On April 3, the University of Minnesota celebrated the idea of research as relationships when it gave health policy researcher Kathleen Thiede Call the President’s Community-Engaged Scholar Award.
Call was chosen from 11 finalists who demonstrate commitment to the University’s mission to partner with the public and private sector to address critical societal issues.
“Every one of the candidates stands out as an extraordinary community-engaged individual,” says School of Public Health Dean John Finnegan. “I think Kathleen won the award because essentially community engagement has been the center of her career for an academic lifetime and because of the excellence of her work.”
Call’s research focuses on measuring health insurance coverage and assessing how it relates to health care access and barriers for culturally diverse, immigrant, young and low-income populations.
Since early on, she has actively promoted community-based participatory research.
“Working with partners in local communities and in state agencies guarantees that the information we gather will be relevant and used to make progress on issues,” says Call. “The award confirms for me that the University takes its charge as a land-grant institution seriously and values working with others around the state to improve quality of life for Minnesotans.”
A hallmark example of Call’s academic-government collaboration is the Minnesota Health Access Survey that she developed for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The survey was first run in 1995 and Call co-conducts it with MDH every two years. It provides the department with key estimates of health insurance coverage across Minnesota and helps officials determine the effectiveness of disparity-reducing initiatives.
In the classroom, Call devotes significant effort to showing students and researchers how partnerships enhance research and results.
As an instructor for SPH’s principles of public health research course, Call encourages students to view “research as relationships” and reinforces it by routinely lecturing alongside experts from the community.
Call also serves as the faculty liaison for the Clinical and Translational Institute (CTSI) where she teaches community-engaged scholarship and team science to colleagues and she participates in allocating CTSI funding to jump start community-University collaborations.
“If you’re serious about making an impact and have your work translate into real and sustained change, you need to partner with those who share your passion,” says Call. “There is tremendous power in working with others to help shape the work so it is reality-based and can be taken to the next level.”
Whether teaching by lecture or leading by example, it is clear Call champions engaged scholarship as the best way to obtain true results and lasting, effective change.
~ Post by Charlie Plain