The USF College of Public Health and the Florida Department of Health-Hillsborough County have initiated an exciting joint project aimed at facilitating projects that are conducted jointly between community agencies and the COPH. Through a Department of Health grant, the college was able to fund five $10,000 community projects that were initiated by the community.
The projects are aimed at responding to a public health problem as defined by the agency and which need the involvement of the University. Decisions about project funding were made by a committee comprised of representatives from community agencies and representatives from the community engagement committee of the College of Public Health. Each project has funding for the community agency as well as for graduate students in the college. Faculty supervise the students in their work.
[From left: Dr. Martha Coulter, principal investigator, Hugh Pruitt, contract manager, Chukwudi Ejiofor, project coordinator, and Walter Niles, Florida DOH-Hillsborough County]
The projects that were funded include Feeding America, a child hunger reduction project; Latinos Unidos para un Nuevo Amanecer (LUNA), Inc., a project designed to provide emotional support, reduce barriers and facilitate access to care for Latino cancer survivors; Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, a project aimed at increasing awareness of healthy eating and increasing food donations; Champions for Children, a project focused on support (boot camps) for new dads; and Florida Institute for Community Services, focused on support for agricultural citrus workers.
These projects will increase collaboration between the university and community agencies and focus on problems in the community that are recognized by community agencies. Student and faculty involvement will allow for increased attention to program evaluation, development, and expansion planning.