cei logoThe Community Engagement Institute (CEI) is an annual full-day symposium focused on issues related to health equity and social justice. The CEI examines the importance of why and how community engagement and collaboration are effective in social/behavioral research and essential in community building practices.

Institute Goals

To exchange information, disseminate research, and share successful approaches to address health equity and community empowerment, and to connect community members and leaders, researchers, and philanthropic stakeholders in improving communities and environmental health. 


  • Increase understanding of social justice concepts (economic stability, neighborhoods and built environment, health and health care accessibility, education, and social and community context).
  • Share interdisciplinary knowledge on strategies to reduce health disparities and increase health equity that result in improved health outcomes.
  • Develop individual goals that will empower participants to make a difference within and across communities. 

Who Should Attend? 

Undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, community members, representatives of community-based organizations, neighborhood leaders, volunteers, faith-based leaders and organizations, health advocates, researchers, consumers, grass-roots organizers, local funders, and others from across the Deep South region are encouraged to attend.

Diane Bell McKoy


CEI invites keynote speakers with local, regional, and/or national standing and deep experience in community engagement, including policymakers, activists, entrepreneurs, writers, and researchers. In 2017, we welcomed President and CEO of Associated Black Charities Mrs. Diane Bell McKoy and Dr. Errol Crook, Director of the Center for Healthy Communities and Chair, Internal Medicine, University of South Alabama College of Medicine (you can see Dr. Crook's presentation on "Community-Academic Partnerships to Achieve Health Equity" on the CCTS YouTube channel).



In addition to keynote sessions, CEI offers breakout workshops, a poster session, breakfast and lunch, and a networking event called Cookies and Conversation. Download agenda


Would you like to present a poster or workshop at our next CEI? Are you interested in hosting a Cookies and Conversation booth? Would you like to sponsor a student or a session? We offer free attendance for volunteers. Learn more

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