CONTACT: VIANA ROCKET
Corporate and Foundation Relations
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973
Release: March 30, 2001
Wellmark Foundation funds UI health initiatives
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Foundation has received two grants,
totaling more than $125,000, from the Wellmark Foundation of Des Moines to
fund two Midwest health initiatives. A third Wellmark Foundation grant in
the amount of $50,600 will be implemented through the University of Iowa Hospitals
and Clinics (UIHC) in partnership with the Iowa Lions Foundation. All three
projects are designed to benefit underserved populations in Iowa and South
The first grant, which totals $85,396, addresses the challenges of substance-abuse
disorders among pregnant women and American Indian populations. In this project,
the UI College of Education and the College of Medicine will partner with
health care professionals at the University of South Dakota to develop video
and distance-learning technologies to train health care providers to detect
substance abuse and prevent it from developing into chronic health problems.
The second grant, for $39,403, involves three Iowa cities -- Carroll, Oskaloosa
and Ottumwa -- in a community-based, end-of-life care initiative. Researchers
in the UI College of Public Health will determine whether a community-wide
approach to meeting end-of-life needs of the elderly and terminally ill can
become a model for every Iowa community.
A third Wellmark Foundation grant will provide a series of free vision and
hearing screenings for Iowa children ages 6 months to 4 years. The three-year
project links with an international service organization, the Lions Clubs
International, to train thousands of club member volunteers throughout Iowa
to assist UIHC health professionals with the statewide screenings. The grant,
which provides funding for the first year of the project, also provides screening
equipment, training materials and funding to increase awareness of the project.
The Lions Club contributed $119,820 for the first year and $131,000 for the
second and third years of the project.
"These grants seek to increase awareness and improve the delivery of
health care for people of all ages," said Dr. James A. Merchant, dean
of the UI College of Public Health, adding that this latest support affirms
the Wellmark Foundations mission to improve the health of Iowans through
cooperative ventures. "The Wellmark Foundation has made tremendous commitments
to Iowans and others to improve the quality of care they receive."
Sheila Riggs, executive director of the Wellmark Foundation, said, "The
grants enable us to enhance and strengthen our commitment to improving health
in Iowa and South Dakota through our longtime healthcare relationship with
The Wellmark Foundation has generously supported numerous health improvement
areas of the UI. These grants to the UI Foundation are part of the universitys
planned comprehensive campaign to advance the UIs strategic goals for
the years 2000-2005. The campaign, which is in its early stages and for which
no final dollar goal has been established, will be conducted under the guidance
of the UI Foundation and will raise funds to substantially increase the number
of UI merit- and need-based scholarships, as well as the number of endowed
faculty chairs and professorships; support eight new educational and research
facilities; fund outreach and service programs to benefit individuals, families,
and communities throughout the state; build the UIs endowment; and launch
new initiatives in the arts, sciences, business, health care and other fields.
The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to
all areas of the university. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends
to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements,
equipment purchases, research and other UI initiatives.