$1.5 Million Awarded to Address Behavioral Health in Southwestern Wisconsin

The Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program, working with a multi-sector network of community partners, has been awarded funding through the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). The AHW Endowment has announced funding for 10 Community Coalitions through its Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program (HWPP) and its initiative focused on community-based behavioral health. This project will focus on Iowa, Grant, Green Lafayette and Richland counties and will collaborate with several local community partners including all seven region hospitals, all five health departments, many other social service, health care and other agencies and in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

An initial $200,000 award will support participation in the first year of an eight-year initiative that will total approximately $1.5 million. The first year of funding is focused on developing implementation plans with the ultimate outcome of a statewide improvement in behavioral health, improved physical health among those with behavioral health conditions, and improved prevention and healthcare resources.

“We are energized by the direction of our Endowment strategy and we’re confident that these investments will lead to transformative accomplishments by our community partners,” said Dean. Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President of MCW. “We believe this highly collaborative approach is the best way to effect sustainable change, and we’re proud to be able to guide and spearhead this important work.”

The behavioral health problems in southwestern Wisconsin show up in many locations including emergency rooms, county jails, schools , businesses, food pantries, clinics, etc. and have a detrimental effect on very many lives. In particular in the southwestern counties of Wisconsin there is a significant problem in the lack of all types of mental health providers. The ratios of population to providers as determined by HRSA are:
• Grant County – 1,246:1
• Green County – 1,427:1
• Iowa County – 1,979:1
• Lafayette County – 671:1
• Richland County – 1,266:1

For comparison, the state of Wisconsin’s ration is 623:1. For Milwaukee County, the ration stands at 430:1 and for Dane County 301.1.
More information about the HWPP Strategic Component can be found at www.mcw.edu/ahw. For more information on Southwest CAP contact Walter J. Orzechowski, SWCAP Executive Director, 608- 935-2326, Ext. 201.

Written by