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Partnership aiding low-income seniors highlights community engagement award honorees

Representatives of the Richmond Health and Wellness Program with the Currents of Change Award for Exemplary Partnership in Research. (Photos by Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing)
Representatives of the Richmond Health and Wellness Program with the Currents of Change Award for Exemplary Partnership in Research. (Photos by Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing)

A health and wellness program that assists underserved older and disabled adults in urban Richmond received the top award at Virginia Commonwealth University’s annual celebration of community partnerships last week.

The Richmond Health and Wellness Program, a collaboration involving 20 community and university partners, received the overall Currents of Change Award at the event. The program, which was launched in 2012, currently operates in five apartment buildings designed for low-income seniors in the urban Richmond area. The program serves more than 500 older and disabled adults, emphasizing health assessments, access to care, medication management, mental and behavioral health counseling, chronic disease monitoring, and care coordination.

At the celebration honoring the program and others like it, Catherine Howard, Ph.D., vice provost of the Division of Community Engagement, highlighted projects that align with her division’s mission statement and its focus on “university-community partnerships that generate innovative solutions to societal challenges and prepare the engaged citizens of tomorrow.”

Kevin Allison, Ph.D., senior executive director of strategy and presidential administration at VCU, with Nauje Jones, the first VCU student to receive a Newman Civic Fellowship.
Kevin Allison, Ph.D., senior executive director of strategy and presidential administration at VCU, with Nauje Jones, the first VCU student to receive a Newman Civic Fellowship.

“I am constantly amazed at how innovative people in the VCU and RVA community can be, especially when genuine partnerships are formed,” Howard said.

In addition to receiving the overall Currents of Change Award, the Richmond Health and Wellness Program also received the honor for Exemplary Partnership in Research.

Other award recipients were:

Leaders in the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program with the Currents of Change Award for Exemplary Partnership in Outreach.
Leaders in the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program with the Currents of Change Award for Exemplary Partnership in Outreach.
  • The Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program was honored for Exemplary Partnership in Outreach. The program takes shells destined for the trash and returns them to the Chesapeake Bay to help restore wild oyster populations, improve water quality and provide new fish habitat.

  • The Evergreen Cemetery Project was honored for Exemplary Partnership in Teaching. The senior capstone class taught by Kathryn Howell, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, works with the nonprofit Enrichmond Foundation to develop a master plan for the historic Evergreen Cemetery.

  • The VCU LaunchPAD (Preparing Academics for Discourse) was honored for Exemplary Partnership, Student Initiated. A student organization, VCU LaunchPAD provides School of Education doctoral students with a peer-support network, as well as various professional development workshops, seminars and events focused on writing for academic publication, reviewing research manuscripts and an overall introduction to scholarly activities.

 

Representatives of the Evergreen Cemetery Project with the Currents of Change Award for Exemplary Partnership in Teaching.
Representatives of the Evergreen Cemetery Project with the Currents of Change Award for Exemplary Partnership in Teaching.

The celebration also was an opportunity to honor a host of VCU students for their community engagement work, including those students who had served this year with AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA and the Peace Corps. In addition, Kevin Allison, Ph.D., senior executive director of strategy and presidential administration, announced that Nauje Jones had become the first VCU student to receive a Newman Civic Fellowship, which recognizes community-committed students and provides them with training and resources for pursuing solutions for challenges facing communities. The Campus Compact, a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities, provides the fellowship.