As part of the launch of the new Global Health Institute, eight research projects will receive $40,000 grants to continue their work to advance global health through a variety of methods, including agriculture and women’s health.

University of Wisconsin Vice Provost Paul DeLuca said the institute’s initiative represents a campuswide strategy aimed at gaining understanding in the high impact area of global health. He said examples of areas of focus include how society and infrastructure affect health and the social conditions impacting health.

The institute is a merger of the Center for Global Health and Global Health Initiative

“It’s a broad spectrum effort at trying to advance our understanding and transfer of knowledge process surrounding global health,” DeLuca said.

In a UW statement, population health professor and the director of the Global Health Institute Jonathan Patz said the institute aims to get to the bottom of human health issues.

“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,” Patz said in the statement.

Jeremy Foltz, associate director of the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies, was one of the recipients chosen to receive a Global Health Institute grant.

He said his research has been looking at production of corn in southern Mali, and now his focus will shift to how the increase in agricultural production translates into an outcome for rural households.

He said the grant money from the Global Health Institute will aid in his pursuit of this research as well as the study of sustainability of agricultural production methods.

“I’ve been interested in technology change in agriculture, but the Global Health Institute is allowing me to take that next logical step to look at outcomes and measure them,” Foltz said.

Assistant anthropology professor and obstetrician Claire Wendland and assistant professor of educational policy studies Nancy Kendall also received a grant for their joint work in the area of young women’s reproductive health in Malawi.

Wendland said with the grant money their team plans to talk to young men and women in rural communities through a “community-based participatory research” approach that builds on exiting strengths in communities and connects communities with people who have solved similar issues.

She said both she and Kendall are excited about the project and that they feel it fits with the Global Health Institute’s goals of fostering sustainable relationships between UW and other places.

Focuses of other grant recipients chosen include mobile phone-disseminated health information and hypertension awareness and treatment in Latin America, according to the statement. 

During the launch tomorrow, Deluca and Patz will unveil the institute and grant recipients will speak on their research projects, the statement said. 

The event is open to the public and will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the H.F. DeLuca Forum in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.