For organizations working in the Mission neighborhood, partnerships form a vital part in improving the community by leveraging ever shrinking resources. At the June MiCoCo monthly gathering, Robert Vargas, Randy Quezada and Gavin Tolentino spoke about the various opportunities UCSF’s University Community Partnerships program offers community based organizations (cbo’s) to partner with UCSF and other universities to launch grass-roots projects.
University Community Partnerships (UCP) emerged from UCSF’s desire to document and expand its community engaged scholarship and work throughout San Francisco, the Bay Area and beyond. The Office serves as a bridge between UCSF and local communities, emphasizing partnerships that value and respect the assets and diversity of both. UCP also helps community members navigate UCSF to form or strengthen a partnership aimed at solving a health challenge or meeting a need in the community. Partnering with UCSF through UCP can be as simple as sharing information, and as complex as sharing staff and resources. Once a partnership is formed, organizations can apply to one of the various grants offered by UCSF to fund a project. Click here to visit the partnership grants page. One of UCP’s programs is the Community Engagement & Health Policy Program, which provides consultation and support to organizations and city departments with the purpose of speeding up the process of turning research based change into policy. The program brings expertise to the table, such as collecting and analyzing data, and designing surveys, to name a few. The services are free with the potential to turn into long term partnerships.
An example of turning research into policy was a study conducted by UCSF that analyzed the commuter patterns of students to schools, and the influencers of the commuter patterns. A result from the research was a change in school placement strategy: placing kids in schools close to home so they walk or bike.
UCP is also a partner in the SF Bay Health Improvement Project (SF HIP), along with the SF Department of Public Health, healthcare providers, a few Bay Area hospitals, and community organizations. The initiative aims to join research and practice to improve the health of San Francisco communities by investing in resources rather than publishing new research, and improving methods that are already working in the area. SF Bay HIP projects focus on health issues identified and prioritized by public health assessments including: physical activity and nutrition, alcohol abuse, Hepatitis B, pediatric oral health, violence prevention, and environmental threats to health.
The UCP gives free consultations to see if the expertise a given project requires exists at the university, and identify how the project needs to develop. The UCP can help to write or review grant proposals, and in some instances, apply to grants in partnership with the community organization.
UCP also strives to serve as a clearinghouse for community partnerships, a sort of bridge builder between universities, government departments, community organizations, researchers, and volunteers. To achieve all of the above, the UCP partnered with the Neighborhood Empowerment Network to create coMesh, a web-based tool that creates and tracks linkages between higher education, faculty, staff, students, affiliates, and community partners connected with each or multiple institutions. CoMesh documents partnerships and relationships, facilitate partnerships, and ultimately improve student learning outcomes, research, and generate tangible community benefits. Faculty, staff and students can search a comprehensive collection of organization profiles to efficiently match their academic discipline and service expectations.
Through coMesh, higher education partners will have the capability to:
- Promote community engagement activities to potential community partner organizations;
- Monitor students’ activities, service hours, and document the details of their community relationships and contributions;
- Search for community engagement projects such as service-learning, internships, and volunteer opportunities and document their hours.
Community partners will be able to:
- Post research, service-learning, internship and volunteer needs;
- Confirm student service hours; and
- Search for higher education entities to engage in collaborations
Click here to download the full coMesh program description.
Interested in connecting with UCP? Here are a few links and some contacts to get you started:
For general inquires, contact:
To inquire about possible research or expertise needed, contact:
Clinical & Translation Sciences Institute