Outreach and Community Engagement
The University of Maryland School of Public Health (SPH) works to promote and protect the health and well-being of the citizens of Maryland, the nation, and the world through interdisciplinary education, research, public policy and practice. Service to the community is also central to our mission and many of our programs have an outreach component or engage community members in public health programs and research.
Here are a few examples of the many ways School of Public Health faculty, students, and staff are having a direct impact in the community.
Center for Healthy Families
The Center for Healthy Families is the couple and family therapy clinic housed in our Department of Family Science. This non-profit clinic provides family therapy to residents of surrounding communities, training for the Department's clinical graduate students, and a site for clinical research. The Center for Healthy Families serves approximately 500 area families and couples each year. Services are offered on a sliding scale based on ability to pay (no one is turned away) and a special fund has been established to provide free couple and family therapy services to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (5 sessions at no cost).
City of Seat Pleasant - University of Maryland College Park Health Partnership
The City of Seat Pleasant-University of Maryland, College Park Health Partnership was established in 1999 to improve the health of Seat Pleasant residents and to enhance learning and research for students and faculty members at the University of Maryland. Members of the Health Partnership serve as a community advisory group to the UMD Prevention Research Center, which has a broad mission to reduce health disparities in Maryland along the national capital border and focuses on issues including STD/HIV prevention, obesity prevention, and adolescent health, among others, using community based participatory research methods.
Children's Developmental Clinic
The Children's Developmental Clinic is a continuing education volunteer training program conducted by the Department of Kinesiology in partnership with the Prince George's Community College. Volunteer Student Clinicians are specially trained and supervised by the Children's Developmental Clinic's Professional Resource Staff to provide one on one support and developmental activities for children who are experiencing various developmental delays.
Based in the School of Public Health, this student group is open to all University of Maryland students and focuses on bringing a message of healthy living to youth through their crowd-pleasing gymnastic routines infused with extreme acrobatics. The group models healthy behaviors by pledging to remain drug, alcohol, and tobacco free and cooperating to accomplish challenging physical feats. They regularly perform shows for elementary, middle, and high schools in the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia region and mentor kids ages 5-16 through gymnastics classes and a six-week camp each summer.
Watch the TerpVision video on Gymkana to learn more.
Horowitz Center for Health Literacy
This center conducts community-based research and outreach education to improve the health literacy of Marylanders and to influence public health policy. Through Health Literacy Maryland, the center is engaging individuals, public health professionals and advocacy groups in a statewide coalition focused on improving health outcomes through health literacy.
Maryland Extension Service
Three faculty members in our Department of Family Science have appointments through Maryland Extension in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR). Our Maryland Extension faculty are members of and tenured in the Department of Family Science, unlike most Maryland Extension faculty who are members of AGNR units. Still, their outreach, research, and teaching functions are similar to those of other Extension Specialists. These faculty specialize in outreach to Maryland citizens on topics including: Family Health Literacy & Policy (Bonnie Braun), Food Security & Nutrition Education (Stephanie Grutzmacher), Family Finance (Jinhee Kim), and Healthy Homes & Global Health (Elisabeth Maring).
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - OLLI
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, based in the Department of Health Services Administration, seeks to enrich the lives of adults age 50+ through by offering a wide variety of learning opportunities for personal enrichment and to assist those interested in community service projects or career changes. Courses are seminar style to provide knowledgeable instruction and to foster interaction, participation, lively discussion, and meaningful involvement.