FRI AM News: UW-Madison working with community partners to recruit for health research study; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Shree Kalluri, founder and CEO of Zerology

— UW-Madison is partnering with the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association — a group striving to improve health outcomes for African American men and boys — to encourage participation in a wide-ranging research study. 

“Health research too often leaves out African Americans,” said Dr. Elizabeth Burnside, co-principal investigator for the research effort at UW-Madison. “We believe ‘All of Us’ has the potential to change this pattern and drive research discoveries that significantly improve the health of African Americans, and other underrepresented groups, in Wisconsin, for generations.”

The All of Us research program is part of a national effort to enroll over 1 million people who will provide personal health data for thousands of research studies. By gathering medical information from diverse people across the country, researchers hope to improve disease prevention and make medical breakthroughs with broad applicability. 

Aaron Perry, founder of the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association, says he hopes to “encourage other black males to join this effort to help improve the future health of our kids and our grandkids.”

Burnside says the partnership with his group will be instrumental in the program’s efforts to reach Madison’s African American community. The association includes a health education center located at JP Hair Design, the city’s largest African American barbershop. 

UW Health is partnering with the university to enroll individuals in south central Wisconsin, and JP Hair Design will serve as another partner location for recruitment and enrollment. 

Dr. Dorothy Farrar Edwards, co-principal investigator for the All of Us program at UW-Madison, says the effort wouldn’t work without guidance from community organizations that know local residents best. 

“These partnerships are vital to responsibly conveying information within the community and demonstrating that participation in health research programs, like ‘All of Us,’ helps community leaders and health researchers work toward health equity in Wisconsin and beyond,” Edwards said.

See more: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Shree Kalluri, CEO and founder of a Madison startup called Zerology. 

Kalluri and others announced this week that Zerology is partnering with Green Cab of Madison to replace the taxi cab company’s hybrid electric fleet with fully electric Tesla Model 3s. In the podcast, he explains what drove him to launch his tech startup earlier this year. 

Over the past 20 years, Kalluri has seen “phenomenal growth” in the Madison area but notes that development has led to congested freeways and rising emissions. He says partnering with Green Cab is just the first step toward revolutionizing transportation in Madison, including initiatives related to public transit in the region. 

“Madison is an amazing community,” he said. “Let’s make Madison the most sustainable city in the world — let’s show the world how it’s done.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

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

See a story from this week’s announcement: 

— The Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures Fund is dedicating $20 million for female-led startups. 

Figures released by the venture fund show startups led by women receive less than 3 percent of the $80 billion in venture capital invested globally each year. Companies founded by both men and women receive around 8 percent of that capital, while male-founded companies receive 89 percent of all VC funding every year. 

Souheil Badran, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Northwestern Mutual, says the company is committed to supporting female entrepreneurs. The Future Ventures Fund is largely aimed at companies working in financial security and other technology. 

“By investing in women-owned startups, we can create more opportunities for women through a dedication of funds, but also gain strategic insights to better serve our clients,” Badran said in a statement. “Allocating $20 million is only the beginning — we will continue to invest in and provide opportunities for female founders.” 

See the release: 

— The UW System has announced student enrollment dropped 2.6 percent in 2019 compared to last year.

But the UW System said its overall share of higher ed enrollment in the state rose from 48.6 percent to 50.8 percent since 2010.

“These preliminary enrollment numbers were not unexpected given the demographic trends,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “It demonstrates more than ever the need for investing in student success and building the talent pipeline to deliver the graduates Wisconsin needs.”

In a release, UW points to low rates of high school graduation and unemployment driving a national trend of lower enrollment in higher education. 

UW System Regent President Andrew Petersen says the system’s graduation numbers are “a bright spot” for employers and communities in the state. The release shows UW System had a record 36,825 graduates in 2017-18. 

But preliminary fall 2019 enrollment for the system was down 4,450 students compared to last year. Overall enrollment across all branch campuses dropped by more than 25 percent, while new freshman enrollment fell less than a percent. 

Still, graduate student enrollment increased 1.6 percent with nearly 400 more students. 

While the state’s population has been growing, that trend is mostly due to an aging population rather than younger people being born or moving into the state, according to a recent Wisconsin Policy Forum report.

The report shows the state’s working-age population has declined in the last four consecutive years.

Read the report:

See a breakdown of enrollment by campus: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has established a Task Force on Climate Change through an executive order.

The task force will collaborate with the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy, created by the Dem guv’s Executive Order 38, to advance a climate strategy by August 2020.

The Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy is tasked with ensuring all energy production in the state is “100 percent carbon-free” by 2050.

“For too long we’ve been ignoring science, and frankly, we can’t afford to do it any longer,” Evers said in an announcement yesterday at the Urban Ecology Center’s Riverside Park location in Milwaukee. “It’s time for us to deliver on the promise to our kids that we’re leaving them a better life and world than the one we inherited.”

Evers appointed Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, D-Milwaukee, as the task force’s chairperson.

The task force will also include: three members of Evers’ cabinet or their representatives; a member from each of the four legislative caucuses; several representatives from utilities; environmental advocates; and others. 

