The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has announced a $1 million Community Impact Grant awarded to Centro Hispano of Dane County and its academic and community partners that will advance the quality of accessible linguistically and culturally competent services that support the mental health of the Latino community in Dane County.

This project will help increase the number of trained professionals to serve Latino communities through a partnership with UW-Madison School of Education Dr Steve Quintana, specifically for native Spanish heritage speakers, according to a press release. Through training and supervision, the new program will be contextualized within community needs, to adequately address the significant public health gap in a sufficient and capable workforce.

The community-university partnership will also support the expansion of community bilingual and bicultural AODA programming, bi-directional training of community paraprofessionals, and lay community health workers, and transformative evaluation that is respectful of community assets and priorities as identified by both youth and adults, according to Centro Hispano. The ultimate goal is to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services that strengthen the public health workforce while prioritizing community voice and grounding service delivery in the resilience and mental wellness needs of Dane County’s Latino community.