The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions Celebrates Community Engagement

| Author: Kate Hodgkins

The Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions held their all-college meeting on January 5, 2024. Each semester, the college provides updates to faculty and staff to get fired up for the upcoming semester and calendar year ahead. The spring meeting is also dedicated to celebrating the Community Engagement Awards recipients. The Community Engagement Awards recognize CHP participation in exemplary community partnerships that advance the college’s pursuit of excellence in scholarship, education, and community service. The awards, which were made from wood paneling left over from the new addition, were presented by Susan Naeve-Velguth, PhD, Chair of the Community Engagement Committee.

There are four awards that recipients can receive. The Faculty & Staff Award, Graduate Student Award, and Undergraduate Student Award honors those who played a significant role in a program that shows sustained impact and mutual benefit to the College and one or more community partners. The Community Partnership Development Awards supports an emerging collaboration between the college and community partners. Lastly, the Outstanding Community Partner Award honors a partner and their vital role and commitment in supporting the College’s pursuit of excellence in scholarship, education, and community service.  

This year's recipients received a plaque, made from the wood scraps of when the new addition of the building was made, recognizing their excellence in community engagement.

Faculty & Staff Award

Sanctioned Professional Disc Golf Tournament
Marcia Mackey, PhD (Physical Education & Sport)

Since 2015 and under the leadership of Dr. Mackey, the students in PES 602SL (Sports Event Management) organize and host the Wilddeer Open, a sanctioned professional disc golf association
tournament held in Mt. Pleasant, MI.  Operated in partnership with the Isabella County Parks and the Mt. Pleasant Convention & Visitors Bureau, this event brings together amateur and professional disc golfers to raise funds for Sawyer’s Light, a Michigan non-profit that supports families of hospitalized children, and Motts Children’s Hospital.

Occupational Therapy Collaboration During Summer Speech-Language Specialty Clinics 2023
AnnMarie Bates, MS (Speech-Language Pathology)

Under the leadership of Ms. Bates, the SLP program partnered with SVSU’s Occupational Therapy program to provide sensory evaluations for children attending the Summer Specialty Clinics (SSC), a CMU-based day camp for children with communication impairments.  Through this partnership, SLP and OT students received an interprofessional education experience while learning about the impacts of sensory deficits on communication.

Graduate Student Award
Say What? No-Cost Hearing Aid Cleaning Clinics for the Community
Lindsay Koberna, BS (Audiology student)

Under Ms. Koberna’s leadership, students in CMU’s Audiology program partnered with the Commission on Aging and Masonic Pathways to provide free hearing aid cleanings to older adults in Mt. Pleasant, Alma, and Midland, MI.  These collaborations support those who might not be able to afford regular maintenance on their devices, provide students with opportunities to receive hands-on clinical experience while engaging in community service, and encourage intergenerational interactions between community members and students.

Undergraduate Student Award
Clothing and Connecting Project
Meagan Treadwell (Health Professions Residential College)

Under the leadership of Ms. Treadwell, HPRC students partnered with Clothing INC, a non-profit agency located in the Strickler Center that provides free clothing to those in need.  In this partnership, HPRC students collect and sort clothing and personal items donated to the Strickler Center.  In doing so, HPRC students participate in a meaningful service and community outreach activity while helping Clothing INC and the Strickler Center support individuals seeking assistance from poverty. 

Community Partnership Development Award

Development of Audiology’s Service Project in the Bahamas
Shannon Palmer, PhD (AuD)

Dr. Palmer, in collaboration with Nubirth Hearing Services and The International Christian Centers for the Deaf, will work to create a faculty-led CMU study abroad program for audiology students to travel to and provide hearing services in the Bahamas. The funds from the Development Award will be used for an exploratory visit to the islands, where Dr. Palmer will meet with local audiologists, community members, and education professionals to determine community needs and the logistics of creating a sustainable program.

Pampers, Periods, and Pumps
Mary Kushion, MSA

Ms. Kushion and CMU MPH students will collaborate with the Gratiot County Child Advocacy Center and the Gratiot County Breastfeeding Coalition on their “Supply the Cycle” program, which supports the Child Advocacy Baby Pantry, breastfeeding-support programs, and reproductive health initiatives.  The Development Award funds will be used to purchase bins for the MPH students to use for collecting
and delivering community donations, for student travel, and for Printing informational flyers about this work.

Outstanding Community Partner Award
Isabella County Commission on Aging

The Isabella County Commission on Aging (COA)is a department
within the Isabella County Governmental Unit that serves the
needs of local older adults and their families. Its mission is to promote the health, independence, and fulfillment of older adults through the coordination and provision of diverse services and opportunities.

The Isabella COA has collaborated with CHP faculty, staff, and students through the Health Professions Residential College’s Bottles to Branches landscaping project, the Physical Therapy Program’s Fit Feet Feet Walking Club, and the Audiology Program’s No Cost Hearing Aid Cleanings clinics.  These partnerships have created meaningful opportunities for CHP students to develop professional skills while engaging in community service.

Aleda E. Lutz Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center

The Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center (VAMC), located in
Saginaw and part of the Veterans Health Administration, includes
a VA Medical Center, an 81-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation Community Living Center, and a VA Healthcare Annex, which provides primary and specialty health services to our Veterans. 

The Aleda E. Lutz VAMC has partnered with the College of Health Professions for over 25 years, providing internship and clinical placements for students in various healthcare and allied fields, including audiology, clinical exercise science, health administration, and physical therapy.  These experiences are fundamental to our students’ growth as healthcare professionals and positively impact the provision of quality care in our region.

A ceremony for the Outstanding Community Partner Awards will be held in early April.

The College of Health Professions partners with over 800 clinical, educational, social service, government, business, and other agencies in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, the United States, and around the world. Community engagement within the College of Health Professions includes community-based research and scholarship, community-centered education and clinical care, and community service and volunteerism.

“We are so proud of the community-centered work being done in the College and grateful for our community partners for supporting our students, faculty, and staff,” stated Dr. Naeve-Velguth.

Congratulations to the Community Partnership Awards recipients!

View latest news