Partnerships for the Common Good: Building Community Capacities to Address Health and Well-being

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Ohio State University. Office of Outreach and Engagement

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As a fellow Carnegie Engaged Institution, the University of Dayton builds and sustains reciprocal partnerships to build on assets and address public challenges. The presenters will highlight the important processes and connections for successful engagement and collaboration to co-create partnerships around local health issues. The partnerships described are between the University of Dayton, local health clinics, and Dayton Children's Hospital. The co-created partnerships embrace all as co-learners and co-educators, and work to build the partners' capacity to address health inequities and social determinants of health. The partnerships also engage students, faculty, and staff in key aspects of addressing health and well-being issues, building professional skills for students, and encouraging all members to challenge the status quo of health disparities.


The University of Dayton (UD), as a fellow Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement Institution, strives to build reciprocal community partnerships that advance the capacity of community partners, builds on community assets, creates shared visions for the future, and engages faculty, staff, and students from multiple disciplines at the university. Two such partnerships have been co-created by community partners and UD to address health and well-being issues, specifically around health inequities and social determinants of health. In the first health and well-being partnership, the director of ReachOut Montgomery County teaches a course for university pre-med students, which include the students volunteering and practicing their professional skills in an interprofessional educational environment at the health clinic. The students also engage with Good Neighbor House, a nonprofit offering medical and dental services to those experiencing poverty. To build the nonprofits' capacity to work with students, UD's Fitz Center for Leadership in Community began a community partner intern program. The "Health and Well-being partner intern," as it is now called, trains and manages volunteers, acts as a TA in the class with the director of ReachOut, and offers more advanced capacity building services for the partners. The second partnership, which is now also a part of the first, led to and sustains Dayton Children's Hospital "Family Resource Connection," a social needs screening program to connect patient families with community resources. With the professional guidance of Health Leads, Dayton Children's Hospital and both the pre-med program and Fitz Center for Leadership in Community (at UD) co-created this program to address the social determinants of health disparities in Dayton. The partnership has grown to include internship opportunities, growing the services offered by the "Family Resource Connection," and the engagement of other faculty and staff for teaching and research. This presentation will describe the partnership development, including the challenges and assets of the partners, the initial engagement activities between the partners and the university, the creation of a shared vision, the development of important social capital, best practices for collaboration (must-haves and benefits), and information on best practices for engaging faculty, staff, students, and community members. The presenters include the director of Community Engaged Learning and the director of the pre-med program at the University of Dayton, along with two key community partners: the director of ReachOut Montgomery County and the director of the Center of Child Health and Wellness at Children's Hospital. The four presenters were the key partners in building the larger partnerships, are adept with asset mapping and creating shared visions, teach at the university level, and are active in civic organizations.
AUTHOR AFFILIATION: Kelly Bohrer, Director, Community Engaged Learning and Scholarship, University of Dayton, Fitz Center for Leadership in Community, (Corresponding Author); Kathleen Scheltens, Director, Pre-Med Program, University of Dayton; Sharon Sherlock, Executive Director, ReachOut Montgomery County, ReachOut; Jessica Saunders, Director, Center of Child Health and Wellness, Dayton Children's Hospital.


reciprocal partnerships, social determinants of health, interprofessional education, community-engaged learning and scholarship, collaboration


Engaged Scholars, v. 6 (2018).