Ten Mini-Grants Awarded at UW-Madison

Ten mini-grants encouraging innovation and experimentation in small-scale projects were given by the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment. The competitive grant program is open to UW–Madison faculty, staff and students. Ira Baldwin, a longtime UW teacher, researcher and administrator, served as dean of the Graduate School and the College of Agriculture and as vice president for academic affairs. Ineva Reilly Baldwin taught and served in the university administration as assistant dean of women and associate dean of the College of Letters & Science. Their endowment is one of the largest gifts ever received by UW–Madison.

The 10 mini grants awarded are:

Assessing the need for and feasibility of a workshop to improve residential care visit experiences; Project leaders: Kristin Litzelman, Human Development and Family Studies, School of Human Ecology

More than 53,000 older adults are residents of nursing home or long-term care facilities in the Wisconsin. Despite evidence that family members maintain frequent visit schedules and continue to provide emotional and functional support, we have observed that many visitors experience uncertainty about how to interact with their loved one in residential care. This may lead to shorter, less frequent, or lower quality visits, which may have impacts on both visitor and resident well-being. The overarching goal of this research is to improve patient and family well-being by enhancing the visit experience. The purpose of this proposal is to establish the need for and feasibility of a workshop educating residential care visitors about how to improve their visit experience. This information will be used to adapt and modify the course content and delivery; to establish the need for and acceptability of this type of workshop; to inform and support future research aiming to test workshop effectiveness; and to disseminate the final version of the workshop throughout the state.

Blood Lead Level Testing in Plain Newborns; Project leaders: Christine Seroogy, Dept. of Pediatrics/Allergy, Immunology & Rheumatology, SMPH

The objective of this mini-proposal is to screen Amish and Old Order Mennonite, collectively called Plain, newborns in a pilot study for elevated blood lead levels in conjunction with standard newborn screen testing at 24-48 hours of birth. Most Plain babies are born out of hospital assisted by licensed midwives or physicians in birthing centers or by community birth attendants without formal medical training. As such, many Plain communities lack the means to obtain prenatal and postnatal care. This project will offer blood lead screening in a pilot area during newborn screening using a standardized method by a trusted public health nurse. Results from this study will inform expansion of this testing for all Plain children throughout Wisconsin and establish the need for inventions to decrease lead exposure through primary prevention approaches.

Capturing Outcomes of a Community-Based Play Project Project leaders: Rebekah Willett, Information School (School of Library and Information Studies), L&S

This mini-grant project involves knowledge sharing between members of Madison Public Library (MPL) and UW–Madison in order to develop outcome-based evaluations that are appropriate for public library programs. The aim of this Baldwin-funded project is to develop methods to measure learning outcomes for A Wild Rumpus, a program that features open-ended play materials, reflective literacy practices, and education for caregivers. The resulting model of evaluation will be particularly helpful for MPL in their development of similar types of evaluation for other library programs across Madison, as well as being a model for librarians across the US. In addition, outcomes of the play program will be of interest to a variety of educators, librarians, and researchers more globally.

HEALTH LINKS: Mobile application for low-socioeconomic position patients in Wisconsin; Project leaders: Nadejda Doutcheva, Industrial and Systems Engineering, College of Engineering

Social determinants of health, such as food, housing, and transportation instability, are factors that heavily influence patient outcomes. Seeking health information through mobile apps has been linked with improved health outcomes, but current mobile apps are not designed for patients in low-socioeconomic positions (SEP). We have begun to use human factors engineering (HFE) theory and methods to create a mobile app called Health Links for both low-SEP patients in Madison who are seeking information about community resources and case managers who work with low-SEP clients. Our app will create “community resource best fits” using machine learning methods by screening app users, compiling their data, and pulling user demographics, such as location, family size, and income. The proposed project will be a proof of concept for expanding our current app to Milwaukee and Wausau for providing tailored connections to community resources for low-SEP users in all of Wisconsin. Our multidisciplinary team incudes industrial/biomedical engineers and computer scientists.

Localized Clothing Economy to Promote Sustainability; Project leaders: Giri Venkataramanan, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, and Marianne Fairbanks, Design Studies/Environmental Textiles and Design, School of Human Ecology

With globalization, fast fashion has become the standard for textile and apparel manufacturing often resulting in disposable, cheap consumer goods. Inspired by the success of the local food movement, this project looks to create a viable, sustainable alternative to the current globalized economy of clothing consumption. “Ecofriendly” and “organic” choices have become widely adopted by consumers but now the time is right to focus on closing the loop and creating the goods we consume within our local environments. This collaborative research will explore and identify opportunities for engineering, technical, and infrastructural innovation that can enable a Wisconsin-based movement in growing, designing, producing, selling and consuming locally-made clothing and textile goods. Once we identify the players we will bring them together for a symposium to begin the conversation about how we can work together to create networks, and share knowledge and spur production. As well, we will create a website database with our collected research that will reflect the consortium of makers, growers, farmers, and industry partners around the state.

