News from

University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

March, 2023

Dear Friends,

We continue to work toward a world in which we value each other, honor our connectedness, and build communities where everyone can thrive. Please use the data, research, and tools included in this newsletter to make positive change wherever you live, work or serve. 


Sheri Johnson, Ph.D. 

Director, UW Population Health Institute

Translating Research for Policy and Practice: Institute Informs Wisconsin State Health Improvement Plan, Governor’s Health Equity Council and Governor’s 2023 State of the State Address

The University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute coordinated with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Governor’s Health Equity Council, providing data-informed approaches to achieve better health and equity in the state. This partnership was highlighted in the Governor’s State of the State address, in the roll out of the new WI State Health Improvement Plan and in the Governor’s Health Equity Council’s Report: Building a Better Wisconsin: Investing in the Health and Well-being of Wisconsinites. The Council utilized data from the Institute’s 2021 Wisconsin Population Health and Equity Report Card to illustrate the persistent health disparities in the state and to propose solutions for improving health and equity.

Listen to an interview with State Health Officer Paula Tran, who also serves as Senior Health Equity Advisor at the Institute, on Wisconsin Public Radio: 'We have to look upstream': State health officials lay out priorities for improving public health.

The County Health Rankings will be released March 29, 2023 

2023 County Health Rankings Preview Webinar

March 14, 2023: 2:00 PM CT

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) is gearing up for our 2023 release of the County Health Rankings, National Findings Report and more. Join this free webinar to preview the measures, tools and reports that are soon to be released to communities nationwide.

CHR&R redesigned the area of our website that houses the County Health Rankings data. Users can explore our model of health, with additional context around the data and clearer connections to strategies and other action resources. Find video tutorials for new features and step-by-step guidance on how to access data and navigate the site.

Recent Webinar Recordings

Racial Healing for Health

Non-partisan Strategies to Advance Health Policy

Institute Evaluation Team Measures Impacts of City Plans on BIPOC Communities in Madison

The City of Madison contracted with the Institute to assess the impacts of using tax increment financing to implement the community-informed South Madison 2021 Neighborhood Plan. Using a community-engaged action research approach, the Institute will monitor for impacts on gentrification, wealth-building amongst Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and BIPOC entrepreneurship. Read the city’s plan today.

Exploring the Power of Youth Leadership in Creating Conditions for Health and Equity


Young people are engaging in and leading efforts to improve the social, economic, and environmental factors that influence the health and equity of communities and the nation. Dr. Sheri Johnson, Institute Director – who is a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Population Health Improvement – served as a moderator at the NASEM Roundtable. Find the recording and meeting materials here.

Envision – Advancing Community Health Workforce for Public Health Equity

Communities benefit greatly when community health workers (CHW) bridge gaps in access to public health and health care services. CHWs build stronger public health systems that advance health equity. Still, these key members of the health workforce are rarely established within institutional operations and budgets. Envision is launching a ‘Community of Transformation’ with twenty three local, state and tribal health departments to build permanent CHW positions into organizations nationwide. Follow this work at:

Lifting Community Health Workers' Voices in American Public Health Association Policy

Marcia Morales serves as the Wisconsin Community Health Workers Outreach Coordinator. She recently partnered with a group of Wisconsin CHWs to endorse the new CHW policy at APHA: A Strategy to Address Racism and Violence as Public Health Priorities. Twenty seven Wisconsin CHWs and seven CHW allies jointly reviewed and endorsed the policy. Read the policy today.

Marcia Morales, Institute's WI Community Health Workers Outreach Coordinator

New Publications

Power in Health Equity Narratives

Power is a key driver of health and equity outcomes. How can public health professionals foster and grow community power? Institute scholars joined with Human Impact Partners and Healthy Democracy Healthy People to share innovative approaches for building and shifting community power in a recent article for the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: Theory in Action: Public Health and Community Power Building for Health Equity. Authors Jonathan Heller, Olivia Little, Victoria Faust, Paula Tran, Marjory Givens, Jeanne Ayers and Lili Farhang use real-world case examples to illustrate how public health practitioners put power-building approaches into practice in government, academia and nonprofit settings. The article is also summarized in a JPHMP blog post. The Institute’s narrative work with Jonathan Heller was recently featured in the Nonprofit Quarterly’s Writing New Narratives for Health.

Evidence Clearinghouses as Tools to Advance Health Equity: What We Know from a Systematic Scan

Institute scholars Bomi Kim Hirsch, Michael Stevenson and Marjory Givens conducted a systematic scan to explore how clearinghouses communicated an intervention’s equity impact and reviewed their underlying methods and how they defined and operationalized health equity. Read more.

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