Background and Mission of the Institute

The Institute has existed in various organizational forms since 1984, adopting its current name and structure as the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in 2005. The Institute’s work is led by a team of experts well-recognized in their fields, and is guided by an active Advisory Board of policy and practice leaders, and an Executive Committee of faculty. The Institute is closely linked with the Department of Population Heath Sciences, and is a member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes.

Mission:  We accelerate capacity to create equitable conditions for everyone to be healthy by advancing knowledge, practice, policy and system change across sectors.

The UW Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health.

A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those within the university and those in the policy and practice arena.

Our goals are to:

  • Address a broad range of real-world, health-related problems of topical interest and stakeholder relevance;
  • Promote partnerships between researchers and users of research, encouraging collaboration between the academic community and those engaged in practice and policy within both the public and private sectors;
  • Evaluate programs and policies to support quality improvement, promote accountability, and seek evidenced-based solutions;
  • Build the knowledge base of effective programs and policies;
  • Provide learning opportunities for practitioners and students; and
  • Contribute to policy decisions and program implementations that improve health and well-being for all.

Research Informs Practice; Practice Informs Research

Partners and Stakeholders: Public health departments, business leaders, educators, philanthropy and investors, advocates, government (tribal, state, local), health care providers, purchasers, and payers, and the general public.

Products: Original research, community engaged programming and training, reports, searchable databases, issue briefs, program evaluations, webinars, briefings and conferences.

Major Programs and Products

  • County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
     The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize help communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their homes, schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what is making people sick or healthy. The Roadmaps show what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) collaborates with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) to bring this program to towns, cities, and counties across the nation.
  • Evaluation Research
    The Evaluation Research group works in partnership with community, tribal, university, and governmental organizations through the development, implementation, and evaluation stages of their programs. Our projects focus on substance abuse prevention and treatment; maternal and child health; school-based health; correctional health; and related areas. We use a broad range of methods, from qualitative and descriptive techniques to complex experimental and quasi-experimental trials. We also engage in rigorous intervention research design and evaluation.
  • Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health
    The MATCH group focuses on assessing population health and working with communities to help them a) identify opportunities for improving community health and b) find and implement evidence-based programs and policies to address these issues. We provide a variety of tools and resources to assist communities in Wisconsin and throughout the United States.