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Eight projects win Baldwin grants

June 12, 2018 By Käri Knutson

The subjects of the eight projects selected for grants from the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment are varied but all will help the university contribute knowledge and resources across the state.

Ira Baldwin, a longtime UW teacher, researcher and administrator, served as dean of the Graduate School and the College of Agriculture and as vice president for academic affairs. Ineva Reilly Baldwin taught and served in the university administration as assistant dean of women and associate dean of the College of Letters & Science. Their endowment is one of the largest gifts ever received by UW–Madison.

The eight grants, as described in their submissions, are:

Advancing Climate Science Education, Inquiry, and Literacy Across Rural Wisconsin Communities

Michael Notaro, associate director, Center for Climatic Research, and Rosalyn Pertzborn, director, Office of Space Science Education

The three-year project aims to inspire scientific, place-based inquiry and advance climate science education and literacy across the economically disadvantaged rural communities of Wisconsin. The collaborative team will synergistically unite the climate change expertise of the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, science education experience of the UW–Madison Office of Space Science Education, and local environmental sustainability focus and extensive volunteer network of the Wisconsin Ice Age Trail Alliance.

Development and Implementation of Rapid Genetic Test to Improve Health Outcomes in Wisconsin Plain Newborns

Christine Seroogy, associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, and Mei Baker, professor, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene

The goal of this three-year project is to develop and offer a new approach to early diagnosis of genetic disorders in Amish and Old Order Mennonite (collectively referred to as Plain) children of Wisconsin. The objectives of this project are informed by the findings of our community partnership collaboration with a rural family medicine doctor in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin, Dr. James DeLine. In collaboration with the newly established Center for Special Children in La Farge, Wisconsin, this project will engage Plain community members throughout Wisconsin to improve early diagnosis of genetic disorders now known to occur in our state.

Engaging Families as Care Partners in Community Nursing Homes

Tonya Roberts, assistant professor, School of Nursing, and Elizabeth Cox, associate professor, Department of Pediatrics

This two-year project’s goal is to collaborate with stakeholders from community nursing homes in Wisconsin (e.g., leadership, staff, residents and families) to form a sustainable nursing home network to identify, synthesize, share and implement effective strategies to engage families in the care of nursing home residents. … One innovative and effective strategy for improving the quality of care in nursing homes is to engage families as care partners. However, family engagement is one of the least recognized and most unstructured quality improvement strategies in nursing homes. The project will translate our previous successful efforts to improve health care through family engagement to community nursing homes, a setting in which family engagement could have crucial positive impact.

Lawyers in the Doctor’s Office: Partnering to Address Health-Harming Legal Needs

Jill Jacklitz, director of education, Center for Patient Partnerships, and Sarah Davis, clinical associate professor of law and associate director of the Center for Patient Partnerships

Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that socioeconomic factors impact health, leading to deep inequities in health outcomes. Substandard housing, lack of insurance and food insecurity are just a few examples. Many of these “health-harming social needs” have a legal solution. Yet, 80 percent of the legal needs of people living in poverty go unmet. The health care setting offers patients the safety and privacy to begin conversations and legal issues that might otherwise go unrecognized are identified. Combining the expertise of two well-established Law School clinical programs, Lawyers in the Doctor’s Office: Partnering to Address Health-Harming Legal Needs puts UW law and pre-law students in local health clinics to identify health-harming legal issues patients are facing and provide a spectrum of legal services during this two-year project — preventing legal crises and intervening on active legal issues that place additional financial and health burdens on families.

Peers Empowering Peers

Eva Vivian, professor, School of Pharmacy, and Sandra Millon-Underwood, professor, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

There is a need for social interventions that help African-American families develop strategies to lead a healthy lifestyle. The goal of Peers Empowering Peers is to incorporate peer influence from community members to enhance learning of positive health behaviors for individuals and their families. Newly-trained peer health promoters will lead Prevent T2 sessions at local churches and community centers within their own community to help community members support one another in making and sustaining healthy lifestyle behaviors. This one-year program connects to Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 because it promotes healthy nutritional habits and physical activity and also promotes strong social and community ties among community members that enhance social capital that can potentially change the built environment.

Preserving and Advancing Seed Sovereignty and Crop Genetic Diversity for Native American Tribes in Wisconsin

Irwin Goldman, professor and chair, Department of Horticulture, and Claire Luby, research associate, Department of Horticulture

Maintaining and increasing genetic diversity in crop varieties can benefit from knowledge of population genetics. In addition, controlled pollination techniques can provide greater efficiency for managing cross-pollinated heritage seed varieties. Today, there is significant interest among tribal members in assessing, maintaining and utilizing these valuable genetic resources for both food and seed sovereignty, as well as public health and nutrition. Despite the existence of a number of new training resources for those who wish to preserve and maintain seed of heritage crop varieties, we have identified the need for creating culturally appropriate resources that will mesh with the traditions and relationships around food and land resources in native communities for this two-year project.

Show Me the Bees! Engaging Growers with Citizen Science to Improve Management of Crop Pollinators

Claudio Gratton, professor, Department of Entomology, and Hannah Gaines Day, assistant scientist, Department of Entomology

Successful production of Wisconsin’s most important fruit and vegetable crops depends on pollination by bees. Historically, growers have relied on rental hives of commercial honey bees; however, decreases in availability and increases in rental costs have left growers questioning the future of pollination for their crops. To address this shortfall, we propose to develop and implement during this three-year project a citizen science-based sampling program using a web/mobile-based application platform to collect data on farm level wild bee communities. Engaging growers to collect data on their farms will eventually enable us to develop improved models that aid growers in making pollination management decisions, including whether honey bee rental is necessary, while simultaneously improving grower awareness of the importance of wild bees in their respective agroecosystems.

UniverCity Year Across Wisconsin

Gavin Luter, UniverCity Alliance director, and Kelly Rupp, associate administrative program specialist, Nelson Institute

The UniverCity Year program collaborates with local governments in Wisconsin to develop practical solutions to complex, local problems: housing, transportation, food systems, economic development, health, social services and more. Matching UW courses with locally defined priorities, UniverCity Year creates value for local governments by applying the vast resources of the UW directly to challenging local problems. In our second full year operating, we have standardized our partnerships to three years: the first devoted to selecting the city, understanding its needs and proposals, matching available courses and negotiating scopes of work; the second year for producing the deliverables through faculty and student work; the third year for implementation and technical assistance. While we have made great progress in connecting the university to communities, we have identified several areas where we can be more focused, effective and innovative. Baldwin funding will support new UniverCity work in those areas: enhancing our scoping process, developing the implementation and evaluation framework, and promoting program expansion to reach new communities farther from Madison.

The competitive grant program is open to UW–Madison faculty, staff and students. Earlier this year, 20 projects were chosen for Baldwin Seed Project Grants.

Tags: grants