College of Nursing receives community grant to engage local residents in health and wellness “one street at a time”

Columbus, OH (May 13, 2013) – The Ohio State University College of Nursing and Making a Difference, Inc. have teamed up to win a $60,000 dollar grant from The Ohio State University Office of Outreach and Engagement to address health disparities by implementing a comprehensive community health and wellness program in a Near East Side neighborhood of Columbus, OH.

The health and wellness program, called “Making a Difference: Health and Wellness One Street at a Time” will engage residents of the Mount Vernon community in health screenings and treatment for common diagnoses of hypertension, heart diseases, and depression. According to Columbus Public Health statistics, African Americans in Franklin County, Ohio, were 2.6 times more likely to die from diabetes and hypertension and stroke mortality rates were 2.7 times higher than that of Whites. 

“We have been long engaged with the health of the communities we serve, and this award gives us additional resources to integrate community engagement into our curriculum and strategic plan, using a model that includes faculty, staff, and students and, very importantly, community partners,” said Usha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN, vice dean, professor and principal investigator of the College of Nursing grant. “Our dream is for Making A Difference, One Street at a Time, to serve as an exemplar for sustainable and transformational community engagement.”

Nursing students will gain a wide range of clinical experience in health disparities as they screen and educate residents about health and wellness prevention and self-management approaches. The college will conduct “Ask a Buckeye Nurse” forums at health and wellness expos and area barbershops; students also will assess general community needs through neighborhood windshield and walking surveys. Faculty and graduate students will be able to apply finding into effective evidence-based healthcare practices and public policy.

Make a Difference, Inc., focuses on increasing awareness of health and wellness, providing support through life-enhancement strategies to Mount Vernon community residents, creating awareness of neighborhood safety issues, and decreasing juvenile delinquency.

“Make a Difference is honored to partner with the college to improve the neighborhood we know, love and worship in,” said Al Edmondson, founder and director. “Not only will we be able to address the high levels of diabetes and infant mortality in the community, we can show through this partnership that Ohio State cares about the community and will help with its rebirth.”

Adds Menon, “It is a privilege for the college to work with Al Edmondson and the Mount Vernon community. True community work begins with a collaborative enterprise between the university and the community.  This initiative exemplifies the principles of community-centered participatory research and service.”

The program is guided by a social-ecological model and community-campus partnership principles. The ecological approach leverages public policy, community organization support, and research to produce a collaborative approach that centers on community residents.

“We are going to continue to increase awareness with health expos involving the faith-based communities to create a healthier community,” added Edmonson.

Educational and translational research opportunities will involve several Ohio State health sciences colleges.

Among the community partners is the Eldon and Elsie Ward Family YMCA located in Columbus’ Near East Side. The YMCA provides health and wellness activities and programs for area children, youth and families and will provide assistance with fitness activites and space for events.   Several neighborhood churches, such as Broad Street Presbyterian Church, St. Philip Lutheran Church, and Saint Dominic Roman Catholic Church will be involved in assisting with the expos and health screenings of residents.

College of Nursing faculty and researchers involved in the grant include: Jennifer Kue, PhD, assistant professor; Linda Daley, PhD, associate professor; Barbara Warren, PhD, RN, CNS-BC, PMH, FAAN, professor; Karen Clancy, MS, RN, clinical instructor; Laura Szalacha, EdD, associate director and research associate professor, Madhurima Sarkar, PhD, Paula D’Auteuil, MS, APRN-BC, professor emeritus.

The Engagement Impact Grants program provided by Ohio State’s Office of Outreach and Engagement supports innovative and creative outreach and engagement initiatives that connect academic excellence with societal needs as part of Ohio State’s land grant heritage; it enhances and creates partnerships between members of the university community and community supporters; and enhances development of a unit’s outreach and engagement mission. The Engagement Impact Grant program has a proven record of success, with metrics demonstrating an approximately 14:1 return.

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About The Ohio State University College of Nursing

The Ohio State University College of Nursing is the world’s preeminent college known for transforming health and transforming lives through innovative academic programs and research that improves outcomes and evidence-based clinical practice. We exist to revolutionize healthcare and promote the highest levels of wellness in diverse individuals and communities throughout the nation and globe. The College of Nursing is part of the largest health science campus in the nation that is comprised of seven health sciences colleges, including dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, optometry, public health and veterinary medicine. Please visit us at