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December 4, 2014

Community networking event being planned

At the last University Senate community relations committee meeting on Nov. 18, members Misti McKeehen of Student Affairs and Holly Hickling of the University Honors College announced that they had met with Community and Governmental Relations office leaders to plan a January event designed to encourage Pitt faculty to meet and work with Oakland community groups.

McKeehen called it “a faculty networking event, a faculty platform for community engagement.” Tentatively set for the William Pitt Union in late January, the afternoon would involve a guest speaker and the chance for University faculty to meet with representatives from community service groups and learn more about their programs and needs.

In other committee news:

• Co-chair Maggie Folan of the School of Pharmacy, an elected member, has resigned as chair. Since co-chair Tracy Soska of the School of Social Work is a pro-tem member, he cannot be the sole committee chair. Thus, Linda M. Hartman of Health Sciences Library System has taken over Folan’s spot as co-chair.

• Member Heidi Donovan of nursing said that her graduate and undergraduate student interns who volunteer at the Oakland Community Food Pantry at Community Human Services “have really seen a huge uptick in the number of clients.” Since August, they have performed basic health care checks, such as blood pressure, on 140 people there and helped connect them to resources for greater health-care needs. She said that the schools of nursing, pharmacy and dental medicine also are working together to offer interdisciplinary services in the community.

Donovan  and McKeehen have begun to team with a national group, Health Leads, which staffs resource tables in high-traffic clinics to address patrons’ food, utility and other health-related needs. Donovan said she was encouraged by the new association: “If we can continue to get what looks like promising support from UPMC and Pitt … we will look at bringing Health Leads to the UPMC system.”

—Marty Levine

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 8