Current Engaged Research and Evaluation Projects

The Evaluation Group  partners with community, tribal, school, and governmental organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate their programs. Our portfolio of evaluation projects reflects the full range of systems and health factors that contribute to population health outcomes. 

Click here to learn more about Redirecting the River of Substance Use in Wisconsin Interventions in Partnership with UWPHI

Click below to learn more about some of our current projects.

Behavioral Health- Prevention and Treatment

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Emergency COVID-19 Project

The Emergency COVID-19 Project is a 16-month SAMHSA-funded project that provides direct treatment services to individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), individuals with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and individuals with co-occurring SMI and SUD who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency COVID-19 Project will also provide direct treatment supports to individuals with needs less than SMI, as well as for health care professionals directly impacted by COVID-19, including first responders and professionals working to support others through this crisis. The Emergency COVID-19 Project will incorporate a variety of strategies to provide treatment and support to individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will be implemented at several sites throughout Wisconsin. UWPHI will provide technical assistance to support the implementation of the strategies, as well as monitoring and evaluation to document program activities.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI), Hogeterp, Linnan, Skalitzky, Walsh-Felz

Implementation Partners: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Funder: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Project AWARE

The purposes of the Wisconsin AWARE project are to make schools safer, improve school climates, increased capacity to identify warning signs of mental health problems among children and make appropriate referrals to mental health care, and increase capacity of the state and local education agencies to connect children and youth with behavioral health issues with needed services. The UW Population Health Institute’s evaluation of this project allows the communities to accurately track mental health referrals and service delivery, as well as providing technical assistance to the participating communities, Adams-Friendship & Ashland School Districts.

Evaluation Staff: Nuñez (PI), Amos, Taber

Southwestern Wisconsin Behavioral Health Partnership

The South Western Community Action Program (SWCAP) is one of 10 community coalitions to win an award under a new statewide initiative of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). The initiative’s goal is the statewide improvement of behavioral health, physical health of those with behavioral health conditions, and prevention and healthcare resources. SWCAP will work with a multi-sector coalition of partners to expand access to care in the five-county region that includes Iowa, Grant, Green, Lafayette, and Richland counties. Potential strategies include some combination of enhancing tele-mental health capacity, supporting primary care physicians via trainings and access to specialist consultants, and increasing the number of health care professionals offering mental health services. This is an eight-year initiative, the first year dedicated to implementation planning. UWPHI is the contracted evaluator on the project and will also serve as academic partner.

Evaluation Staff: Feder, Markeland

Implementation Partners: Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program

Funder: Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program

Southwestern Wisconsin Recovery Pathways

The Southwestern Wisconsin Recovery Pathways program will pilot a way to more effectively utilize and coordinate existing community resources to build a sustainable model of coordinated access to a range of medical, physical, emotional, social and economic wraparound services and resources to people in recovery from opioid addiction and, thereby, improve their chances of sustained recovery.  Sober-living housing will support sobriety, and job training, placement services, access to public programs, and other resources will support reintegration into the community. The program will pilot this model in two rural southwestern Wisconsin counties.

Evaluation Staff: Feder, Markeland

Implementation Partners: Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program

Funder: Wisconsin Partnership Program

State Opioid Response (SOR) 2

The State Opioid Response grant aims to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment; reducing unmet treatment needs; and reducing opioid overdose related deaths through prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. UWPHI provides training and technical assistance to support program implementation, as well monitoring and evaluation services around program data.

Evaluation staff: Linnan (PI), Skalitzky, Walsh-Felz, LaFayette, Amos, Hogeterp

Funder: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) via Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success 2019

This SAMHSA funded prevention grant is aimed at reducing use of alcohol, marijuana, and electronic cigarettes among youths ages 9-20. The grant provides funding to seven substance abuse prevention coalitions in Milwaukee County to implement prevention strategies and behavioral health and wellness activities.

Evaluation Staff: Linnan (PI), Joyner

Implementation Partners: Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Oak Creek AODA Task Force, Greendale/Hales Corners Community Alliance, Healthiest Cudahy Collaboration, West Allis-West Milwaukee Community Coalition, West Allis-West Milwaukee Family Resource Center, and Volition Franklin

Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT)

Here is a description for MHAT:

Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) is a SAMHSA funded grant that was awarded to Community Advocates, Inc. MHAT provides training to Milwaukee County residents who are at risk of experiencing or experiencing mental health issues and have been traditionally under-served by the mental health system. The program focuses on training the target population, as well as their personal networks, human service professionals, first responders, and community stakeholders. This program provides trainings to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, de-escalation techniques, and links to referrals for appropriate services. UWPHI is conducting the evaluation of this program.

