Our partnerships with U of I College of Medicine - Peoria are cross-disciplinary and mutually beneficial.
Even though we are both part of the University of Illinois System our partnership is relatively new. Once it started, more and more mutually beneficial opportunities became evident. Extension staff in the areas of horticulture, community and economic development, 4-H youth development, and SNAP-Ed all have ongoing projects in which UICOMP is a partner.
There are several efforts with the emergency food system where SNAP-Ed and UICOMP work together: Ending Hunger Together collaboration, Greenlight project, and Heartland produce bundles. Each of these projects helps make healthy food options and nutrition education available in a sustainable way.
To help medical students gain real-life insights into community needs that play into the health of the population, volunteer hours are part of their medical school experience. To help connect the students with community organizations, Extension joined forces with UICOMP to hold a volunteer fair at the college. In addition to making connections for volunteer opportunities, the fair also educates the students on the services available to their future patients and gain a better understanding of the community.
The college is also a great supporter in our STEM education efforts through the Teacher Tuesdays program. The teachers are impressed with the new technology used at the college.
The most recent partnership endeavor with UICOMP is the effort by Extension Master Gardener David Stotz. He is supporting the college’s work to revitalize several gardens that are used by professors and students to better understand the value of fresh, whole food in treating common illnesses.
MEET THE AUTHOR
As a community and economic development educator, Kathie Brown worked with community leaders, government officials, volunteer groups, small business owners, and others to help communities become stronger and more economically viable. She focused on leadership and organizational development; local government education and relations; economic development strategies; participatory community planning/visioning processes; group process facilitation; collaboration and partnership building; public issue education; and understanding, using and developing data.
Prior to retirement in 2021, Brown worked with organizations and local governments to help them: (1) analyze and understand their needs, (2) identify alternative courses of action, (3) make informed decisions, (4) plan for the future and (5) evaluate their development efforts.
Kathie worked for Extension for almost 40 years, contributing to programs related to community health, digital literacy, STEAM education, and more.