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.