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COPH faculty to lead new UNMC Office of Community Engagement

Denise H. Britigan, Ph.D

UNMC recently became the first health care campus to be designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a Community Engaged Campus. The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) was created by Vice Chancellor H. Dele Davies, M.D. to support the program aims of this community engagement classification. Denise H. Britigan, PhD. will serve as the Director and Ms. Anita Lee, EdS will coordinate the efforts of the OCE. Growing and enhancing student, faculty, college and institutional capacity for community engagement is the primary goal of the UNMC OCE. Creating an efficient tracking system for the myriad of outreach activities in which UNMC is involved in across the state of Nebraska will support this aim.

Ms. Lee and Dr. Britigan will meet with those collaborators identified by the Deans and Directors of UNMC Colleges, Centers, and Institutes to discuss their involvement in community education, research, and service. Data collected from these meetings will be recorded in an OCE database. This information will assist in assessing how community needs are being effectively addressed and provide information that can be used to link communities with existing UNMC entities. The OCE will work to create partnerships between clinicians, researchers, faculty and staff on campuses across Nebraska. Working closely with community partners across Nebraska the OCE will identify health care and public health concerns that need to be addressed and will provide assistance in forming collaborations with UNMC entities to answer these needs.

UNMC’s Outreach Mission statement, noted below, outlines the responsibilities that we have to our constituents.  Acting as a catalyst, the OCE will assist the UNMC community in fulfilling this mission.

“As the only public, academic health science center in the state, UNMC embraces the responsibility to reach out to all Nebraskans.

Whether it is patient care, education or research-related, UNMC extends its health care experts to the community through pediatric behavioral health clinics, Science Cafes, cancer screenings, distance education and more.

UNMC strives to be a source people can trust. With programs like CHIRS, (Consumer Health Information Resource Service) all Nebraska residents have free access – pending or following a diagnosis — to the latest medical information through UNMC’s McGoogan Library of Medicine.

Access for all is a priority at UNMC. With health disparities a statewide concern, UNMC takes a proactive approach to recruit students and residents to practice in rural, underserved areas through the Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP) and the Residency Rural Training Track.

UNMC fully supports any and all programs that lead to affordable and quality health care, education, information, resources and services for everyone.”[1]

[1] http://www.unmc.edu/outreach/index.html

This article was written by Denise H. Britigan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health, and Director of the Office of Community Engagement at UNMC.

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