Evaluation staff: Linnan

Funder: SAMHSA via Community Adovcates

Behavioral Health in Criminal Justice Populations

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Rusk County Drug & Alcohol Court

The Rusk County Drug and Alcohol Court is a post-conviction hybrid court that provides individuals with drug and alcohol use disorders diversion from justice system involvement by providing assessment, referrals to treatment, case management, and connections to other needed resources. UWPHI staff will use their expertise to provide a comprehensive evaluation that will measure program effectiveness, alignment with state and national best practice standards, and program successes, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. Results of the comprehensive evaluation will be used for ongoing program improvement and sustainability planning. The evaluation will be funded by the WI Department of Justice Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Program (TAD) and Rusk County during 2022.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI), Hogeterp

Funder: Wisconsin Department of Justice and Rusk County

Dane County Deferred Prosecution Opioid Diversion Program

The Dane County District Attorney’s Office Deferred Prosecution – Opioid Diversion Program (DPP-O) is a pretrial diversion program that provides individuals with opioid and methamphetamine use disorders with pre- and post-charging diversion from justice system involvement by providing assessment, referrals to treatment, case management, and connection to other needed resources. Enhancing the program through the use of program evaluation support will provide the opportunity for program services and practices to more closely conform to evidence-based standards and practices through fidelity assessment and will allow for the use of data for ongoing program improvement. Funded by the WI Department of Justice Treatment Alternatives and Diversion Program (TAD)from 2022-2026.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI)

Funder: Wisconsin Department of Justice

Pathways to Recovery (a Madison and Dane County Initiative)

The Madison Police Department received a three-year grant to improve public safety and health in Madison and Dane County by diverting drug-addicted individuals from the criminal justice system through a framework of treatment referral and engagement. The Pathways to Recovery initiative will include proactive naloxone distribution, outreach with quick responses to incidents at the emergency room, and creation of safe stations at fire stations and other public facilities to provide assistance to individuals seeking help. The evaluation includes technical assistance with program development, evaluation plan development and implementation, the use of evaluation results for program improvement, and a summary of evaluation results. The grant is funded by The Bureau of Justice Assistance from 2019-2022.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI), Taber

Implementation Partners: Madison Police Department, Madison Fire Department, Public Health Madison Dane County, and Dane County Department of Human Services

Funder: The Bureau of Justice Assistance

Saint Paul Mental Health Response Team

The Saint Paul Police Department and the Ramsey County Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health Crisis Program received a three-year grant to implement a Mental Health Response Team serving the City of St. Paul, Minnesota. The Mental Health Response Team will use a co-responder model to connect individuals with mental health issues with services as a way to divert people from the cycle of incarceration. The evaluation includes technical assistance with program development, evaluation plan implementation, and assistance with data infrastructure. The grant is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance from 2019-2021.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI)

Implementation Partners: The City of St. Paul, the St. Paul Police Department, and the Ramsey County Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health Crisis Program

Funder: The Bureau of Justice Assistance

Saint Paul Recovery Access Program

The Saint Paul Police Department received a three-year grant (2020-2023) to expand their Recovery Access Program operating in the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Recovery Access Program seeks to decrease overdose deaths by proactively investigating drug trends and providing resources to individuals who have experienced an overdose. The Recovery Access Program will connect individuals who may be experiencing chemical dependency with community-based resources via a co-responder model and will provide education and awareness for the family and friends of individuals experiencing chemical dependency. The Recovery Access Program will also include a Drug Surveillance Program and the use of the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP).  The evaluation includes technical assistance with evaluation plan development and implementation, assistance with monitoring and continuous quality improvement, and assistance with data infrastructure.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (PI)

Implementation Partners: The City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Police Department

Funder: The Bureau of Justice Assistance

Child & Family Health Promotion Programs

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Breaking the Cycle Wraparound Program

RISE Wisconsin is implementing the Breaking the Cycle Wraparound Program as a one-year pilot program that is designed to support the siblings and families of youth involved in the Youth Justice System. RISE will use a family-centered, collaborative team, and strengths-based approach to connect siblings and families with services that will create a path to wellness and success. UWPHI staff will use their expertise to provide support with evaluation planning and implementation, with the goal of using results for ongoing program improvement and sustainability planning. This work is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance during 2022.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (Co-PI), Vigna (Co-PI)

Implementation Partners: RISE Wisconsin, Madison Police Department

Funder: The Bureau of Justice Assistance

Fit Families

Fit Families is a child obesity prevention program targeting parents of 2 to 4 year old children at Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Projects around Wisconsin. In FY2016, 26 WIC Program Agencies participated in Fit Families.  The overall project goals include increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, decreasing intake of sweetened beverages and juice, increasing daily physical activity, and decreasing screen time to reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese.  Fit Families is funded by USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education.

Evaluation Staff: Weymouth (PI), Joyner, Taber

Link: https://uwphi.pophealth.wisc.edu/programs/evaluation-research/fit-families/index.htm

Tribal Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention

Tribal PREP is an adolescent pregnancy prevention program implemented in two tribal communities in Wisconsin. UWPHI has been contracted as the evaluators, in partnership with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC). Tribal PREP is a 5-year grant that seeks to decrease adolescent birth and STI rates, improve youth self-efficacy, and promote positive youth development.

Evaluation Staff: Weymouth (PI), Amos

Funder: U.S. Administration for Children and Families via Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council

Team Nutrition Training Grant for Innovative State Training Programs

Through the 2019-2022 Wisconsin Team Nutrition Training Grant for Innovative State Training Programs, Team Nutrition at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) seeks to expand their Goal Oriented Achievement Learning Skills (GOALS) Training Certification Program. This program provides school nutrition professionals with opportunities to meet USDA professional standards objectives, receive knowledge and skills specific to their job description, and provide recognition to school nutrition professionals that demonstrate competency. UWPHI assists with a comprehensive descriptive evaluation of the expansion of the training program that incorporates process and outcome methodologies.

Evaluation Staff: Weymouth (PI), Skalitzky

Implementation Partners: Wisconsin Team Nutrition, Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

Funder: United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) via Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

USDA Nutrition Education and Promotion

Through the 2017-2020 Wisconsin Team Nutrition Training Grant (WI TNTG), the Wisconsin (WI) Department of Public Instruction (DPI) seeks to provide schools with training and resources to assist students participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Specifically, this grant will provide: a) training to school nutrition professions, b) nutrition education to K-12 students, and c) technical assistance to school staff to strengthen their school wellness policies. UWPHI will assist with a comprehensive evaluation including quasi-experimental methodologies to explore change in students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors over time.

Evaluation Staff: Weymouth (PI), Skalitzky

Implementation Partners: Wisconsin Team Nutrition, Department of Public Instruction 

Funder: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) via Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Link: https://dpi.wi.gov/team-nutrition

Evaluation of Wisconsin’s Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)

This grant supports independent monitoring and evaluation of positive youth development programs administered through Wisconsin’s implementation of the federal PREP program.

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg, Nuñez, Raygor

Funder: U.S. Administration for Children & Families, via Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Evaluation of Wisconsin’s Title V State Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) Program

This grant supports independent monitoring and evaluation of positive youth development programs administered through Wisconsin’s implementation of the federal SRAE program.

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg, Nuñez, Raygor

Funder: U.S. Administration for Children & Families, via Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Connect Rx (previously Healthy Black Families Dane County and Thrive Dane)

The Dane County Health Council will develop a model of care coordination aimed at reducing disparities in African American birth outcomes by improving how health systems and social services engage with African American families. The initiative will focus on four priorities: implement a universal risk screener; support leadership by Black families; train community health workers and doulas to partner with health system care teams; and coordinate clinical and community referrals and resources. The initiative’s long-term goal is to eliminate racial disparities in infant mortality and low birthweight as well as support overall family well-being.

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg

Funder: Wisconsin Partnership Program, Schmidt Futures, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Graduate Research and Education

Community Health Promotion

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Downtown Public Safety Initiative: A Welcoming and Safe Downtown for All

The UWPHI Evaluation Research group will be supporting a community-based, crime reduction project over the course of three years with the support of a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) grant between 2021-2023. The Downtown Public Safety Initiative will focus on identifying a community-driven action plan for reducing violence crime that centers the voices of those most impacted by violent crime in downtown Madison. UWPHI staff will use their expertise in community engagement, action research, and evaluation research to help partners conduct root cause analyses, construct theories of change, select evidence-based interventions, monitor progress, and measure the impacts of community-based efforts on violent crime.

Evaluation Staff: Goodrich (co-PI), Vigna (co-PI)

Implementation Partners: City of Madison Community Development Division, Madison Police Department, Public Health Madison Dane County, Downtown Madison, Inc., and Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc.

