Community Contributions through Service Learning: Proposals of Public Health Graduate Students Awarded
Each fall, Public Health offers Grant Proposal Writing for Health and Social Programs (PUBH 556). As a writing intensive course, the 4-credit hour class requires students to write a proposal for a community non-profit organization of their choosing. To date, 3 of 12 Fall 2021 proposals have been funded. Congratulations to Egla-Irina Delvo-Lopez, Gulsah Onar, and Brittany Rosette-Jones! Read more about their projects.
Egla is a second-year PhD student in Public Health, who also is a full-time Extension Assistant II with UT Extension. Given her interest in health disparities and promotion of the Latino community, Egla chose to write a proposal for Centro Hispano de East TN (Centro), a Knoxville non-profit with the mission to promote empowerment and civic participation through education, workforce development, youth and family engagement, and community-strengthening initiatives for the Latino community of East Tennessee. Centro requested that Egla write the proposal to fund their youth mentoring program to promote the enrollment of Latino youth in higher education. Given that the particular call for proposal was not yet located, Egla applied a general template to her proposal, which was provided by the instructor, Dr. Meschke. Centro subsequently adapted Egla’s work to a $30,000 proposal that was funded by The Education Trust in Tennessee. In considering her experience in the course, Egla shared, “I now understand why some individuals choose to become grant writers. Yes, it is very stressful and demanding in its own way, but it is also very fulfilling. Knowing you were able to help an organization move forward towards their goals feels great.”
Gulsah is a second-year MPH student who is also employed with the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine (UTGSM) Departments of Anesthesia and Women and Infants. Her interest in the promotion of maternal and child health and affiliation with UTMC led to a perfect fit in responding to a call for proposals from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) to address maternal mortality. Gulsah’s proposal had 2 goals: (1) decrease the postpartum women’s opioid analgesics use and refilling requests for pain management during the perinatal period with an educational video and (2) assess women’s risk of substance use disorder and guide multidisciplinary managed support care to support women, as needed. The TDH awarded this project $20,000. Gulsah reflected on her growth in PUBH 556, “Eureka! Before taking the Grant Writing course, I knew nothing about writing a grant proposal other than what I’d hysterically read on the internet for a grant opportunity. Currently, I am writing another grant proposal for a different project.”
Brittany is a second-year MPH student, who is currently completing her internship with the Knox County Health Department with a focus on maternal and child health. Being a new resident of Knoxville, Brittany chose to write a proposal for Inskip Elementary School (IES) to expand their community garden program. Brittany’s proposal deadline for the Klorane Botanical Foundation was in late October, which greatly shortened the time she could invest in writing. The $1000 award from the foundation will fund a second garden (500 square feet) at IES to provide local families with fresh produce and perennial flowers. With the Brittany’s project has the opportunity to provide nutritious food and build community relationships.
Brittany was able to draw a link between her past training, the course, and her future proposal writing. She shared, “Having a background in communications and journalism I was eager to take this course. That definitely helped me as I went through the writing process. However, I would add that grant writing is much like a rollercoaster – exhilarating, scary, and unpredictable. But eventually, you get off the rollercoaster and you submit that proposal. Grant writing was a great experience in giving it the best you got and letting it go (especially if you want to make a deadline — haha). It felt amazing to know that the Inskip Elementary School proposal was awarded because they are more than deserving. I enjoyed the course and will without a doubt use the skills attained to write more proposals in the future.”