Summer webinar looks at benefits of industrialized hemp

Two people working with hemp fibers to make paper

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Watch the full recording of the webinar here.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Global Health Institute (GHI) hosts a special summer Global Health Tuesday webinar on June 21 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. 

Panelists from UW-Madison, UW Health, the University of Lagos, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance will join the webinar and launch of the new report, “Industrializing Hemp to Advance the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.” They will examine opportunities for future collaborations, research and curriculum to further evaluate the social, economic, environmental and health benefits of industrializing hemp. 

photo looking up at hemp leaves against a blue sky
The view from the ground up in an industrial hemp test plot at UW-Madison’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station. (Photo by Michael P. King.)

The new report outlines how industrial hemp can contribute to the United Nations framework for a sustainable and equitable future for all. 

GHI’s Calyn Ostrowski, associate director for strategic partnerships and development, led the seed project funded by the Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment and used the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the analytical framework to evaluate industrial hemp’s benefits. She identified 54 hemp-related SDG targets to improve collaboration, research and education across sectors in Wisconsin and around the world. 

“Industrializing hemp is harvesting a new moment in healthcare, agriculture, energy, banking, technology, policymaking and more,” Ostrowski says. “As hemp unleashes a flood of potential to improve our human and planetary health, medical professionals are requesting training and evidence-based research to inform patient care. Farmers are looking for diversity of crops, access to genetics, and new ways of agriculture to combat climate change and feed the future. Governments are looking for ways to curb their carbon footprint while increasing GDP.”  

The 54 targets provide new pathways for working across disciplines and new public-private partnerships for research, education and improved policymaking at local, national and international levels, Ostrowski says. The report provides an overview of industrial hemp’s versatility and lays groundwork for collaborations, discussions and policies that target specific development indicators. 

“Academia is critical to addressing hemp’s research and education gaps, equipping a new generation of future leaders,” Ostrowski says. “The industry’s early stage affords a unique opportunity for academia to break down silos and create new approaches to development that work across systems.” 

The panelists include: 

  • Moderator: Calyn Ostrowski, GHI associate director, Strategic Partnerships & Development 
  • Omobolanle Ade-Ademilua, leader, African Centre of Excellence for Drug Research, Herbal Medicine Development and Regulatory Science, University of Lagos 
  • Lori DiPrete Brown, GHI associate director and Distinguished Teaching Faculty Civil Society and Community Studies School of Human Ecology 
  • Shelby Ellison, assistant professor, Department of Horticulture 
  • David Kiefer, medical director, UW Health Integrative Health Clinic  
  • Brian Kuhn, director, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Plant Industry Bureau
  • Rob Richard, president, Wisconsin Hemp Alliance 
  • Natalie Schmitz, assistant professor, School of Pharmacy