has access to almost $397 million in public health grants. The two main areas of funding are Mental Health and Substance Use Services ($50 million) and Home and Community‑Based Services ($350 million) to help older Wisconsinites and people with disabilities live independently.

Grants for a Healthier Wisconsin

If you’re seeking grants in Wisconsin, it makes sense to broaden your search beyond government agencies and foundations. Endowments like ours and the Wisconsin Partnership Program are also dedicated to investing in community‑based solutions to tackle Wisconsin’s health challenges.

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