Funder: The Bureau of Justice Assistance

Legacy Community Alliance for Health

A dynamic collaboration of Wisconsin local governments, state agencies, academic partners, and nonprofit groups have joined forces to create the Legacy Community Alliance for Health. The collaborative has been awarded a $1 million Community Impact Grant to improve health and health equity through local government policymaking and programming. The five-year project will build capacity within participating municipalities to improve health and health equity using data, evaluation, and evidence-informed policymaking processes. The goal is to help communities achieve gains in at least one of four policy areas of interest: clean water, active transportation, safe and affordable housing, and healthy and affordable local food systems. Each community will choose its own policy approach.

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg (PI), Faust

Funder: Wisconsin Partnership Program

Link: http://greentiercommunities.org/legacy-community-alliance-for-health/

Evaluation of Wisconsin’s Rape Prevention & Education (RPE) Program

This grant supports independent monitoring and evaluation of sexual violence prevention programs administered through Wisconsin’s implementation of the federal RPE program.

Evaluation Staff: Vigna, Lindberg

Funder: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Policy & Systems Change Evaluation Projects

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Innovative State and Local Public Health Strategies to Prevent and Manage Diabetes and Heart Disease and Stroke

UWPHI has been contracted by the Department of Health Services to support rigorous evaluation that builds the evidence base for innovative strategies to mitigate the burden of diabetes and heart disease. UWPHI evaluators will support Wisconsin’s Chronic Disease Prevention Program s through the design, testing, and evaluation of novel approaches aimed at reducing risks and complications in high burden populations and communities. One focus of the evaluation will be a novel, comprehensive approach to increase enrollment in the National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program in Eau Claire County through development of bi-directional e-referral systems, creation and testing of tailored promotional messages, development of a peer learning network for Lifestyle Coaches, exploration and development of solutions to eliminate participation barriers, and the testing of telehealth models to best serve this rural population. A second focus of the evaluation will be to test the Pathways Community HUB model as a comprehensive, data-driven approach for cardiovascular disease prevention and management. The HUB will improve care coordination through the use of community health workers and provide strong infrastructure for evaluation and assessment. The innovative nature of the HUB targets high-burden populations by addressing social determinants of health, encourages value-based payment structures, and increases community-clinical linkages and bi-directional referrals for cardiovascular disease management and prevention. 

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg (PI)

Funder: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Community Academic Aging Research Network

The Community Academic Aging Research Network (CAARN) is expanding strategies to support authentic partnership between community and academic partners engaged in collaborative research.  CAARN is interested in building partners’ capacity to use key principles and practices that are known to support successful community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnerships. UWPHI is partnering with CAARN in the evaluation of these efforts. Data from multiple stakeholders and multiple methods will be combined to understand the extent to which CBPR principles are working in the CAARN network, among its staff and leadership, and among affiliated research teams.

Evaluation Staff: Lindberg

Funder: National Institutes of Health

Wisconsin Family Resource Center Infrastructure Grant

UWPHI has been contracted by the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board (Prevention Board) to complete an evaluation of the Family Resource Center (FRC) Infrastructure Development Grant. This grant was created to strengthen and expand the network of FRCs and promote optimal well-being of children and families in Wisconsin. UWPHI evaluators will work collaboratively with the Prevention Board and other key stakeholders to conduct an evaluation of the strategic processes for developing a uniform infrastructure and building the capacity of FRCs to offer high-quality evidence-based or evidence-informed programming and support services to families across the state. Currently, the project includes 10 FRCs throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Evaluation Staff: Núñez (PI), Manzanares

Funder: Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board

Recovery Residences that Work: Building Quality through Accreditation Standards Statewide

This project addresses the persistent, high levels of substance use disorders in Wisconsin by developing accreditation and quality improvement systems to promote practice standards for recovery residences, attending to the wide variation and adverse outcomes in current practice. Operator education and quality improvement metrics support residents, improving health and recovery outcomes.

Evaluation staff:  Feder, Markeland

Partners:  WisHope and Katinka Hooyer, MCW

Funder:  Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment

Census to Census (C2C)

The City of Madison has contracted with UW PHI to assess the impacts of using tax increment financing to implement the community-informed South Madison 2021 Neighborhood Plan over the course of the next 10 years. Using a community-engaged action research approach, UW PHI will be monitoring for impacts on gentrification, BIPOC wealth building, and BIPOC entrepreneurship.

Evaluation Staff: Vigna

Funder: City of Madison