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Global Health Institute awards seed grants, celebrates merger

Eight research projects ranging from human and animal disease to agriculture to economic growth will move forward with start-up funding as part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s focus on global health.

The grantees will be recognized Oct. 27 at an event launching the Global Health Institute, a merger of the Center for Global Health and Global Health Initiative.

“The institute’s mission is to tackle the root problems of human health, and to do that requires an unprecedented, multi-faceted approach to these problems,” said Jonathan Patz, population health professor and director of the Global Health Institute. “So it is really exciting to be able to find engineers, economists, agriculture and veterinary and medical science ready to step up to these challenges.”

The winning proposals and principal investigators are:

  • Leonelo Bautista, Population Health, “Hypertension Awareness, Treatment and Control in Latin America;
  • Chuck Czuprynski, Veterinary Medicine and Pathobiological Sciences, “Understanding and Controlling Brucellosis in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador;”
  • Jeremy Foltz, Agricultural & Applied Economics, “The Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Household Food Security and Hunger;”
  • Lewis Gilbert, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, “Evaluation of Alternative Strategies for Emerging Disease Detection;”
  • Monica Grant, Population Health, “Mobile Phone-Disseminated Health Information;”
  • Gary Green, Community & Environmental Sociology, “Pathways for Poverty Reduction in Haiti: Health and economic impacts of organic mango Production and Processing;”
  • Nancy Kendall, Education, and Claire Wendland, Anthropology, “Participatory Action Research and Programming to Improve Young Women’s Reproductive Health,” and,
  • Alberto Palloni, Sociology, Early-Life Health, “Economic Growth and Inequality in Human Capital Formation”

Each group will receive $40,000 over two years to flesh out their ideas and give them a leg up on securing more substantial funding.

More than two-dozen proposals were submitted as part of the global health Incubator, a series of events in the spring aimed at sparking collaborative and multi-disciplinary research that takes a holistic approach to problem-solving.

“We want a modus operandi of going into situations with diverse expertise and multiple perspectives, so that we’re more likely to catch unforeseen problems,” Patz said. “Solutions for one problem that cause other, unintended problems are neither desirable nor sustainable solutions. What’s required is a fully inclusive, all-hands-on-deck approach. UW–Madison is the best place on earth to launch such an effort.”

The public is welcome at the Institute’s launch event, which will run from 4:30-6 p.m. in the H.F. DeLuca Forum in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St.

Provost Paul M. DeLuca Jr. and Patz will introduce the new Global Health Institute and the seed grant proposal winners describe their research plans.

Registration for the event — which is not required, but requested — is available here.