Center for Health Communities marks 25th year


For Greene County News

FAIRBORN — The Center for Healthy Communities, administratively housed within the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, has been working in partnership with the Greater Dayton area for 25 years to improve the health of the community.

To recognize and honor its community and academic partnerships and programs, the center is kicking off its 25th anniversary yearlong celebration with a community picnic and dance extravaganza, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at Island MetroPark, 101 E. Helena Street, in Dayton. The event is free and open to the public.

The picnic will include a food tent and a wellness village. Mini University will provide kids’ activities. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Dayton Urban Ballroom will provide dance instruction. Because seating is limited, attendees should bring lawn chairs and blankets.

“We want to thank the community and our partners,” said Katherine Cauley, Ph.D., director of the center and professor of community health in the Boonshoft School of Medicine. “For working with us for 25 years to meet the mission of improving the health and well-being of the community, educating its health professionals and serving as a force for change.”

The center began as a partnership among local higher educational institutions and community-based health and social service agencies in 1991, with fiscal support from the Kellogg Foundation, the Ohio Board of Regents, the Ohio Department of Health, Community Mutual Insurance Company, Wright State University and Sinclair Community College. The founding academic partners from Wright State University included the Boonshoft School of Medicine, College of Liberal Arts, College of Nursing and Health and School of Professional Psychology, and from Sinclair Community College included the Division of Life and Health Sciences.

Founding community partners included Dayton Public Schools, Public Health Dayton, Our Common Heritage, Parity 2000, Good Samaritan Hospital, Miami Valley Hospital, City of Dayton, faith-based organizations and social services organizations. All of these partner organizations and many more continue to work with the center through multiple initiatives.

Through the center, the Kinship Navigator Program supports grandparents and other caregivers linking them with needed resources to support their grandchildren who are in their full-time care. Community health workers provide an extension of the primary care team, meeting with patients in their homes and helping to ensure people get needed services and get to follow-up medical appointments. Additionally, the center facilitates coalitions that improve coordination of services across sectors.

The center supports health professions students by providing community-based clinical experiences and innovative models of care, interprofessional team training and community research opportunities in quality and clinical outcomes. Additionally, the center provides quarterly continuing education programs for practicing health care professionals in the Greater Dayton area.

“When students understand the needs and struggles of the communities they serve, they are better prepared to offer appropriate care and encouragement to the community,” Cauley said. “We link these students with health and social services organizations in the area to enhance the student’s experience and increase their knowledge base, while simultaneously providing service to the community.”

Beyond the local area, the center also develops, implements and evaluates interprofessional, community-based health professions education curricula, and enhanced primary care models at the state and regional level, and disseminates this work broadly at national and international professional meetings.

“The Center for Healthy Communities is dedicated to bridging the gap between higher education, health and social service professionals, human services agencies and the communities served by these professionals and institutions,” Cauley said. “We are looking forward to serving the community for many more years.”

In addition to the community picnic and dance extravaganza, the center will mark its 25th anniversary at other events throughout the year: Partners Luncheon – Wednesday, March 16, 2016; Staff Dinner and Reunion – Friday, June 3, 2016; Founders Dinner – Saturday, June 4, 2016.

For more information about the Center for Healthy Communities go to

Story courtesy of Wright State University.

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