Student Faculty Patient Simulator

Family and Community Medicine

Center for Healthy Communities and Research Projects

Welcome to the Center for Healthy Communities and Research projects page. The students, faculty, and staff of this department are dedicated to improving the lives of those in and around Milwaukee. The following is a list of projects undertaken by the Medical College of Wisconsin and our partners.

Implementation and Assessment of Standards of Excellence in Wisconsin’s Free & Charitable Clinics

The goal of this project is to strengthen the Wisconsin Free and Charitable Clinics (FCC) infrastructure by fostering a solid, sustainable nonprofit FCC model (Standards of Excellence) implementation and establishing a culture of data-collection to promote health-outcomes and high quality healthcare.

Partners: Staci Young, PhD; Katherine Gaulke, PhD (Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics)

Access to Safe Shelter and Housing for Women in Street-based Sex Work

The goal of this project is to create public health-based changes in policies and protocols to increase access to safe shelter and housing for women in street prostitution in order to reduce their risk of violence and injury.

Partners: Staci Young, PhD; Jeanne Geraci (Benedict Center); Impact 2-1-1; Continuum of Care

Breast Cancer, Race, and Place (BCRP) Research Study

This NIH (National Cancer Institute – 1R01CA214805-01) will include interviews with women living in Milwaukee and surrounding counties about their personal stories of breast cancer survivorship. Participants will discuss the people, places and experiences important to them as breast cancer survivors. Study participants will be compensated with incentives.

Investigators: Staci Young, PhD; Kirsten Beyer, PhD; Ann Nattinger, MD; Prakash Laud, PhD; Theresa Osypuk, SD

Gathering Resources and Aligning Community Engagement (GRACE) Hub

GRACE Hub will implement a system to bridge the gap between health care delivery and the social service sector for cost savings, improved population health outcomes, and increased client experience and engagement.

MCW: David Nelson, Marie Wolff, Melissa DeNomie

La Crosse County Health Department (primary partner)
Great Rivers United Way
La Crosse Area Family Collaborative
St. Clare Health Mission
Gundersen Health System
Mayo Clinic Health System and Foundation


Qualitative research to identify barriers, facilitators, and cultural considerations related to colposcopy adherence. We aim to add a more nuanced and culturally oriented perspective to existing literature highlighting race, education, and economic-based disparities in adherence.

MCW: Leslie Ruffalo, Melissa DeNomie, Ken Schellhase

Community: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and ProHealth Care/Waukesha Family Practice Center

Eastern Wisconsin Food Banks Serving as Community-wide Food Hubs to Increase Healthy Offerings

This project's systemic change will align fragmented food systems through a food hub distribution model that will provide diverse healthy food options to underserved populations.

MCW: David Nelson, Leslie Ruffalo, Carletta Rhodes, Melissa DeNomie

Community: Feeding Wisconsin Eastern Wisconsin

Healthy Environments, Healthy Choices, Healthier People (HHH)

HHH will create school environments which support healthy lifestyle choices, reducing obesity risk over a lifespan through 1) Policy change, 2) Training/education/resources, and 3) Increased community understanding of obesity prevention practices.

MCW: David Nelson, Marie Wolff, Melissa DeNomie

La Crosse County Health Department (primary partner)
School District of La Crosse

View Center for Healthy Communities & Research Completed Projects (PDF)