Group Connects Research, Real World

7 years 9 months 1 week ago Wednesday, December 08 2010 Dec 8, 2010 Wednesday, December 08, 2010 9:56:24 PM CST December 08, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri CommUNITY Partnership, a group of MU health researchers, MU Extension staff, and Mid-Missouri community groups, met for the first time Wednesday to learn how to better tie the resources of MU researchers to community activities. By doing so, group members hope to improve the effectiveness of community organizations. Researchers who examine a wide range of topics including mental illnesses, obesity, and domestic violence, want to get involved with community groups.

By sharing their findings and interacting with people first-hand, group members hope to improve the overall effectiveness of community health programs.

"We're not well coordinated," said Amy Lake, coordinator for the partnership. "Community activities often go unrecognized, and they're often not connected to the university research, even though we've got fabulous researchers who want to be going relevant community work."

A researcher herself, Lake said she feels more satisfaction seeing her work being applied. "It's tough being on campus. You're separated, you're looking at data. But in your heart you really care about, for example, diabetes. Then you go to a place where a community has come together and done something great like build a community center, and you can help them out with programs. That's really something magical."

Community Development Specialist Celeste Vanderbrugen has already seen the CommUNITY Partnership connect people. "In every meeting, they'll be somebody from a community in Missouri that says 'We've got a great project, we've written grants, but we really need someone to understand this data.' And there's someone from MU sitting at the table saying, 'I can do that. I do that every day.'"

Currently, the Missouri CommUNITY Partnership is focusing on making connections across the state, but some program planning is already underway in a handful of counties.

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