From tick-born disease and indigenous food to diabetes and cervical cancer, Global Health Institute grants fund projects across campus

Several people are working with plants at the edge of a forested area.

University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty, staff and graduate students plan to tackle challenges as diverse as indigenous philosophies for resilient food systems, cervical cancer screening, vitamins for children and tick-borne diseases with 25 new grants and awards from the UW-Madison Global Health Institute.

Applications for these grants and awards were submitted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and GHI is funding these projects in recognition that the work will make a positive impact on health for humans and the world and must continue. Realizing that the coronavirus will impact travel and other circumstances, the Seed Grants are two-year grants instead of the usual one. Other grant and award recipients will work with their faculty advisors, department chairs and financial specialists to determine how to carry over funds if the projects are delayed.

GHI determines recipients of the competitive grants and awards in five categories: Seed Grants, Faculty and Staff Travel Awards, Visiting Scholar Awards, Graduate Student Research Awards and Henry Anderson III Graduate Student Awards in Environmental, Occupational and Public Health. This year’s recipients come from the schools and colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Public Health, Human Ecology, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Letters & Science, Pharmacy, Education and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

The breadth of the global health projects is reflected in just a handful of the Seed Grant recipients:

  • Justin Boutilier, Ph.D., from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, will use a GHI Seed Grant to work with Sarang Deo from the Indian School of Business to develop a framework to optimize the visitation schedule of community health workers. They expect better scheduling will improve health outcomes, cost effectiveness and overall efficiency in a diabetes screening and management program in resource-deprived areas of Hyderabad.
  • For Mariaelena Huambachano, Ph.D., in the Department of Civil Society and Community Studies, a GHI Seed Grant will support conducting a base-line study on the contribution of Indigenous peoples’ knowledge of food systems and well-being to equity and sustainability. She will examine the good-living philosophies of the Mauri Ora in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Maehnaw Pewatesanony Yahpeh of the Monominee people in North America and how they can contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Sean Duffy, M.D., from the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, and his collaborators will use a GHI Seed Grant to tackle cervical cancer, a preventable and treatable illness that kills hundreds of thousands of women each year, largely in low- and middle-income countries. They will work in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala, where they have found women are eager to learn more about how to prevent cervical cancer but cannot access affordable screening or reliable follow-up.
  • Sean Schoville, Ph.D., and Susan Paskewitz, Ph.D., from the Department of Entomology, will each use Seed Grant funding to understand factors that influence the spread of tick-borne disease. “Understanding factors that influence the spread of tick-born disease is a critical problem for public health globally, as ticks expand in distribution and disease incidence increases,” Schoville writes in his abstract. Paskowitz hopes to improve disease surveillance and prevention in areas where human tick-borne diseases have been understudied.

GHI 2020 Grant and Award Recipients

Seed Grants (Read the abstracts)

“Community-based chronic disease screening and management in low-resource settings,” Justin Boutilier, Ph.D., Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, College of Engineering with Sarang Deo, Indian School of Business

”Sustainable partnership for cervical cancer screening in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala,” Sean Duffy, M.D., MPH, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health with Kevin Wyne and Taryn Valley, UW-Madison, Dana Benden, Gundersen Health System, and Alli Foreman, San Lucas

“Living well: Indigenous philosophies for global resilient food systems,” Mariaelena Huambachano, Ph.D., Department of Civil Society and Community Studies, School of Human Ecology

“Valuing life and limb: An intellectual history of discord within environmental economics,”  James Kelleher, Ph.D., Department of Medical History and Bioethics, School of Medicine and Public Health

“Tick-borne disease in South America: Casting light on neglected vector-borne diseases,” Susan Paskewitz, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with Gebbiena Bron and Jorge Osorio, UW-Madison; Maria del Pilar Fernandex, Columbia University, Brian Leydet, SUNY ESF, Yamila Romer, Emory University, and Rachel Sippy, University of Florida/ SUNY Upstate Medical University

