Student Faculty Patient Simulator

Medical College of Wisconsin Center for Healthy Communities and Research

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.

Health equity & disparities: Examines bias, discrimination and systems of care of marginalized groups

Project Title: Implementation and assessment of standards of excellence in Wisconsin’s free and charitable clinic
Description: 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)

Project Title: Access to safe shelter and housing for women in the street-based sex work
Description: 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 to reduce their risk of violence and injury.
Partners: Staci Young, PhD; Jeanne Geraci (Benedict Center); Impact 2-1-1; Continuum of Care

Project Title: Building a healthy family caregiver system
Description: Establishing a system to support family caregivers of seniors and adults with disabilities
Partners: Leslie Ruffalo, PhD*; Courtney Barry, PsyD, and Melissa DeNomie

Project Title: Expanding immunization access through Wisconsin’s community pharmacies
Description: Developing consistent protocols and training for pharmacist-provided immunizations
Partners: Ken Schellhase, MD*; Michele Leininger; and Wisconsin Pharmacy Foundation

Project Title: Gathering resources and aligning community engagement (GRACE) hub
Description: Bridging the gap between health care delivery and the social service sectors in La Crosse
Partners: David Nelson, PhD*; Marie Wolff, PhD, Melissa DeNomie, and La Crosse Health Department

Project Title: Adopting a patient-centered prescription label in Wisconsin
Description: Supporting pharmacies in adopting patient-centered prescription labels statewide
Partners: Kenneth Schellhase, MD*; Michele Leininger, and Wisconsin Health Literacy, a div. of Wisconsin Literacy, Inc.

Project Title: Racism, residential segregation and breast cancer survival disparities
Description: 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.
Partners: Kirsten Beyer, PhD*; Staci Young, PhD; Ann Nattinger, MD; Prakash Laud, PhD; Theresa Osypuk, SD

Project Title: Research in early development to improve resiliency and equity (REDIRECT)
Description: The goal of this project is to improve the wellbeing of children in Milwaukee through sophisticated analyses of novel data and qualitative exploration of the key drivers of health disparities related to early childhood development. We aim to create a better understanding of the complex interplay between individual, family, and community factors to overcome adversity and enable children to thrive.
Partners: John Meurer, MD*; Staci Young, PhD, Laura Cassidy, PhD; Marie Wolff, PhD, Jared Olson

Project Title: All of Us Wisconsin
Description: All of Us represents the hope for all of us to come together to change the future of health care. The more people across America that participate, the more data they contribute to this research platform, and the more researchers who tap into the data, the greater our chances of unlocking medical breakthroughs.
Partners: Jeffrey Whittle, MD*; David Nelson, and Zeno Franco

*Principal investigator

Mental health: Examines the effects of trauma on behavioral and mental health

No projects currently

*Principal investigator

Physical activity & nutrition: Studies the health impact of safe and adequate food access and increased movement and physical activity

Project Title: Using food hubs to improve community health by getting better food to more people
Description: Expanding the food distribution system to ensure that food banks have access to healthy, local foods
Partners: David Nelson, PhD*; Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Leslie Ruffalo, PhD; Melissa DeNomie, Carletta Rhodes, MBA

Project Title: A heart healthy neighborhood: Reducing stress together
Description: No description
Partners: Kirsten Beyer, PhD*; Jared Olson, and Melissa DeNomie

Project Title: Illness perceptions in congestive heart failure
Description: Developing protocols to improve adherence to physical activity for congestive heart failure patients
Partners: Edith Burns, MD*; David Nelson, PhD; Nunzio Gaglianello, MD; and Jessica Olson, PhD

Project Title: Families Inspired Together (FIT4YES) A family-centered intervention to childhood obesity in the Hispanic community
Description: No description
Partners: David Nelson, PhD*

Project Title: Safe & healthy streets: Enhancing systems to increase walking and biking infrastructure in Milwaukee
Description: Improving systems to ensure safer walking & biking infrastructure in Milwaukee
Partners: David Nelson, PhD* and Wisconsin Bike Fed

Project Title: Avanzando Juntas
Description: The goal of this study is to: 1) focus on weight loss among Hispanic breast cancer survivors; 2) examine behavioral, biological, and psychosocial outcomes; and 3) use stakeholder engagement to adapt an intervention that has established efficacy among African-American breast cancer survivors.
Partners: Melinda Stolley, PhD*; Staci Young, PhD; Patricia Sheean, PhD; Sailaja Kamaraju, MD; Kathleen Jensik, MSW; Lauren Matthews, MPH; Magdalisse Henderson, BA; Anjishnu Banerjee

*Principal investigator
Educational excellence: Highest quality health education programs for medical students, residents, faculty and community learners

No projects currently

*Principal investigator

Training in primary care research: Primary care research training through active participation in graduate school advising and mentoring with students at MCW, UWM, and Marquette. Includes federally-funded, fellowship and medical student research training programs

Project Title: HRSA T32 Academic Fellowship Primary Care Research
Description: No description
Partners: Linda Meurer, MD*; Jeff Morzinski, PhD; David Nelson, PhD, Zeno Franco, PhD; Melissa DeNomie and Tess Chandler

Project Title: NIA T35 Summer Research Program in Aging and Injury
Description: No description
Partners: Linda Meurer, MD*; Carletta Rhodes, MBA

*Principal investigator

Veterans’ Health and Engagement

Project Title: A Veterans Prison Arts Program
Description: This intervention uses veteran artist-led workshops and provides structured studio time for incarcerated veterans to develop their own art. The research will assess if peer-led artmaking can: 1) contribute to improving productive adjustment outcomes; 2) reduce costs, and; 3) mitigate the pains of imprisonment.
Partners: Katinka Hooyer, PhD*; Leslie Ruffalo; Michele Leininger, and Department of Corrections: Oshkosh Correctional Institution

Project Title: Warrior’s Path
Description: This program trains veterans to facilitate difficult moral and spiritual dialogues of the war experience, using contemporary graphic novels, poetry and Shakespearean theater as entry points. The aims are for veterans to gain a deeper understanding of their moral injuries to frame and talk about these experiences with the public and health care providers.
Partners: Katinka Hooyer, PhD*; UW-Milwaukee’s Military and Veterans Resource Center (MAVRC) and Peck School of the Arts; Feast of Crispian: Shakespeare with Veterans, Medical College of Wisconsin’s Warrior Partnership; Woodland Pattern Book Center; Riverwest Radio; Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion; and Marquette University Humanities faculty John Zemler, PhD and Kathleen Dale, PhD; Michele Leininger, and Carletta Rhodes, MBA

Project Title: Working with Veterans to optimize the implementation of cancer screening programs
Description: No description
Partners: Jeffrey Whittle, MD*; Onur Asan, PhD; Alice Yan, PhD; Katinka Hooyer, PhD and Mark Flower

Project Title: Implementing systems change to impact Veteran health and well-being
Description: Identifying and assisting veterans in the criminal justice system in Milwaukee County through a Veteran Treatment Initiative
Partners: Leslie Ruffalo, PhD* and Center for Veterans Issues

Project Title: Milwaukee PROMPT: Prevention of opioid misuse through peer training
Description: Using a community-engaged research (CEnR) approach, Milwaukee Prevention of Opioid Misuse through Peer Training (PROMPT) integrates chronic pain treatment and trauma-informed care with input from local military veterans to develop innovative ways of addressing OUD
Partners: Syed Ahmed, MD* and Zeno Franco, PhD

*Principal investigator