Quarterly News from the Office of Community Engagement
Keeler's Korner
A message from the OCE Director.....
As the academic year ends, I would like to acknowledge the efforts made by so many of our students, staff, and faculty over the course of a very challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UNMC has exceptional faculty, staff, and students, all of whom have contributed to our community in countless ways over the past year. I invite you to read about some of these tremendous efforts in the article below featuring this year’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) award recipients.  

I would like to take a moment to remark on some of the many initiatives the OCE is actively working on. Our office is asset mapping and compiling a comprehensive list of our community partners. This process identifies resources we can highlight and encourage, to further advance health initiatives in our community. Eventually, this asset map will allow for more strategic oversight of our community relationships and longstanding presence with our partners. This resource is only as effective as the information we receive, so if you would like to include your partnerships within the map, please reach out to our office. We definitely encourage this! 
Our office is busy working on maintaining UNMC’s special designation from the Carnegie Foundation. In 2015, UNMC became one of the first health care campuses in the country to be designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a Community Engaged Campus. This is a prestigious honor for UNMC as Carnegie Community Engaged Campuses are credited with doing exceptional work in addressing societal responsibilities through community engagement and service. These efforts are essential as they generate scholarship, knowledge, and expertise to address health related challenges in our community. The designation is up for renewal in 2025 so we are reviewing the 2015 report and the new application requirements to identify advances in community engagement at UNMC since then and any areas that need further attention. 
One exciting project our office is working on is to establish a formalized training and curriculum for community engagement activities for our students and faculty advisors. This curriculum will provide the tools, interpersonal and technical skills our students / faculty need to develop community organizations and create leaders to effectively guide the continued transformation of our community. We know this is important work as the findings from the HLC survey demonstrated a strong desire from the student population to become more actively involved in their community, and to do so in an interprofessional fashion. We are in the process of meeting with leadership in the College of Nursing, College of Medicine and Graduate Studies to determine the best path forward. We look forward to offering this curriculum and trainings to further enrich UNMC’s community engagement infrastructure.

The AAMC recently released the 10 principles of trustworthiness to guide health care, public health and organizations as they work to demonstrate they are worthy of trust. You can read about these principles HERE. We will explore these principles further in upcoming issues.
Thank you for all that you do for our wonderful UNMC. Please reach out if you have any ideas to spark new relationships or sustain existing ones. We love hearing from you!
Until then, stay engaged!
Heidi J. Keeler, PhD, RN
OCE Award Recipients
On April 8th, the OCE virtually hosted its annual engagement award ceremony. The UNMC College of Public Health Student Response Team (SRT) received the Community Impact Award (Gold) for their tremendous efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. This student-led organization provided outbreak management assistance to Douglas County Health Department and also worked remotely for 6-8 other local health districts across Nebraska to assist with social media engagement, data management and community messaging services (i.e., Spanish language infographics) during the pandemic. The organization’s faculty advisor, Dr. Sharon Medcalf, was awarded the Faculty Advisor Excellence in Engagement Award for her mentorship and for providing exceptional service to her students, colleagues and UNMC.

Support Your NEighbor COVID-19 (SYN COVID-19) was awarded the Community Impact Award (Silver) for their commendable efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. This student-led organization partnered with Society of St. Vincent de Paul food pantry to provide food to those in need. They also supplied essential toiletry items to those in the community needing it most through donations and purchases from fundraising efforts in conjunction with the NU Foundation. 

UNMC CoRe: COVID Relief was awarded the Community Impact Award (Bronze) for their wonderful efforts to connect students and community members with opportunities for assistance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They provided free in-home childcare / pet care to frontline healthcare workers, sewed and distributed masks for the community and for Nebraska Medicine and procured and delivered PPE to healthcare centers across the state of Nebraska.

EMPOWER was awarded the Community Health Education award for their educational work with the Women’s Center for Advancement and Girls, Inc. focusing on teamwork and working with leadership to identify the community needs and tailoring education towards these needs. Please join our office in congratulating these very deserving award winners! 
C.R.A.G. (Climb, Relax, Adventure, Gather) is a student organization focused on encouraging and providing students a way to stay active and have fun. Any funding the group is awarded goes to activities involving climbing, relaxing, adventuring and gathering such as nature hiking, BBQs, ice skating/sledding, climb nights at Life Time Fitness and climbing sessions at Mahoney State Park. The organization hopes to participate in other activities in the future such as camping, paddle boarding/kayaking and skiing at Mt Crescent. Over the past year, C.R.A.G. provided UNMC students a safe way to gather and meet their fellow students when they otherwise would not have been able to so due to COVID-19.  C.R.A.G. has student representation from Graduate Studies, CON, COM, COPH, COP and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. If you are interested in becoming a member, check them out on ENGAGE or their Instagram (crag_at_unmc) page.  C.R.A.G. has such a fun group of students, and the OCE has appreciated the opportunity to work with them over the past year.
DUTY called, and UNMC answered.
Thank you for getting BEHIND a great cause!!
BOTTOM line: 6,416 Diapers & Wipes Donated!
In normal times, one in three U.S. families struggle to purchase diapers. With the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, many more families are unable to pay for essentials and turn to local diaper banks for help. This, combined with the fact that diapers cannot be purchased through government assistance programs, establishes a critical need in our community.

