Happy Fall!

This summer CUPH has revisited its shared values. With over 20 years of experience working in community-academic partnerships, it's no wonder words like community need focused, collaborative, flexible, ethical and responsive come up in our discussions. This year we are celebrating 10 years in partnership with the African American Breastfeeding Network (AABN). In reflecting on this relationship, it's easy to see these values haven’t changed much over the years. We have had multiple researchers and evaluators supporting AABN’s work throughout this time and all of them have worked in the spirit of collaboration, have been flexible in methods to meet capacity, have been responsive to the changing needs, and intentional in their relationship. I am grateful to Dalvery Blackwell, the co-founder and Executive Director of AABN and her board for continuing to choose to work with us. 


David Frazer


Celebrating 10 Years in Partnership

CUPH has partnered with the African American Breastfeeding Network since 2013 under a Wisconsin Partnership Program funded project called Normalizing Breastfeeding. Now over 10 years later, with multiple sources of funding, we have developed a genuinely collaborative, trusting, asset-focused relationship that supports programming and evaluation related to African American maternal and infant health in Milwaukee. 

Overall, the partnership revolves around working collaboratively on grant opportunities that are aligned with AABN's mission, with CUPH providing evaluation services ranging from design to data collection, technical assistance, training, analysis, and reporting. A guiding principle and practice in CUPH's work with AABN is remaining flexible and responsive to the agency's and community's needs and continuously using data to change programming to better meet the needs of birthing people in Milwaukee. For example, CUPH and AABN meet together to review data outcomes regularly and discuss what story the data are telling so far in that project. We co-decide how to use that data (share with programming staff, develop a press release, use for future grant applications, change programming strategies), and then repeat this process regularly throughout a program's implementation.

The focus on the African American families in Milwaukee and AABN's capacity and infrastructure allows this partnership to remain intentional with data collection and translation to action. Our long-standing partnership and the attention we have paid to transparency and responsiveness allow us to reflect and react positively together, even when challenges arise, or outcomes do not match target objectives. The amount and depth of learning and growth from this partnership is immeasurable and beyond value. We are so thankful for this long-standing partnership and look forward to continued work together!

AABN has partnered with HealthConnect One (HC One) to replicate its nationally-recognized and evidence-based community-based doula model this summer. On April 27 over 50 community leaders and stakeholders attended a Community Convening meeting hosted by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to learn more about this initiative. HC One is the national leader with over 30 years in advancing equitable, community-based, peer-to-peer support for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and early parenting.

Learn more about AABN's WeRISE Community Doula Program

In the News

Improving Children's Mental Health Through School and Community: Looking Back and Moving Forward in Racine

Funded by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin, this project was one of 10 communities funded from their commitment to mental and behavior health in Wisconsin.

Social emotional learning skills are linked to school achievement; however, the social emotional health of students is often not systematically assessed. In the Racine Unified Schools District (RUSD), this is not systematically assessed past 4K.

The next available data on social emotional health of RUSD students is collected in 7th grade and reveal a downward trajectory in the social emotional health of youth between 4K and 7th grade. To improve behavioral health in the community, project partners have identified the social emotional health and development of young children as a priority in order to develop early interventions and policies that can have long-term, positive impacts.

This project seeks to enhance the social emotional development of 3rd-5th grade elementary school students in the RUSD on the Panorama Social Emotional Learning student survey in the areas of Emotion Regulation and Social Awareness by:

  • Increasing coordination of and exposure to evidence-based opportunities to learn about social emotional development for parents of 4K-5th grade RUSD students,
  • Creating a school environment that supports students' social emotional (SE) health by educating all child-serving personnel on ways to encourage SE learning interactions with RUSD youth,
  • Expanding school-based activities that intentionally improve the SE health and development of elementary school students in RUSD, and
  • Improving coordination and pathways to mental health services for RUSD students.

CUPH has been the evaluation partner for the Collaborative for the full 8 years. The evaluation goal has been to identify baseline and monitoring data for Racine County to make informed decisions regarding children’s mental health programming and the status of service delivery within the County and identify gaps in service.

“This project was able to change policy and implement mindfulness practice and reduce stress among elementary level students. Now there are 10-15 minutes of time dedicated for social emotional work through mindfulness across all elementary schools in the district."

Hollie White, Project Coordinator

Learn more about this initiative from the partners and Center evaluators.