Community engagement awards

October 28, 2013

One of the things we can be most proud of here at the University of Kansas Medical Center is how hard we are working in communities across the entire state of Kansas. This fact is reinforced every time I look at the interactive map posted on our Institute for Community Engagement website, which shows specific ways in which we are advancing access to health care, enhancing student education, strengthening the health care workforce, researching to improve health, and serving communities in all of the state's 105 counties. In all of those efforts, we collaborate and partner with health care providers, community leaders and many other like-minded organizations.

Since Ryan Spaulding's appointment earlier this year as Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of the Institute for Community Engagement, he and his team have been hard at work. Among other things, they've organized the first "Community Conversation," which is happening today in Wichita with about two dozen community health providers and leaders in the region. This event is the first in a series of conversations across the state designed to identify and create new long-term partnerships with more Kansas communities to advance both the communities and Kansas health care.

As you may recall, last year the institute began formally recognizing scholarly dedication to community engagement through four annual awards. This past spring, the first four faculty, community project and student awards were presented to exemplary engaged scholars and group projects. These awards reflect the value KU Medical Center places on our commitment to building healthy communities:

Christine Daley, associate professor of family medicine, was honored for her work to reduce the health disparities and improve the lives of American Indians in the state and region.

The Kansas Sepsis Project, a quality improvement initiative led by Steven Simpson, received an award for reducing the harmful effects and mortality of the most deadly complication of acute infection in hospitals across the state.

Erin Locke, a Master's in Public Health student at the Wichita campus at the time of her award, was honored for her commitment to rural health. Erin was a 2012 KU School of Medicinel graduate and earned her MPH this past May.

The BullDoc Free Clinic, created and run by medical students, was recognized for its commitment to an underserved community. The clinic is a school-based health center that offers a variety of health care services to students who may not otherwise see a doctor.

As you can see, these awards recognize outstanding community engagement efforts across the medical center. Calls for 2014 nominations on the following faculty awards began earlier this month; the nomination period closes Dec. 31:

  • Faculty Award for Scholarship in Community Engagement ($7,500) - recognizes a KU Medical Center faculty member in Kansas City, Salina or Wichita who demonstrates long-standing excellence in developing, implementing and sustaining regional engaged scholarship initiatives.
  • KU Medical Center Community Partnership Award ($10,000) - is given to a community project or organization that has partnered with a KU Medical Center faculty member to improve health in a community or population.

Application forms and more information about the awards are available at the Institute for Community Engagement's website. I encourage all faculty members at all our campuses to nominate eligible engaged scholars; self-nominations are welcome as well.

The Division of Student Services administers the two student awards, and the nomination period will open early 2014:

  • Community Project Student Group Award ($1,000) - recognizes a registered student organization that demonstrates commitment to a rural or underserved community.
  • Community Engagement Student Award (formerly the Community Leader Student Award) ($600) - recognizes one student with an exemplary commitment to improving the health of a rural or underserved community.

Award winners will be announced next spring.

I'd like to thank the faculty and student awards committees in advance. I predict they will have another tough year picking one winner per category out of what I bet will be another pool of strong candidates. I'd also like to thank the Community Engagement and Division of Student Services staffers for handling all the behind-the-scenes logistics, from setting up the web pages to processing all entries.

We all play a role in working with Kansas communities - whether it's preparing for the Kansas legislators' visit this Wednesday; placing students to work in rural and underserved communities; or working with communities to understand and solve public health issues like obesity and cancer. Keep up the good work!

Last modified: Nov 06, 2013