The diaper drive was held on UNMC's campus from April 14-17 with donations going to Project Everlast, a statewide, youth-led initiative committed to providing resources, connections and support to young adults as they age out of foster care. 6,416 diapers and wipes were donated so a big thank you to the UNMC community for supporting this important cause. Also, special thanks goes out to the UNMC childcare development center and the three organizations involved in planning the drive, Fostering the Future, Luikart Society and Pediatrics Interest Group!

The Project Everlast team, pictured, (Schalisha Walker, Brittney Williams and Phillip Burrell) send their thanks to the UNMC community!
Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
May 2021
"Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of the community after a difficult year. During the pandemic, there has been a wave of anti-Asian hate incidents across the country (see HERE).  This has encouraged leaders such as Chancellor Gold and Dr. James Linder to speak up for AAPI inclusion in our organization.  At UNMC, 14.9% of faculty and staff and 5.3% of students are AAPI. At Nebraska Medicine, 3.9% of employees are AAPI. The UNMC/Nebraska Medicine AAPI Inclusion Task Force is considering the creation of an AAPI Employee Resource Group and an AAPI Student Affinity Group to provide additional support to AAPI colleagues. If you are interested in the student group, please e-mail UNMC Inclusion associate, Jhoanna Olmos, at [email protected]. If you are interested in the ERG, please e-mail UNMC Inclusion Director, Dr. Sheritta Strong, at [email protected] or UNMC Chief Legal Officer, Anna Cramer, at [email protected]."  

Professor, UNMC COM 
Adult, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist 
LGBT Pride Month
June 2021
"While many businesses, schools, and parade routes sparkle and shine with the colors of Pride during June, LGBTQ+ people exist everywhere, every day of the year. For LGBTQ+ people, seeing the rainbow (and more) colors of pride can be a beacon of hope or welcome. Will I find some community? Can I find medical care without having to come out too many times over? Will I be able to use my chosen name and pronouns at work? These are just a few of the questions LGBTQ+ people wrestle with. These issues are not just about comfort, but about living a full, authentic life free from harm. Symbols like rainbow stickers, pronoun buttons, or flags are navigation aids that help people find one another.  
June was chosen as LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, an important moment in the gay rights movement, which occurred in New York City at the end of June 1969. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the mob-run Stonewall Inn. This was not the first raid, but was the first time people fought back. Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman, is often credited with throwing the first punch (along with other gay rights activists and drag performs at the Stonewall that night).  This year's Pride Month celebration marks the 51st anniversary of Pride. Memorials are also held during this month to honor those lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. 
The UNMC & Nebraska Medicine LGBTQ+ Employee Alliance is celebrating Pride Month with several EVENTS that emphasize diversity, community involvement, artistic and political engagement and activism. It’s remarkable to see groups across campus an in the community coming out to stand with LGBTQ+ folks."  

Emily Glenn 
Associate Dean, McGoogan Health Sciences Library 
Associate Professor 
Co-Chair, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine LGBTQ+ Employee Alliance 
Voices from the Community
Schalisha Walker
Schalisha Walker
Project Everlast Omaha Youth Advisor
"In my work, community engagement brings together organizations, volunteers and private citizens to enhance work that is being done to support older youth. But at it’s core, it is all about the relationships and connections that you are able to nurture. Without strong relationships with the community volunteers, partner organizations and most importantly the young people that I serve at my work would not be meaningful or successful. I work for Project Everlast in Omaha to support older youth ages 14 to 26 who have experienced the systems of foster care, juvenile justice, homelessness or who are otherwise unconnected. The phrase “it takes a village” comes to mind often in my work. There are three components that I focus on with my work: connection to community, connection to self and developing life skills. With connections to community and self, we provide a safe inclusive environment where staff support young people in decision making and the direction of supports and services. We focus on supportive relationships where staff provide a familial atmosphere and where peers support each other as informal mentors. We celebrate milestones, life events and personal goals in family events that span a year and include holidays and we do this with the support of the community and through such partnerships as the one we have with UNMC."
Communities of Practice (CoPs)
Upcoming credentialing opportunities
Community Engagement Fundamentals
Community Engaged Teaching & Learning
Community Partnerships
Engaged Research
Program Administration
Supporting Engaged Faculty Development
On a quarterly basis, Campus Compact offers community engagement practitioners the opportunity to participate in a variety of Communities of Practice (CoPs) covering a range of core competency areas in civic and community engagement. CoPs provide a space for shared learning and collegial support for professionals seeking to advance their engagement practice in a manner characterized by equity and integrity.

For more information and to register for any of the Summer 2021 CoP offerings, please click HERE.
Have a comment or an idea to share with us? We'd love to hear it. Please select the link to the OCE website above and the 'Tell Us!' button. Thank you for ENGAGING with us!
Office of Community Engagement
987110 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-7110