The University of Memphis has been named the winner of the APLU Community Engagement Scholarship Award for the Southern Region. 

This award came predominantly from a project called the University of Memphis Institute of Interdisciplinary Memphis Partnerships to Advance Community Transformation (iIMPACT). The UofM is not done with its work however. It is now one of four finalists for the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, the winner of which will be announced in November. 

Other institutions that are competing for this award are Ohio State University for its Learning in Fitness and Education through Sports Initiative; the University of Utah for its University Neighborhood Partners project; and the University of Vermont for its Connecting Cultures Initiative. 

This is the first time the UofM has won the APLU Community Engagement Scholarship Award. It is also the university’s first chance to win the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award. 

The Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award has been given to a university every year since 2007. Ohio State has had a long history with this award, and this is the fourth time that OSU has won the APLU Community Engagement Scholarship Award in the North 

Central Region. OSU will also be competing to win their second Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award after winning it in 2013. 

Despite OSU’s history in competing for the Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, Utah and UVM are competing for the award for the first time in their school’s history. Exactly like the UofM, this is the first time Utah won the Western Region, as well as the first time UVM won the Northeast Region. This is a positive improvement for the UofM because there have only been two universities to win the award twice. Virginia Tech University won the Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award in 2007 and 2018, along with East Carolina University in 2012 and 2016. 

The UofM won the APLU award for the Southern Region with its work on The University of Memphis iIMPACT project, with leadership from Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, UofM executive vice president for research and innovation. 

The UofM’s iIMPACT project addresses issues of childhood trauma, improves families’ access to supportive services and builds a culture of health in Memphis. The university has worked with community partners on the iIMPACT project, where they have made use of the UofM’s research capacity, students’ desire for applied experiences and the guidance and support of community leaders. 

iIMPACT developed a set of programs and services that address a wide range of health and socioeconomic issues facing local families including childhood asthma, autism spectrum disorder, adverse childhood experiences, child social-emotional development and connectedness to services and resources. iIMPACT’s successes have been shared in academic journals, conferences, news media and through the ACEs Symposium. Most importantly, iIMPACT’s 

students have gained valuable insights about conducting applied community research, as well as about the needs and strengths of the Memphis community. 

The UofM had many partners involved with their iIMPACT project, some more well-known than others. The UofM’s partners for iIMPACT are Agape Child & Family Services, Child Advocacy Center, Family Safety Center, Goodwill Homes, Knowledge Quest, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Porter-Leath, Shelby County School District, Shelby County Health Department, Shelby County Community Services, Union Grove Baptist Church, Assisi Foundation, United Way of the Mid-South, and Urban Child Institute. Together, alongside the UofM, these organizations have worked to address the needs of families with young children and connect them to community resources. 

“Creating initiatives that help improve the local community is one of our most important missions at the University of Memphis,” said UofM President M. David Rudd in a press release. “To have those efforts acknowledged by the APLU as a regional award winner and national finalist is a credit to the many amazing people on our campus and throughout our community who have made iMPACT, and many similar programs, a tremendous success. This is an honor we will celebrate and continue to build upon.”

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