FRI AM News: New report documents health disparities between populations in the state; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Lisa Johnson, CEO for BioForward

— A new report from the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality documents health disparities in the state for individuals with various types of health insurance coverage. 

It also breaks down disparities among ethnic groups and for urban and rural residents. 

“This information makes it possible to benchmark current performance and measure progress over time,” said Matt Gigot, WCHQ director of performance measurement and analysis.  

Report authors say health disparities related to health insurance coverage may be linked to variation in coverage, co-pays or deductible amounts, or the cost of care. 

Individuals with commercial insurance were less likely to be below recommended weight levels, while those with Medicare had lower cervical cancer screening. 

Patients with Medicaid or who were uninsured had lower rates of childhood vaccinations, breast and colon cancer screening, depression screening and attainment of recommended weight. Of those in this category with diabetes, blood sugar control was lower. 

The report also found individuals on Medicaid had lower blood pressure control and lower rates of being tobacco-free if they had diabetes or heart disease. And uninsured individuals had much lower rates of HPV vaccination. 

The WCHQ report highlighted disparities for rural and urban areas, though none of these differences amounted to “substantial disparities” based on the group’s definition. Still, rural areas tended to have lower rates of adolescent immunizations, while urban areas had lower rates of depression screening. 

See more:  

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Lisa Johnson, CEO for BioForward Wisconsin. 

She discusses the upcoming Wisconsin Biohealth Summit and provides an update on an initiative first launched in 2017 called Women in Biohealth. 

The initiative held nine events last year covering professional development and networking within the industry, and more events are being held this year. 

“And actually making them also connect with women outside of their companies, so they’re understanding how important that is to advance their careers,” she said. “We’re getting a lot of interest from elsewhere in the country about what we’ve done, because it was ground-up. It wasn’t some big national organization… We did this on our own.” 

The annual Wisconsin Biohealth Summit showcases what biotech and biohealth companies in the state are doing, with a focus on the future of the industry. The event is being held Oct. 2 in Madison. 

“We’re also bringing in people from the outside, that we think are good compliments to some of these individuals, that can expand on some of our topics like imaging alongside artificial intelligence,” she said. “We don’t want to stay just in our own little world in Wisconsin. We also want to hear about what’s going on elsewhere.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— August apartment rental prices rose 13 percent over the year in West Allis, for the largest year-over-year increase of any Wisconsin city. 

That’s according to the latest monthly rent report from online data aggregator RentCafe. 

The average rent in West Allis for August was $1,044, rising more than $122 since this time last year. The smallest increase was in Verona, where the average rent increased 1.6 percent over the year, for an increase of about $20. 

Of the cities profiled in the report, Brookfield had the highest average rent in August, with $1,537. The lowest was in Racine, with $816. 

As shown in previous reports from RentCafe, the average rent in Wisconsin remains “generally lower” than the national average. 

See the full report: 

— The state’s unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a point to 3.1 percent in August, breaking a record 13-month streak of the rate being at or below 3 percent. 

That’s from the latest federal jobs numbers released by the state Department of Workforce Development. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is below the national rate of 3.7 percent. 

Tyler Tichenor, a DWD spokesman, says the August rate is still preliminary and subject to revision. 

The unemployment rate was 3 percent in July, compared to 2.9 percent in June. 

See the release: 

— The state Department of Health Services is now tracking 48 cases of vaping-related lung illnesses, with 13 more patients that “need further investigation.” 

The update comes as more than 500 cases of lung disease related to vaping have been identified around the country, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

This outbreak of mysterious lung illnesses has prompted the Trump administration to announce a forthcoming ban on flavored e-cigarettes. But in Wisconsin, many of the cases have been connected to vaping cartridges loaded with THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana. 

Most affected individuals in the state have been adolescents and young adults, but some older adults have been affected as well. No related deaths have been reported in the state, but seven deaths around the country have been linked to vaping. 

Track the state investigation here: 

— An assistant professor of biomedical engineering at UW-Madison is getting a four-year, $700,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for epilepsy research. 

Aviad Hai and his research team will be using newly developed brain imaging sensors to explore various types of brain seizures in epileptic patients. 

According to a release from the university, they will combine scanning capabilities of functional magnetic resonance imaging — or fMRI — with implantable sensors that can directly read electrical activity in the brain. 

“The hope is that we will soon unravel the inter-circuit emergence of seizures and their effects across the brain,” Hai said. 

Hai is an affiliate of the university’s electrical and computer engineering department, and is part of the Grainger Institute for Engineering’s neuroengineering and sensors and sensing groups. 

See more: 

— The Wisconsin Technology Council is calling on early-stage companies to apply to pitch at the upcoming Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 6-7 in Madison. 

Participating startups will have multiple opportunities to tell their story, from the Tech Council Investor Networks track to the Elevator Pitch Olympics, which challenges entrepreneurs to condense their pitches to just 90 seconds. And certain entrepreneurs will take part in curated investor introductions, placing pre-selected companies in short one-on-one meetings with investors. 

See application details and more on the event: 


# Residents concerned about PFAS contamination on farm fields in Marinette, Peshtigo area

# Festival Foods fined by state for food below weight listed on packaging

# Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation gives $1.25 million to Medical College of Wisconsin

# Freshwater to play role in branding Milwaukee during DNC



– State milk production falls, while national output rises

– CDR & WCMA awarded Dairy Business Innovation Initiative grant


– Updated design plans unveiled for Bayshore redevelopment

– Project showcase: Stitchweld apartment project weaves together old and new


– Wisconsin school chief calls achievement gap a ‘crisis’

– DPI deputy superintendent addresses state tests scores


– Eurofins breaks ground on food testing lab with hopes for growth


– Lunda, Veritas Steel battle in court over $16M claim


– Milwaukee officials back $4.5M incentive for Strauss move to Century City


– Wisconsin governor says he would mull mandatory gun buybacks

– Gov. Tony Evers renews call for ‘red flag’ gun law in Wisconsin

– Climate strike Friday includes rally outside MG&E, march to Capitol

– Pocan to chair new congressional co-op business caucus


– Three-story mixed-use building planned for downtown Sussex

– Community speaks mostly in favor of plan to save Mitchell Park domes

– Milwaukee approves money to demolish Boston Store at Northridge Mall


– New shoe store opening next week at Mayfair


– Coordination needed to update Milwaukee’s brand for DNC


– GO Riteway Acquires Lazers Bus Service


– Four Wisconsin doctors: Lawmakers should oppose ‘assisted suicide’ legislation


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Wisconsin Nurses Association: Workplace violence legislation

ABC for Health: Medical bad debt and charity care increase in Wisconsin

Northwestern Mutual: Moody’s affirms highest possible financial strength rating