UW School of Medicine and Public Health: Nationally honored for community service

Ian Clark

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UW School of Medicine and Public Health nationally honored for community service; ‘statewide campus’ and outreach garner award

MADISON, Wis. — Urban, rural, and everything in between: the numerous outreach and community service projects and programs undertaken by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) have earned the school the Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service. The national award is one of the highest honors among medical schools.

The award was presented to Dr. Robert Golden, dean of the SMPH, by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) at its annual meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday, Nov. 2.

“We are absolutely thrilled and extremely proud to receive this national recognition, but more than that, we are really grateful to all of our partners across the state who’ve made this possible,” said Dean Golden. “It’s wonderful to receive confirmation that our radical vision of becoming the first-ever school of medicine and public health has pushed forward the Wisconsin Idea in new and dramatic ways. While this award acknowledges what we’ve done to date, there are still important unmet needs, so we are now recommitting to our vision of elevating the health of all the people and communities in our state.”

According to the AAMC, the annual award honors a member institution for its major, long-standing organizational commitments to addressing community needs that are not being met through traditional health delivery systems.

“AAMC is proud to continue the legacy of Dr. Spike Foreman by recognizing medical schools and teaching hospitals that are elevating the health of local and global communities,” said AAMC President and CEO Dr. Darrell Kirch. “We congratulate the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health for their transformative community partnerships and programs, which have enhanced the health of people in Wisconsin and beyond.”

“It’s the people in organizations across Wisconsin that created the substance that led to this award — people like Sharon Adams of Walnut Way, and organizational partnerships in La Crosse, Marshfield, Milwaukee, and all across the state,” said Dean Golden. “This award is a confirmation of the efforts of all of our wonderful statewide collaborations.”

The AAMC is a nonprofit organization that represents all 141 accredited medical schools in the United States and 17 in Canada, and nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

“Our educational programs are committed to addressing health disparities in both rural and urban communities throughout the state of Wisconsin,” said Dr. Elizabeth Petty, senior associate dean of academic affairs at the SMPH. “To really attack health disparities and prevent issues upstream, rather than focusing only on diagnosing and treating diseases in the clinic and hospital, it’s important to not only work with individuals, but also with communities and populations to figure out what we can do to improve health that will truly make an impact in those communities.”

The SMPH is the nation’s first school of both medicine and public health, integrating the two disciplines to develop new approaches for diagnosing, treating, and preventing illness in both individuals and populations. The Wisconsin Partnership Program, which represents the far-reaching commitment of the SMPH to improve the health of the people of Wisconsin, has provided more than $128 million in grants since 2004 for programs and initiatives that encompass community-academic partnerships.