Dr. Eugenia (Geni) Eng, professor of health behavior at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, was inducted as an inaugural member of the Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship on October 7, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
[Photo: Photo: Dr. Geni Eng]
Dr. Eng’s community-based participatory research (CBPR) work is recognized nationally and internationally. Contributions include relevance and measurement of the concept of community competence, the lay health adviser (LHA) intervention model and Action-Oriented Community Diagnosis. Her more than 100 publications have been cited almost 4,500 times, more than 2,200 since 2009.
Over her 30-year career, Dr. Eng has set the bar for exemplary community-engaged scholarship. Her work has met the highest academic standards, helping to establish community-based participatory research (CBPR) in addressing an array of health issues in a diverse range of communities. In the 19 years she directed UNC’s Master of Public Health program in health behavior, she taught more than 1,000 students who worked in more than 300 North Carolina communities, learning about social networks and building on strengths and assets to address health concerns identified by the communities.
“There are well-prepared, engaged faculty members in academic settings across the nation who benefitted from the experience and guidance of [Dr.] Eng, whether as a doctoral advisee or a postdoc in Kellogg Community Health Scholars, a program she directed for 14 years,” the organization noted in its release. “Through authoring 87 peer-reviewed articles, 19 books or book chapters and 13 monographs, [Dr.] Eng has disseminated her research findings in the traditional ways. Importantly, her efforts also have influenced policy. In the mid-1990s, the UNC School of Public Health [now the Gillings School of Global Public Health] revised promotion and tenure guidelines to encompass practice, and a faculty position was created to serve half-time in the community. More recently, her work has led to special Institutional Review Board (IRB) guidelines and processes that allow for community partners to serve as qualified researchers in CBPR efforts.”
Dr. Patricia M. Sobrero, president of the ACES board of directors, presented a trophy to Mr. Melvin Jackson, Dr. Eng’s community partner and program director for Project DIRECT with Strengthening the Black Family Inc. Dr. Eng was recognized for her lifetime commitment to mutually beneficial engagement with communities outside the university.
The Academy aims to assist in improving the physical, social, civic, and economic wellbeing of communities by advancing scholarship based on collaborative discovery by communities and their higher-education partners. Toward that end, the Academy’s leaders select as members those who have been recognized by their peers as exceptional in their accomplishments in engagement.