Message from the Director: AHW COVID-19 Response (3/30/2020)

March 30, 2020 Posted by AHW Endowment


Dear colleagues,

In this time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, I am reaching out with warm wishes and to update you on AHW’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are all feeling the effects of this crisis in all aspects of our lives. As we problem-solve issues in our own communities and react to disruptions to our normal work, this pandemic is also straining us in personal ways—many of us are stepping up as caretakers and teachers while our communities shut down. Know that we at AHW are here to support you during this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know how you’re doing.

As we navigate these coming weeks or months together, we will continue to provide updated guidance to support you and your work.

Today, I can share with you the steps we’ve taken so far:

Funded project guidance
To our currently funded projects, we understand that current circumstances will impact your AHW-funded work in various ways. We appreciate the care you are taking to move forward while managing the uncertainties ahead. At this time, we are managing individual project needs on a case-by-case basis. We recognize that everyone’s projects and circumstances are unique, and we are committed to working with you to find solutions together. 

Specific to our MCW-led research projects, we are following the guidance issued by the MCW Office of Research (intranet access required) in coordination with MCW leadership.

Across both our community-led and MCW-led projects, your program manager remains your best contact for questions related to your work. During this time, our program managers are working remotely – and remain available to connect with you virtually.

AHW’s response - $5 million toward stopping the spread
AHW remains steadfast in our mission to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the health of Wisconsin communities. To that end, we’ve released a rapid response funding opportunity to provide up to $5 million toward stopping the spread of coronavirus. We’ve also joined a group of Milwaukee-based philanthropic partners who are coming together to combat COVID-19 by aligning resources to best complement the ongoing work of government, public health experts, and local agencies.

Our operations and events
Since March 16, our team has been working remotely and is fully operational. We’ve also examined our upcoming events and meetings in light of recent guidelines from MCW. We’ve moved our March 31 Creating Change for Good Workshop Series to an online format, and will provide a recording to registrants who can’t attend. We’ve also made the decision to postpone our popular Conversations with Scientists lecture series, previously scheduled to begin on April 22, to a date later this fall. We will continue to examine additional events in the coming weeks.

As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together, the daily news cycle can become overwhelming. I encourage you to seek out and share information from reputable sources, such as:

If you are feeling overwhelmed, support is available. Mental Health America has put together a resource page that includes ways to connect with others, including the Disaster Distress Helpline. You are not alone.

We are living through a time of uncertainty, and like you, are taking it day by day as the pandemic continues to evolve. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to help lead AHW during this critical time, while also serving as a physician helping to care for those directly affected by the pandemic.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me or a member of our staff if we can be of assistance.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay home.


Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH
Senior Associate Dean and Director
Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment
Professor, Anesthesiology
Medical College of Wisconsin