Mapping Frost Potential in Wisconsin Orchards – Developing and Testing Inexpensive, Open-Source Instruments and Methods to Reduce Late-Season Frost Damage in Wisconsin Orchards and Vineyards, Project leaders: Brian Zimmerman and Grant Petty, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, College of L&S

With climate change in WI leading to earlier spring phenological events such as fruit tree budding, orchards are becoming more susceptible to late season frosts. The WI Driftless region contains varied and complex topography, and also happens to contain many of the states orchards and vineyards. This complex topography leads to the potential for varied microclimates to exist within one orchard field, especially if the trees are planted from ridge top to valley bottom. This project will mass produce a recently prototyped wireless temperature sensor so that a dense network (50 per field) can be deployed in our partners’ field (Sacia Orchards of Galesville, Wis). These temperature sensors will be used to track cold air movements through the fields during frost events, with the ultimate goal of compiling a ‘Frost Potential’ map for the orchard. This will assist with their long-term planning and management – utilizing the identified micro-climates to optimize varietal selection and planting.

Peers Empowering Peers (PEP), Project leaders: Eva Vivian, Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy

The goal of Peers Empowering Peers is to incorporate peer influence from community members to enhance learning of positive health behaviors for individuals and their families. Twelve mothers who reside in the Meadowood Community and are positive role models will be trained to serve as peer health promoters. The mothers will participate in a training program based on a CDC approved curriculum designed for African Americans called Power to Prevent: A Family Lifestyle Approach to Diabetes Prevention. The educational training program will be offered over a six-month period and will be taught by a certified diabetes educator. This training program is the first step toward the future implementation of PEP, where the newly trained peer health promoters will lead Power to Prevent sessions and activities at local churches and community centers within their own community to help community members support one another in making and sustaining healthy lifestyle behaviors.

South Madison Edible Landscape Development: Connecting Middle School Students to Each Other and Food Within Their Own Communities Through an Edible Landscape Development Program; Project leaders: Teal Staniforth and Brian Zimmerman, Community and Environmental Sociology, CALS

This project aims to bring an opportunity to the middle school students at Badger Rock Middle School to develop and implement edible landscape plantings on the south side of Madison. The Badger Rock Middle School is a public charter middle school that features an interdisciplinary program focusing on environmental sustainability. As such, agriculture makes up a portion of their curriculum, and students engage in hands-on growing activities as part of their day-to-day schooling. Working with the middle school, a small group of interested students will be invited to engage in a ‘capstone’ project led by the members of this proposal, who will provide mentoring, guidance, and support in collaboration with the students’ teachers. The students will select local areas available for edible plantings, develop a plan, apply for a permit from the city, and upon approval, install the edible landscape. Part of the plan development will include an ‘awareness campaign’ to inform local residents about the project while encouraging community involvement and harvesting. If the project concludes successfully, attempts will be made to bring this project to other middle schools in the area and increase the amount of edible landscape plantings to areas with restricted access to healthy and affordable food options.

Supporting Dementia-Friendly Communities: Preparing Retail Workers to Recognize & Respond to Dementia, Project leaders: Lisa Bratzke and Diane Farsetta, School of Nursing

The purpose of this project is to collaborate with local dementia-friendly community groups, businesses, and UW students in the interdisciplinary service-learning course, “Community Supports for People with Dementia” to script, film, edit, and make freely available dementia-friendly training videos to businesses across the state. This project builds on the School of Nursing’s previous work with dementia-friendly community groups and service-learning projects where UW students led in-person dementia-friendly business trainings and developed dementia-friendly materials for different audiences. It will help address significant and growing public health, business and community needs while combating the stigma around dementia and supporting the quality of life for people with dementia.

Sustainable groundwater sensor network: Zambia and beyond, Project leaders: Tobias Lunt, Department of Agronomy, CALS

Good data are a prerequisite for sustainable water management. Monitoring groundwater has historically been prohibitively expensive, requiring a dedicated borehole and sensors costing thousands of dollars. Now, open-hardware is revolutionizing data collection worldwide, as low-cost microprocessors, cheap sensor components, information and communication technology (ICT), and the “Internet of Things” (IoT) make distributed data networks feasible at remarkably low cost. The proposed project will prove the concept of such a network for groundwater – building prototype sensors to measure depth using pressure, combined with an Arduino-based datalogger sending data once a day via text message to an open access database. After the concept is proven, the sensor will ultimately be trialed in community boreholes in rural Zambia, with eventual scale out to facilitate a new open data harvesting network.

See more at: http://news.wisc.edu/ten-mini-grants-awarded-from-the-baldwin-endowment/#sthash.pEz9CQjA.dpu