Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

News: Family Impact Seminar

The Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars’ Legislative Advisory Board has chosen Rebuilding the Child Care Infrastructure as the topic of discussion for the 2022 seminar.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Alumnus Running joins Staff

La Follette School alumnus Mitchell Running (MPA ’17, MPH ’18) returned to his alma mater in July as the School’s legislative liaison. Running will lead the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars and the School’s other legislative outreach efforts.

What do broadband access, green spaces, and stable housing have in common? They all influence a person’s health. Together, they have a greater impact on health than medical care or health behaviors such as going to the gym. The La Follette School convened legislators and staff to discuss how these social, economic, and physical environment factors—often called social determinants of health—affect Wisconsin families’ health.

The La Follette School’s 2021 legislative outreach efforts kicked off Wednesday, January 13 with the 39th Wisconsin Family Impact Seminar. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the seminar was the first in the program’s decades-long history presented in a virtual format

As Kassandra Martinchek (MPA ’19) marked her one-year anniversary at the Urban Institute, she reflected on her efforts promoting evidence-based, actionable solutions for household financial well-being and food security.

The La Follette School’s legislative outreach efforts were going strong right up until Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order on March 24, 2020. By that date, 50 of the 132 Wisconsin legislative offices had participated in at least one event such as the Family Impact Seminar, Office Hours at the Capitol, or La Follette Forum on Health Policy, or engaged in personal meetings.  

The La Follette School completed another successful Office Hours at the Capitol event in June. Office Hours is a twice-yearly, drop-in event for legislators and staff to connect with UW–Madison faculty and staff who are doing research on timely public policy issues.

The La Follette School of Public Affairs is seeking an outreach specialist to assist with legislative and other activities that connect UW–Madison faculty members and guests with state lawmakers, scholars, and community members. La Follette School alumni are encouraged to apply.

The La Follette School of Public Affairs has named Heidi Normandin as its director of legislative outreach and director of the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars and Committee Connect. Since August 2016, Normandin (MA ’98) has served as associate director of the two programs.

A diverse group of more than 30 state lawmakers, legislative staff members, legislative service agency analysts, and staff from the Governor’s office attended the second Office Hours at the Capitol – presented by the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars and the La Follette School – on Wednesday, May 16.

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