Recipients of the 2023 W. K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award
Finalists for the 2023 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award
North Carolina State University
Coastal Dynamics Design Lab
The Coastal Dynamics Design Lab (CDDL) organizes and leads transdisciplinary research and design teams to address critical ecological and community development challenges in small, rural communities recovering from and building resilience to flood disasters. Operated from within the NC State College of Design, CDDL advances the university's land-grant mission through a process that integrates engagement, research, teaching, and design to serve historically under-resourced people and places across Eastern North Carolina.
Since its founding in 2013, CDDL has worked in more than 30 North Carolina communities and collaborated with faculty and staff from 12 departments in five colleges across the NC State campus. Using its position within NC State University as a vehicle for protecting and improving life, property, communities, and the environment, CDDL has realized numerous high-impact projects in collaboration with local officials and residents, state and federal agencies, nonprofit and institutional organizations, and private-sector partners. These projects have heightened awareness of post-disaster recovery and community resilience through proactive, authentic, and lasting engagements that carefully listen to and prioritize community needs and desires.
CDDL's work has resulted in significant investments for community partners and advances across the scholarly realms of community-engaged research and teaching.
Ohio State University
Columbus Free Clinic
At the student-run Columbus Free Clinic (CFC), a dedicated annual cohort of 400 Ohio State University students develop knowledge and skills in inter-professional patient care and community service while helping provide health care to more than 1,200 underserved adults in greater Columbus. The CFC is a 30-year partnership between Ohio State University faculty and students, patients, and community organizations supported by the university through donations of clinic space, laboratory and radiology testing, and prescription medications.
The CFC is operated by a student steering committee. Each week, under the supervision of volunteer faculty from five OSU professional schools, students in medicine, advanced practice nursing, social work, pharmacy, and a team of undergraduates collaborate in practicing culturally respectful integrated primary care. This includes treatment of acute and chronic health conditions, laboratory services, pharmacy, social services, and behavioral health.
CFC patients partner with faculty to instruct students on patient-centered medical care while highlighting the importance of social determinants of health and access to community resources. The partnership between patients and students informed the development of innovative, student-run colonoscopy, gynecology, LGBTQIA+, and psychiatry specialty clinics. CFC partners with five community organizations to deliver care and health education across multiple Columbus zip codes.
Texas A&M University
Water-Air-Life: A Partnership with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services
Since 2014, Texas A&M University has worked alongside Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, a nonprofit in Houston, to jointly investigate and document persistent vulnerabilities at the nexus of chronic pollution, natural hazards, and chemical and nonchemical stressors. The partners, along with local high school students and teachers, collected data on a range of complex environmental issues, educated residents, and developed solutions to reduce exposure and contamination. The relationship and research questions eventually resulted in a federal Superfund Center to research the health impacts of toxic pollutants.
The research validated community concerns and revealed an increased risk of exposure to heavy metals found in drinking water and standing water along with reduced general physical health scores. Students and community members co-developed landscape architecture and green solutions based on environmental and health assessments and community desires. At Texas A&M, the partnership underscored the value of specialized community engagement staff, a thoughtful methodological approach to engagement, cultural competency training for students and faculty, and the involvement of residents to increase community participation.
The partnership will be sustained with additional grants to further reveal and document health outcomes from environmental toxins.
University of Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Study
* Winner of the 2023 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award
The Pittsburgh Study (TPS) is a community-partnered, collective-impact initiative focused on child and adolescent thriving and racial equity. Through shared decision-making, centering of community voices, and interdepartmental participation across the University of Pittsburgh, TPS is well positioned to address multiple levels of child health and thriving. The study evaluates developmentally tailored interventions to improve outcomes from birth to high school, engages community partners in all research and program interventions, and shares results via a child health data hub that connects science to action.
Integrating community members into scientific inquiry within academia has swift impact. Rapid data-to-action cycles, workforce development, and citizen science bolster and enhance equity in child health and well-being. Bringing together university research across disciplines and emphasizing the science of thriving that honors community expertise strengthen our ability to offer comprehensive solutions across age groups and neighborhoods.
TPS is a convener of community partners. All scientific committees are co-led by non-university-affiliated individuals and professional scientists, with over half of each committee made up of community members. This framework facilitates partnered research to inform policy and practice so all children can thrive at the crossroads of health, educational, economic, and racial equity.
The RAISE Lab: Responsible AI for Social Emancipation
Pennsylvania State University
The RAISE Lab @ Penn State engages Penn State students with stakeholders around the world to build up scholarship around “Responsible AI for Social Emancipation.” The RAISE Lab focuses on building long-term collaborations with nonprofits working with marginalized communities around the world, such as rural women, people of color, people with disabilities, homeless youth, and smallholder farmers in Africa.
Through these collaborations, Penn State faculty and students get access to real-world data, which enables them to advance the state-of-the-art in AI algorithms to solve critical challenges. Community partners get deployable AI solutions to significantly improve their day-to-day operations. Throughout this process, community partners are continuously engaged in the development of AI tools, including design choices, research methodologies, field-testing, and eventual launch and deployment of AI-based solutions.
Applications developed at RAISE have fundamentally altered practices in several domains. RAISE Lab projects, led primarily by Penn State students, have collectively impacted the lives of millions of people across the United States, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Indonesia, India, and other countries. The university's community engagement has also led to the creation of four multidisciplinary academic courses focused on developing and deploying practical AI-based solutions.
Trager Institute Age-Friendly Louisville
University of Louisville
The University of Louisville Trager Institute led efforts to support Louisville's participation in the Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities, an initiative of the World Health Organization and AARP. The Trager Institute partnered with Metro Louisville, AARP, and the region's Area Agency on Aging to successfully implement Age-Friendly Louisville's (AFL) long-term plan to address the needs of the aging population and promote inclusive and accessible communities for people of all ages and abilities.
Utilizing the principles of community capacity theory, the institute helped craft a strategic plan using a needs assessment and participatory community engagement approaches, including listening sessions, concept-mapping methods, and public presentations. The resulting action plan was implemented between 2018-2021, with four workgroups formed to focus on social participation, respect, and inclusion; mobility and access; community supports and health services; and housing.
The AFL initiative aligned with the University of Louisville's 2023-25 strategic plan, with undergraduate and graduate social work students playing a key role in its development and implementation. The initiative generated resource guides for residents, tip sheets for first responders, Aging in Place information sheets, advocacy for an accessory dwelling unit amendment, drive-by parades for socially isolated older adults, and intergenerational community events.