UW-Madison School of Nursing WINNERS Secures Million Dollar Grant

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MADISON - A partnership between researchers from the UW-Madison School of Nursing and two Madison community organizations has received $1 million in federal funding to improve community health while supporting health research.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing, the Lussier Community Education Center, and the Goodman Community Center in Madison have been awarded a three-year grant to establish Project WINNERS (Wisconsin Network for New Employment and Research Support), an innovative statewide community-based research support network. Project WINNERS is funded by the National Institutes of Health under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.


The grant program, entitled Building Sustainable Community-Linked Infrastructure to Enable Health Science Research, will provide health education and job training in communities with health disparities while also enhancing health research.


Project WINNERS will create a cadre of research support workers from among members of underserved and underrepresented populations in Wisconsin and will bring health education programs on topics that community members have identified as most important to them.


"I love the creative way this project combines improving health research and providing much needed job training," says Paul Terranova, executive director of the Lussier Community Education Center. "We are looking forward to working with this unique program."


Working with the Lussier and Goodman community centers and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Project WINNERS will develop and implement Community Health Research Associate (CHRA) training/certification programs for individuals interested in health or research-related careers. The CHRA training integrates transferable job skills that would make the certificate holder an ideal health research partner in the community and a local resource for health information while increasing job skills and employability. The program will begin locally and expand statewide through established networks that support Wisconsin communities experiencing health disparities and unemployment.


"The Department of Workforce Development is pleased to be a partner in this important effort to improve community health while also creating jobs in communities across Wisconsin,"says Secretary Roberta Gassman of the Wisconsin DWD.


In each of the partnering community centers, a community member advisory group will help UW researchers adapt their approaches to fit the neighborhood setting. Each group will advise researchers on cultural appropriateness of instruments, data collection methods, and recruiting strategies. Group members will also help to develop a health profile for their community, giving researchers a better understanding of local demographics, cultural norms, and health priorities.


Community forums will discuss results and identify community approaches to improving health. Each advisory group will also work with community members to develop a guide to help communities negotiate and manage community-academic research partnerships.


"This is an important project, and we believe it will yield genuine benefits to our community," says Becky Steinhoff, executive director of the Goodman Community Center. "The project provides a mechanism for the community to 'educate' academic researchers and is especially significant in showing real promise for increasing the relevance and impact of research across the state."


The project is led by Barbara Bowers, associate dean for research and Rodefer Chair at the UW-Madison School of Nursing.

Date Published: 10/14/2010

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