UNMC invited to take community engagement survey

Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) and UNMC, through the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dele Davies, MD, is requesting the UNMC community participate in a survey to document the hard work and dedication of faculty, staff and students in serving in and engaging with the community.

"Despite the pressures and added responsibilities of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNMC faculty, students and staff continue to remain involved in activities to serve our community," Dr. Davies said. "Volunteer work, outreach efforts, participating in community organizations as board members – the impact has been incredible. And while some of these activities are organized by a unit or college, many other are efforts by our employees, acting as private citizens, to support an organization or cause they are passionate about.”

Take the survey.

The UNMC Office of Community Engagement is soliciting responses for its second survey of community and volunteer activity by members of UNMC. The survey is built using a best-practices model and based on a national model of community engagement for academic health centers.

It is available in Microsoft Teams, easily accessible by all UNMC users. Once the survey is complete, the survey answers can be used by respondents as a reference to augment the "service" component for the annual evaluation.

"Our first community engagement survey last year showed that our faculty, staff and students are highly engaged in the communities we serve,” Dr. Davies said. “This past year, when so many of us were grappling with COVID-19-related challenges, I believe that commitment only deepened. This year’s survey again will enable us to highlight our community efforts and share compelling stories with our community, our partners, our stakeholders and the people we serve."

Heidi Keeler, PhD, director of the Office of Community Engagement, said community engagement is a strategic initiative for UNMC that aligns with the university’s ITEACH (Innovation, Teamwork, Excellence, Accountability, Courage, and Healing) values.

"We want to tell the story of the great work that is being done with our community," Dr. Keeler said. “By completing the survey, you can help bring into focus the positive impact the UNMC community has on our neighbors and partners.

"The role of the Office of Community Engagement is to support the building of relationships with our community partners. We know that for all of the collaborations of which we have knowledge, there are many more that are occurring without recognition or support. This survey gives us a chance to recognize the great work that the members of UNMC are doing in the wider community.

“The OCE would like to thank those who gave of their time to complete the survey in 2020. We learned so much from that survey.”

The 2020 community engagement survey found that of the 865 respondents, engagement activities most frequently reported by faculty and staff for the prior 12-month period included participation in community outreach and community service activities. That was followed by serving on a board or advisory group for a community partner or organization and participation in a community engagement event or fundraiser for a community partner.

The survey results indicated that UNMC’s faculty, staff and students participate in community engagement activities in diverse populations and address critical health issues that may not have been recognized in other venues. Populations served include a wide range of races/ethnicities, cultures, classes, ages and genders, living in both rural and urban communities, and targeted a broad range of health issues, including: obesity, housing insecurity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hunger/food insecurity, cystic fibrosis, homelessness, domestic violence and mental health.

Brooke Fitzpatrick, who was responsible for the analysis and dissemination of the 2020 survey results, said the work gave her an appreciation for UNMC’s community engagement.

“It was a great introduction to the UNMC ITEACH values, as these values directly align with community engagement and the daily workings of our faculty staff and students in the community,” she said. “The survey demonstrates how UNMC faculty, staff and students are operationalizing ITEACH values externally.”

Said Dr. Keeler, “Completion of the survey is critical to our ability to procure needed resources that will build more opportunities for engagement and partnership. Your voice can help us to connect with and amplify efforts to address identified health priorities.”