Read Exec. Order 52:

See the release, which includes the full list of task force members:

— Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has again risen by one-tenth of a percentage point, reaching 3.2 percent in September, according to the latest federal jobs numbers from DWD.

The uptick follows August’s rate of 3.1 percent, which broke a 13-month streak of the rate holding at or below 3 percent.

DWD’s release shows Wisconsin lost a net 6,800 manufacturing jobs since September 2018. Manufacturers of nondurable goods such as food and clothing reported a gain of 100 jobs over the period with all of the losses reported by durable goods manufacturers who produce products such as equipment and machinery.

The state’s unemployment rate for September is 0.3 percent lower than the national rate of 3.5 percent.

See the release:

— DHS is now tracking 76 confirmed or probable cases of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping, with 14 more cases being investigated. 

At least 28 vaping-associated deaths have been confirmed in 21 states, though no deaths have been reported in Wisconsin. More than 1,300 cases have been found around the country. 

Track the state-level investigation here: 

— UW-Madison has named its first director of tribal relations: Aaron Bird Bear, a university graduate and current assistant dean for the School of Education’s student diversity programs. 

In his new role, Bird Bear will be part of the university’s Office of University Relations, which handles relationships with businesses as well as various governments, now including the 12 First Nations in Wisconsin. 

“I sincerely embrace the tenets of respect, revitalization and reconciliation forwarded by Indigenous scholars as I begin to collaborate on behalf of UW-Madison with the Native American nations and communities of Wisconsin,” he said in a release. 

See more: 

— As uncertain trade negotiations play out at the national level, farmers in Wisconsin are just trying to make it through a tough year. 

“There’s a lot of uncertainty this year,” said Paul Mitchell, director of the Renk Agribusiness Institute. He joined a panel of experts Thursday at UW-Platteville for a discussion on the struggles facing farmers in the state. 

This year’s wet spring led to many acres of farmland going unplanted, and raised questions about how much could be harvested. Mitchell said most of the state’s crops have been about two weeks behind schedule all summer, and the prolonged wet conditions have prompted concerns about the quality of this year’s crops. 

Issues like these are causing rapid fluctuations in the price of corn and other agricultural products, panelists said. But Charles Irish, the emeritus Volkman-Bascom professor of Law and former director of the East Asian Legal Studies Center, said “don’t bet on” President Trump’s recent claim that he’s struck a deal with China for up to $50 billion in U.S. agricultural exports. 

“The problem is, the Chinese haven’t confirmed that they have agreed to $50 billion… They haven’t mentioned a number,” Irish said, adding that exports figure would be “higher than ever.” 

Irish said U.S. ag exports to China were near $29 billion around six years ago, and have held under $10 billion for the past year or so. He says a number of reasons are behind this larger trend, with the trade war only being one of them. 

For one, the African Swine Flu has caused a slowdown in Chinese consumption of pork products that won’t be fixed with a trade agreement. And as U.S. share of Chinese ag markets has slipped away, Irish says Brazil and Argentina have stepped in to fill the demand. 

On top of that, President Trump is reportedly still planning to impose an additional 15 percent tariffs on more than $150 billion in Chinese goods in mid-December. 

“He hasn’t agreed to not impose the tariffs,” Irish said. “So the Chinese are saying… we’ve got a way to go before we are really committed to making significant agricultural purchases.” 

Mitchell said this year has been defined by uncertainty in both the weather and national policy. 

“There’s a lot of stress out there,” he said. “I think a lot of farmers would love to get this year over with. This has been a bad year.” 

Listen to the full discussion here: 


# Wisconsin unemployment up for fourth straight month

# Millions at stake in legal fight over Waukesha business that’s yet to be sold

# Northwestern Mutual allocating $20M of corporate venture capital dollars to women-led startups

# Police: Racine man will be 5th person charged in alleged lucrative vape manufacturing case



– Wisconsin farmers, ethanol producers say EPA proposal won’t ensure needed demand


– Oak Creek wants commitments from USPS on mail center

– On the level: Contractor CG Smith finds success comes from much more than a name

– Madison would spend less on capital projects in 2020, still put money toward public market


– Annex Wealth Management to provide financial literacy services at UW-Madison

– UW-Madison to begin testing 3D weapons detection system on campus next year


– Food with flare on menu at Ash inside the Iron Horse Hotel: Slideshow


– Health care expo highlights career opportunities for Milwaukee Public Schools students


– Northwestern Mutual to dedicate $20 million in VC investment for female-founded startups


– Madison executive was biggest investor in $53M fund facing fraud allegations


– MSO makes final push in $139 million Warner Grand Theatre project campaign


– First RFPs issued for 2020 DNC


– Professional Supply planning expansion of Sheboygan facility


– BlackBear Children’s Boutique finds permanent home in Shorewood


– UW scores platinum status for bicycle friendliness


– Caleb Frostman: Successful workforce recruitment, retention starts with pay, benefits

– Tom Still: Healthy startup communities benefit when entrepreneurs cash out


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