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Partnership identifies challenges in promoting healthier lifestyles

Release Date: June 27, 2011
Contact: Lisa Hildebrand - 608.442.3765 lisa.hildebrand@wismed.org

Madison, Wis. (June 27, 2011) –  A partnership to improve the health of people in six rural communities reported several positive outcomes, including the success of workplace wellness programs, according to an article in the current issue of WMJ (vol. 110, no. 3).

The Strong Rural Communities Initiative (SRCI) evolved from collaboration between the Rural Health Development Council (RHDC), the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH). The partners developed preventive health programs to improve community members’ health and reduce businesses’ health care costs, “thereby encouraging businesses to expand, remain in or relocate to rural communities and thus improve their economic health,” the authors wrote.

MCW served as the academic partner for projects in Langlade, Manitowoc and Waupaca counties, and UWSMPH partnered with projects in Jackson, Sauk and Sawyer counties. The six projects also included 43 businesses and health partners that addressed health issues in the workplace.

In addition to its successes, the program revealed challenges to conducting effective community-academic partnerships. “The rural sites varied in their histories of collaboration among the local partners, approaches to implementing the programs at the business sites and resources available,” the report said.

Differences in the research timetables for the two academic institutions also created challenges; however, “the collaboration created an environment of possibilities that previously did not exist,” the authors wrote.

Published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, WMJ is devoted to the interests of the medical profession and health care in the Midwest. The peer-reviewed publication, which is available in print and electronic format, is one of the few state medical society-sponsored medical journals that publish a large amount of original research and academic content.

With nearly 12,500 members dedicated to the best interests of their patients, the Society is the largest association of medical doctors in the state and has been a trusted source for health policy leadership since 1841. For details, visit www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org.

All articles published in the WMJ represent the views of the authors, for which neither WMJ nor the Wisconsin Medical Society take responsibility, unless clearly stated.