Competition challenging Birmingham residents to be the change they want

A UAB initiative challenges city residents to devise solutions to area health issues and compete for grant funding to implement ideas.

Who better to solve the issues facing a community than its own residents? That’s the thought of the One Great Community Council of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Clinical and Translational Science as it launches the inaugural Community Health Innovation Awards

ccts_sThe council is challenging any greater Birmingham-area resident or any area 501(c)3 non-profit organization to solve a health-related issue of interest to them. Grant funding to support winning projects will range from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on the selected project’s size and scope. A total of $50,000 will be distributed this year.

“We hope to challenge community innovators — groups of any size, projects of any scope — to devise and present plans to ease community health issues they have identified,” says Max Michael, M.D., dean of the  UAB School of Public Health.

“It is our hope these awards will foster partnerships between the UAB researchers and the community at large,” says Robert Kimberly, M.D., principal investigator for the CCTS. “We anticipate truly innovative projects devised by area residents to solve some of our most pressing public health issues.”

A One Great Community Council survey of neighborhood leaders in early 2012 revealed that diabetes, high blood pressure, crime, lack of sidewalks/walking trails, empty lots and abandoned homes were among community members’ top concerns.

To help guide design and development of the proposed solutions, applicants will be matched with mentors at UAB and other organizations to create project teams during the first of two workshops to be held Sept. 8, 2012. This also will present an opportunity for individuals to be paired with groups with similar interests.

Teams then will draft a project proposal, due for review Sept. 21. Another workshop Oct. 6 will be held to refine project proposals, which will be due Oct. 12. Groups will present their ideas to a panel of judges Oct. 17, and a presentation and final awards ceremony will be held Oct. 23 in UAB Lister Hill Library’s Edge of Chaos.

The awards are sponsored by the CCTS/One Great Community, UAB School of Public Health, UAB Center for the Study of Community Health, UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health and the UAB Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.