Nov. 20, 2015 | Twenty-five community groups were honored Nov. 13 for their contributions to research at the 3rd annual Community Partner Celebration sponsored by the UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI).

TRI Community Advisory Board members Naomi Cottoms, Charles Moore and Ann Huff with Kathryn Hall-Trujillo (center).

TRI Community Advisory Board members Naomi Cottoms, Charles Moore and Anna Huff Davis with Kathryn Hall-Trujillo (center).

The celebration, at the Center at University Park in Little Rock, included welcome remarks from TRI Director Laura James, M.D., and UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. The keynote speaker was Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, M.P.H., founder of the Birthing Project USA, which began as a community project to assist pregnant women and has been replicated in other countries.

The key message to the 88 attendees representing 21 grassroots community organizations and four advisory boards, was how important their work is to finding solutions to society’s most challenging health problems.

Rahn noted that Arkansas ranks at or near the bottom on virtually every key measure of health. No matter how much knowledge there is about obesity, diabetes or cancer deaths, he said, it is of no value without new, innovative approaches to improving health.

“If we keep doing what we’ve been doing we’ll get what we already got,” Rahn said. “We don’t know what to do about the different health outcomes, the health disparities that disproportionately impact on people of color, people in rural areas, people in poverty, and people with low educational attainment.

UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., welcomed UAMS' partners to the celebration in their honor.

UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., welcomed UAMS’ partners to the celebration in their honor.

“The future hinges on some new ways of thinking and developing new knowledge and new methodologies to actually change the future,” he added. “That’s what you can help us with. We thank you for doing this, we thank you for partnering with us. We truly need our partners to help us chart a course for a healthier tomorrow.”

James said the perspective of UAMS’ grassroots partners is key.

“We need to interact with our community partners, and we need to partner with you to do research that is the most meaningful to Arkansans,” James said. “What’s important about tonight is we are celebrating and thinking about how we can in partnership take scientific discoveries or new findings and push them into the homes and families and communities and churches out in the state to improve the health of our state.”

Featured speaker Hall-Trujillo, an Arkansas native whose Birthing Project has become an international model for helping pregnant women, praised the work of the attendees.  A key to the success of her project was realizing the need for communities to understand how important systems and resources work, such as university, medical, education, housing and legal systems.

“The resources we brought to the table were partnered with people who had resources,” Hall-Trujillo said. “What we need to do is be the best relationship builders, the best ambassadors and best liaisons for the families we support.  I can see by looking at this room, that that is exactly what you’re doing, and I applaud you for doing it, and I can see a better place.”

Laura James, M.D., TRI Director, applauded the work of UAMS' community partners.

Laura James, M.D., TRI Director, applauded the work of UAMS’ community partners.

The community organizations honored this year are:

Arkansas Community Health Worker Association (ARCHWA)

Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind

Cisneros Center for New Americans

Divine Deliverance

East Arkansas Family Health Center

El Zócalo Immigrant Resource Center

First Baptist Dew Drop Church

Representatives of King's Chapel with their award.

Representatives of King’s Chapel with their award.

Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas

House of Benjamin

Human Rights Campaign

King’s Chapel

Lee County Cooperative Clinic

New Light MBC

Oak Forest United Methodist Church

Planting A Seed Foundation

Pleasant View Ministries Church

Representatives of Oak Forest United Methodist Church with their award.

Representatives of Oak Forest United Methodist Church with their award.

Regenerated Missionary Baptist Church

Rural Community Alliance

Seeds of Liberation

Washington Regional Medical Center Employee Education Department

Young Adult Opportunity Center


The community advisory boards honored this year are:

Arkansas Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Task Force

Thomas & Lyon Longevity Clinic Patient

and Family Advisory Council

TransForm Health Arkansas Research Working Group

UAMS Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council

VIEW THE EVENT PHOTO ALBUM