October 02, 2014

Event for community and thought leaders aims to bring action to Birmingham

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CEI insideThe upcoming Community Engagement Institute aims to address locally identified needs of Greater Birmingham communities and connect key stakeholders and change agents to one another for action.

Hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Clinical and Translational Science’s The One Great Community Council and the UAB Center for the Study of Community Health’s Jefferson County Community Participation Board, the CEI is a half-day education and training event designed to benefit both community and academic partners.

“We intend for the CEI to explore, demonstrate and educate on principles related to community-engaged research and service,” said Shauntice Allen, Ph.D., program manager in the UAB School of Public Health and director of the Community Engagement Institute. “The CEI is not a one-time event. The goal is to create a space for continued conversation, with that conversation translating into action on research proposals, projects, interventions, published papers, service-learning opportunities for students, technical assistance for community groups and more.”

A featured guest of the CEI is Vice President of Program Strategy for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Gail Christopher, D.N., who will present the annual Carole W. Samuelson Lecture. Christopher is a nationally recognized leader in health policy, particularly among issues related to social determinants of health and health disparities. She has more than 20 years of experience in designing and managing national initiatives and nonprofit organizations.

Additionally, the CEI will have breakout sessions with topics ranging from how to secure grant funding and where it comes from to using social media to promote social change.

Birmingham City Councilwoman Sheila Tyson, who serves on both The One Great Community Council and Jefferson County Community Participation Board, says she is a longtime supporter of community engagement efforts like the CEI and looks forward to this inaugural event.

“I’ve spent my entire life as a grassroots advocate, working alongside citizens as they try to make their communities safer, healthier and more vibrant,” Tyson said. “The CEI gives us a great opportunity to bring everyone together, and strengthen our relationships and our capacity. It is exciting to see UAB continuing its leadership and service in our community. I’m proud to join it in building a better Birmingham.”

Allen hopes the event will attract a broad audience, ranging from undergraduate and graduate students and faculty to community members, organizational and neighborhood leaders, volunteers, faith-based leaders, health advocates, consumers, grass-roots organizers, and more.

“All are encouraged to attend the CEI, as it is an important event illustrating that knowledge, experience and talent exist throughout our community,” Allen said. “It’s imperative to channel these in order to achieve and sustain better health outcomes for our community as a whole.”

The CEI will take place from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, at the Birmingham CrossPlex, 2331 Bessemer Road. Registration is required and can be completed by visiting uab.edu/ccts/cei. The $20 fee includes a light breakfast, conference materials and lunch.