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Co-designing to advance community health and health equity in Wisconsin: Building the Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program

Coworkers brainstorming with sticky notesThe Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program (NHP) is a part of the University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR). ICTR exists to create an environment that speeds the translation of research into real-life community practice, paving the way to health improvement. One method of increasing the speed of translating research into practice is engaging communities. Effective engagement requires a shared understanding of community health care quality and outcomes. Creating this shared understanding can be challenging without timely and accurate local health data, or ways to provide the data that are directly applicable to improving community health. NHP offers the promise of shared understanding through accurate local health data, but success is dependent on the adoption of program assets by both researchers and community stakeholders.

In this publication members of the NHP team discuss how we executed a co-design program with researchers and community stakeholders to build reports, data-to-action tools, and a dissemination model that could be adopted and utilized by all stakeholders in health and health equity improvement efforts.

Register Now for the February 24 COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach and Communications Webinar

Using Local Data to Plan and Prioritize COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach and Communications in Wisconsin Communities
February 24, 2021 | 4:00pm – 4:45pm CST
Featuring: Jessica Bonham-Werling, Director, ICTR Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program

COVID-19 vaccination may be off to a slow start, but soon supply levels will rise and processes will be streamlined. Thoughtfully designed outreach with well-crafted messages will be of the utmost importance to ensure enough people are vaccinated to put us on the path to population immunity and long-term protection from the disease. As decision-makers plan and implement vaccination campaigns, understanding the risk of death (mortality) from COVID-19 and potential barriers to vaccine uptake by ZIP code will be valuable in building effective communication and outreach plans in each community.

With this in mind, UW Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program (NHP) partnered with the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) and researchers at the UW Health Innovation Program (HIP) to develop a tool that will help community-level decision makers prioritize their COVID-19 vaccination outreach in Wisconsin communities. In this webinar, Jessica Bonham-Werling, Director of NHP and Associate Director of Research Operations at HIP will dive into this innovative new approach.

For more information, contact Jessica Bonham-Werling.

UW researchers develop tool to help prioritize, plan COVID-19 vaccine outreach and communications

COVID-19 scatter plotCOVID-19 vaccination may be off to a slow start, but soon supply levels will rise and processes will be streamlined. Thoughtfully designed outreach with well-crafted messages will be of the utmost importance to ensure enough people are vaccinated to pave the way to population immunity and long-term protection from the disease.

With this in mind, leaders of the UW Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program (NHP) partnered with the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) and researchers at the UW Health Innovation Program (HIP) to develop a tool that will help community-level decision makers prioritize their COVID-19 vaccination outreach in Wisconsin communities. The tool, available at https://nhp.wisc.edu/covid-19/, estimates the relative risk of COVID-19 mortality and potential barriers to COVID-19 vaccination in many Wisconsin ZIP codes. Jessica Bonham-Werling, Director of NHP and Associate Director of Research Operations at HIP spearheaded the effort.

“While public health and health care communicators and marketers have been running flu vaccination campaigns for years, the urgency and importance of getting people vaccinated for COVID-19 will present a new challenge,” according to Bonham-Werling. “We have built a tool that will help target outreach and guide the development of messages that meet specific community needs to motivate people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

The relative risk of COVID-19 mortality for each ZIP code was calculated using electronic health record data, voluntarily provided by over 20 Wisconsin health systems to WCHQ. The team produced a similar analysis earlier in the pandemic, but this update was created using a risk calculator that was recently published by Johns Hopkins University researchers in Nature Medicine based on all the knowledge that has been gained about COVID-19 risk factors. This calculator uses sociodemographic factors and information on pre-existing conditions to predict death from COVID-19.

“Wisconsin health systems and medical clinics are committed to protecting the people living in their communities, but we can’t help those we cannot reach,” according to WCHQ President and CEO Gabrielle Rude, Ph.D. “The fight to beat this virus requires new tools that not only identify areas of the state with people who are most at risk, but that also enable our health systems and public health professionals to develop outreach strategies that help us communicate with those who are hard to reach.”

Potential barriers to COVID-19 vaccination were calculated for each ZIP code using seasonal flu vaccination data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Health. There are many potential barriers to seasonal influenza vaccination, including rates of insurance coverage, access to health care and concern about vaccine safety and efficacy. While there are important distinctions between COVID-19 and seasonal flu vaccination, flu vaccination rates can help health professionals anticipate the challenges ahead and plan accordingly.

The tools were developed by NHP, a part of the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, with funding provided by the Wisconsin Partnership Program.

Website: https://nhp.wisc.edu/

Contact: Jessica Bonham-Werling; (608) 263-2667; jessica.bonhamwerling@wisc.edu

Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program Pilot Launch

NHP LogoWe are pleased to announce the pilot launch of the UW ICTR Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program (NHP).

Finding timely and accurate local health data – health information at the sub-county level – is a challenge we all face when prioritizing, scoping, implementing and evaluating health and health equity work. Health information is often only available at the county level or higher. Neighborhoods within counties are heterogeneous, and sub-county data can offer insight into patterns of health inequities and help identify local factors that can promote health and well-being.

To that end, NHP is piloting a new set of reports that provide information on a variety of health outcome and care measures at the ZIP code level. Available measures cross the continuum of care, including wellness, prevention, risk factors for chronic disease, and chronic disease management. We are also piloting a set of action tools to support communities and partners in understanding and using these measures to collaborate, form partnerships, and take evidenced-based action.

The data in or reports is made possible through a partnership with the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), a collaborative of health systems throughout the state that publicly report standardized quality measures to improve healthcare quality and affordability.

The NHP reports and tools have a variety of potential uses for collaborations between community organizations, government agencies, researchers and health systems. They can be used to identify disparities in care and health status, target communities in need, develop and evaluate programs, and provide data to support advocacy and grant applications.

Reports can be requested through any of our pilot NHP Navigator organizations including:

Thank you to our sponsors, the Wisconsin Partnership Program and the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research for making this work possible. And thank you to our partners at the UW Population Health Institute, the Collaborative Center for Health Equity, and the Health Innovation Program for helping to design, build and launch the pilot reports and tools.

Our pilot will run through March 2021. During this period we will be focusing on testing the reports, tools and dissemination processes and welcome all feedback!

If you would like any additional information or have feedback, contact the NHP Program Director, Jessica Bonham-Werling at jessica.bonhamwerling@wisc.edu.