The Calvin Nursing Department has spearheaded an initiative in community-based teaching and research, which has become a model for other departments. This initiative has involved community-based research in three urban neighborhoods where the voices of residents and health providers are actively sought and recognized. Priorities have emerged regarding residents’ health needs and those needs are being addressed through collaborative strategic planning. Residents from each of the three neighborhoods have been hired to serve as community health workers, to partner with nursing faculty and students, and to connect residents to needed resources. Working with active community partners has proven vital to the growth and success of this community-driven initiative.
Get the Lead Out!
Calvin College has worked closely with Get the Lead Out!, which is a multi-agency collaborative whose vision is to "end childhood lead poisoning among children in Kent County." Deteriorating lead-based paint is recognized as a significant cause of childhood lead poisoning and each year hundreds of additional Kent County children are diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels. This is a long-standing problem that requires thinking and acting in new and different ways. The Office of Community Engagement has facilitated the involvement of of Calvin faculty and students (through the Nursing, Social Work and Psychology Departments) with Get the Lead Out!
Get the Lead Out! brings together diverse partners to solve this problem and is a collaborative effort of two dozen organizations. Its key strategy is reflected in its mission statement of "bringing the community together in strategic action to end childhood lead poisoning in Kent County." The Collaborative's purpose is to coordinate new and existing activities, to seek change and/or build systems for more effective prevention, and to build local capacity.
Get the Lead Out! is a national Children's Environmental Health Excellence Award winner (2006). For more information check out these good links to other organizations: