Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, November 16, 2009

La Follette director wins Guggenheim to study links between health, poverty

La Follette School director Barbara Wolfe has won a Guggenheim Fellowship. The award recognizes artists, scholars and scientists based on distinguished past achievement and exceptional future promise.

Wolfe will conduct two projects to study the relationship between income and health. "The evidence clearly shows that persons with higher incomes have better health," Wolfe says. "What is less clear is the extent to which disparities in income cause differences in health and vice versa. We also need to better understand the underlying causes of these disparities."

One project will examine how increased income for American Indians whose tribes operate casinos affects their health and use of health care. The other will use a new data set of multiple brain scans of children that is coupled to data on income, family status and school performance.

"The findings should help policymakers craft more effective policies for to reduce income-based health disparities," Wolfe says. "Another important issue is whether and how today's large and increasing disparities in income and wealth lead to even larger differences in health in future generations."

Wolfe is one of four University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty to win Guggenheims in 2008. Another is Laura Elise Schwendinger, wife of Menzie Chinn, associate director of the La Follette School. She is a composer and associate professor of music composition. Schwendinger will create several compositions, including one for the Corigliano String Quartet of Washington, D.C., and another for the Cygnus Ensemble of New York. In addition, she plans to prepare recordings of some of her recent works, including Chiaroscuro Azzuro (a violin concerto) and Esprimere (a cello concerto).

Four faculty chosen as Guggenheim Fellows, April 9, 2008, University of Wisconsin-Madison News

Novelist, 4 from UW win Guggenheims, April 7, 2008, Capital Times