In 2008, Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) received a grant from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to develop an infrastructure to sustain existing local community evidence-based prevention programs for healthy aging and foster the growth of new ones. A major component of this infrastructure was the development of the WIHA.
WIHA has become the permanent home for several community-based workshops that promote healthy aging and healthy living: Living Well (a chronic disease self-management program) and Tomando Control de su Salud (a chronic disease self-management program for Spanish-speakers); Healthy Living with Diabetes (a chronic disease self-management program for people with diabetes) and Vivir Saludable con Diabetes (a diabetes self-management program for Spanish-speakers); Stepping On (a falls prevention program), and Powerful Tools for Caregivers (a program to support family caregivers). With strong, research-based evidence of success, these prevention programs have delivered tremendous results in decreasing emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and falls in Wisconsin.
Relationships matter. While Wisconsin has long been recognized as an innovator in providing programs and services to meet the changing needs of older people, particularly in the areas of health and long-term care, it has more recently been recognized as a trailblazer in forwarding evidence-based prevention programs through its network of aging offices and Aging & Disability Resource Centers in counties and tribes statewide. Through collaboration, WIHA has developed strong partnerships that have been the backbone of both the research that produces evidence-based healthy aging programs and the dissemination of those programs throughout the state. See partners.