GHI grants support emergency medicine, women, palliative care and more

Professor Janet Hyde leads a 2015 GHI Seed Grant project that will reconsider how to measure women’s contributions to agriculture in countries, including Ghana, shown here.

Consider this scenario: A patient arrives in a South African emergency room burning up with fever. The symptoms could mean malaria, but the physician needs to know more.

With a 2015 Seed Grant from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute (GHI), Dr. Janis P. Tupesis from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and Dr. Mohammed Dalwai from the University of Cape Town will develop a mobile phone application that will help physicians in sub-Saharan Africa access critical information when it’s needed.

Up-to-date, local information is vital for good patient care, says Tupesis, director of Global Health Programs, Department of Emergency Medicine, and GHI-Graduate Medical Education liaison. “How do we get practical clinical practice guidelines to real people in real time?” Those clinical practice guidelines tell physicians how each hospital and region manages emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes or injured children.

Janis Training-2
Dr. Janis Tupesis, left, leads a GHI 2015 Seed Grant project that will use mobile applications to provide needed information to physicians in sub-Saharan Africa

Funding for “Mobile Emergency Guidelines Solution: Sub-Saharan Africa” was among four projects that received GHI 2015 Seed Grant Awards. The grants advance the health of humans, animals and ecosystems and provide start-up funding for projects that are likely to later quality for larger, federal grants.

This year, GHI received 34 Seed Grant proposals from across campus, and grants were awarded through a peer review process. Grantees received up to $75,000 each. GHI also awarded four Graduate Student Research Awards, three Visiting Scholar Awards and five Faculty and Staff Travel Awards. The awards went to faculty, staff and students representing fields as diverse as medicine and political science, gender and women’s studies and forest and wildlife ecology, and more.

Without the Seed Grant, the mobile application for physician information would not move forward, Tupesis says. The grant will hire programmers to establish the mobile platform, support focus groups to determine how it can work best and provide analysis of how it’s working.

“The Seed Grant brings practitioners together to address clinical needs,” Tupesis says. The finished application will be tested in South Africa, allowing physicians to upload information about diseases and regional and hospital-specific guidelines for treatment. The application also could provide information about trends that would lead to better public health interventions.

Janet Hyde, director of the Center for Research on Gender and Women, sees the 2015 Seed Grant for “Women and One Health: Empowerment of Women in Rural Agriculture” as a first step toward further grants and projects to empower women.

Photo credit: Mary Crave

The Seed Grant project will refine how women’s roles and contributions to agriculture are measured. Her team looks to broaden the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index to look at women’s access to basic needs and education, freedom from gender-based violence and aspirations. It will incorporate women’s ability to understand and pursue sustainable agricultural development, recognizing land-use, water scarcity, poor sanitation and animal management contribute to food security and health.

Expanding the index will more completely reflect what’s going on for women in terms of access and power, Hyde says. “It’ll be used by researchers, in intervention programs and, maybe, to find ways to empower women.”


Once the initial study is completed, Hyde will have enough information to pursue a federal grant for a project that benefits women in agriculture. “(The Seed Grant) gives us a toehold and establishes credibility,” she says. “It gives UW a competitive edge.”

The Seed Grant applications represented a diversity of approaches to global health from laboratory-based biomedical research to social sciences and humanities, says Tony Goldberg, GHI associate director for research. “The projects that were funded are good representations of the holistic approach that GHI advocates as we strive to improve health around the world.”

Seed Grant Recipients

  • Cynthie Anderson, assistant professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology: “System Strengthening and Human Capacity Building to Scale Up Long-Acting Reversible Contraception in Southern Ethiopia.” Working with partners at Hawassa University College of Medicine, Anderson and her UW team will work together to expand access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Anderson will build on previous success with a program in Dane County that gave free LARC access to women below the federal poverty level. “LARC empowers men and women to achieve desired family size, promotes healthy births through spacing pregnancies, and facilities allocation of scarce resources within families,” Anderson says.
  • James Cleary, associate professor, Carbone Cancer Center: “Palliative Care in Rwanda: A Pilot Study for Better Understanding and Improving Patient Treatment Through Expansion of Electronic Collection and Use of Data.” Cleary and his UW colleagues will collaborate with the Rwandan government to improve how medicines that ensure relief from severe pain and suffering are distributed.
  • Janet Hyde, Ph.D., director of the Center for Research on Gender & Women: “Women and One Health: Empowerment of Women in Rural Agriculture.”
  • Janis Tupesis, director of Global Health Programs and Academic Affairs, Department of Emergency Medicine: “Mobile Emergency Guidelines Solution: Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Graduate Student Research Awards

  • Anna Barker, MD/PhD graduate trainee, Department of Population Health Sciences: “Social Determinants of Antibiotic Misuse: A mixed-methods study in rural India”
  • Emily Cornelius, graduate assistant, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology: “Investigation of the Reservoir Competency of Two Resident Passerine Birds for West Nile virus. (black-capped chickadee and American goldfinch).
  • Jiang Matthew, graduate student, Department of Psychology: “Measuring Individual Variation in Health Concepts to Determine Health Outcomes”
  • Camilla Reuterswaerd, doctoral student, Department of Political Science: “Subnational Politics of Doctrinal Gender Policies: Backlashes to Reproductive Rights in Mexico”

Visiting Scholar Awards

  • Jean-Claude Tayari Kanyamanze, pharmaceutical supply chain director, Medical Procurement and Production Division, Rwanda Biomedical Center, Republic of Rwanda, is collaborating with the UW Pain and Policy Studies Group to improve access and availability of opioid medications in Rwanda. Host: Dr. James Cleary, director, Pain and Policy Studies Group.
  • Angeni Bheekie, University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa, is collaborating with the UW-Madison School of Pharmacy to launch a Comparative Health Systems Global Pharmacy Fellowship. Host: Connie Kraus, professor, School of Pharmacy.
  • Henok Kurabachew, director, Center of Excellence in Food and Nutrition, Hawassa University, Ethiopia, is collaborating with UW colleagues to improve health and nutrition in rural areas. Host: Dr. Girma Tefera.

By Ann Grauvogl/ July 9, 2015