“A global estimate of the numbers of children with incarcerated parents and their well-being,” Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, Ph.D., Department of Human Development and Family Studies, School of Human Ecology

“Improving risk assessment of emerging tick-borne diseases in North America by considering tick population biology,” Sean Schoville, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with Susan Paskewitz, UW-Madison, and Jean Tsao, Michigan State University

“Vitamin A status of children dying from multiple causes,” Sherry Tanumihardjo, Ph.D., Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences with Parminder Suchdev, Emory University

Biology of mansonellosis infecting indigenous populations in Amazonia,” Mostafa Zamanian, Ph.D., Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, with Jorge Osorio, UW-Madison, Juan Pablo Hernandiz-Ortiz, and Karl Ciuoderis Aponte, Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Colombia-Wisconsin One Health Consortium

Graduate Student Research Awards (Read the abstracts.)

“Mosquitos Y Yo: Student Scientists in Ecuador,” Chelsea Crooks, Pathobiological Science,  School of Veterinary Medicine

“Perceived racial discrimination and mental health: the role of meaning-making and residential history,” Pauline Ho, Educational Psychology, School of Education

“Culturally responsive evaluation: Ghanian farmers,” Laura Livingston, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

“Balancing Vitamin A and D intakes to optimize bone health in swine model,” Jesse Sheftel, Nutritional Sciences, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

“Health children, healthy chimps: reducing respiratory disease transmission from humans to chimpanzees,” Taylor Weary, Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine

“From uncertainty into survival: reproduction in the Sierra Leonean Ebola outbreak,” Kelsey Wright, Sociology, College of Letters & Science

Henry Anderson III Graduate Research Award (Read the abstract.)

“Effects of racial disparities on mental health in low-resource populations,” Hannah Olson-Williams, Epidemiology, School of Medicine and Public Health

Faculty and Staff Travel Awards (Read the abstracts.)

“Hepatitis B vaccination among health care workers in Jimma Hospital: Access and barriers to vaccination and post-exposure prophylaxis,” Nimrod Deiss-Yehiely, medical resident, Internal Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health; PI Dawd Siraj, M.D., MPH & TM

“Implementation of improved hand hygiene practices in Jimma University Specialized Hospital,” Meredith Kavalier, M.D., Internal Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health; PI: Daniel Shirley

“A coupled-systems framework for understanding groundwater quality; health risks; and ecosystem impacts within karst landscapes: Building an international research network between Ireland and Wisconsin,” James LaGro, Ph.D., M.S., MLA, Planning and Landscape Architecture, College of Letters & Science

“Establishing a pediatric neurology teaching curriculum in a global health environment,” Dalila Lewis, M.D., Neurology, School of Medicine and Public Health

“Hepatitis B E antigen positivity and demographics of a Hepatitis B cohort from tertiary referral laboratory in Ethiopia … examining access and barriers to vaccination,” Lindsay Matthews, medical resident, Medicine, School of Medicine and Public Health; Co-PIs: Dad Sera, M.D., MPH, TM; Hailemichael Mekonen, M.D.

“Training breast radiologists, surgeons and oncologists in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam,” Ryan Woods, M.D., MPH, Radiology, School of Medicine and Public Health

Visiting Scholar Awards (Read the abstracts.)

“Influence of indigenous bacteria on reproduction in the dengue vector Aedes Aegypti,” Kerri Coon, Ph.D., Entomology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences; visiting scholar, Sebastian Diaz Zuleta, doctoral candidate, University of Antioquia, Colombia

“UW-GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute One Health collaboration,” Ann Evenson, Family Medicine and Community Health, School of Medicine and Public Health; Visiting scholars: C. Rohit Kumar, head of National Veterinary Services, G.V. Ramana Rao, director of GVK’s Emergency Medicine Learning Center and Research

“Population health research dissemination,” Laurel Legenza, PharmD, M.S., School of Pharmacy; Visiting scholar: Renier Coetzee, PharmD, University of Western Cape, South Africa

By Ann Grauvogl/ June 3, 2020