By Ellen Goldbaum, originally published in UBNow
Published March 20, 2023
A veritable who’s who of impactful community organizations will be sharing their wisdom when the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB hosts its first Community Engagement Fair March 23.
The fair, which is free and open to the public, will feature representatives of more than 20 community organizations dedicated to providing a wide array of services to the city of Buffalo and the Western New York region as a whole. Jacobs School student groups will also be represented.
The event will also feature a sampling of foods from local, minority-owned businesses Sunshine Vegan Eats, A Taste of Soul and La Flor Bakery. Local businesses include Zawadi Books and Buffalo Scrubs & Uniforms.
It will take place from 2-5 p.m. in the second-floor atrium of the Jacobs School.
“Our goal is to educate our faculty, students and staff, the health care workers on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and the general public about how to get involved and engaged in this community,” says Anyango Kamina, interim unit diversity officer in the Jacobs School.
While different departments and a wide array of student groups already engage closely with the community, Kamina says there was interest in a schoolwide initiative. That interest emerged as a long-term goal from a Jacobs School community response team that the school’s administration established in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Tops last May.
“We were talking about addressing the social determinants of health,” explains Tanya Biscardi, director of the Office of Accreditation and Quality Improvement in the Jacobs School, “but there are so many things that are not in our wheelhouse that we are still passionate about and there are so many groups doing the work. So we said, ‘Let’s invite them in and learn.’”
In her letter inviting community groups to attend, Allison Brashear, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School, wrote: “I am in awe of the strong sense of community in the City of Good Neighbors. The Jacobs School is committed to increasing community engagement, and we are excited to make this happen by strengthening existing partnerships and building new ones with community organizations.”
Brashear noted the fair is an opportunity for these groups to educate the rest of the community, as well as faculty, students and staff of UB and the BNMC about their missions and to gain volunteers and support.
“It’s important that the community feels supported and gets to know us,” says Maria Wilson, inclusive excellence workforce specialist at the Jacobs School. “The Jacobs School can be a hub for community engagement.”
Community and UB organizations that will be present include:
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
17. Partnerships for the Goals