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Building a Connected Community

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Community engagement is about building connections between and among diverse communities, researchers and research institutions. It creates relationships based on trust, mutual respect, reciprocity and shared authority, which enrich, inform and spur creative collaborative activity and contribute to the public good.

The Center for Community Health & Prevention serves as a “bridge” between the University of Rochester and the broader community, supporting the development of partnerships for community health. Our community health efforts combine the unique strengths of the University of Rochester Medical Center with those of our valued community partners, including individuals, groups and institutions. We strive for a comprehensive approach to community health, which activates the multidisciplinary skills found in an academic medical center to provide important community services, educate community-engaged health professionals and conduct community-based research.

Our Center engages in mutually beneficial collaborations with partners within the University, the Greater Rochester area (local, regional) and beyond (New York State, national, global) to improve the health of area residents through community-engaged activities. Our director, Nancy M. Bennett, MD, MS, describes the Center’s approach, as follows: “The partnerships that we form are critical to developing relevant models and meeting the needs of those we serve where they are, in a way that’s most meaningful to them.”

We strive to create environments that support self-determination, or motivation, and health outcomes in a variety of ways. Evidence suggests that when people's psychological needs of relatedness, autonomy and competence are optimally supported, they are more likely to persist at their behaviors, and feel better overall. Working closely with our partners, we address community-identified health needs and issues affecting the well-being of those within our region through disease prevention, research, education, policy and workforce navigation.

Our Healthy Living Programs, such as the Weight Loss Program and Nicotine Dependence Treatment Program, help people lead healthier lives. Through our current and past community-based programs, we link researchers and community stakeholders with connections, resources and education. These activities help us and our partners inform policymakers and the community about local health challenges and disparities, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and serve as a foundation for evidence-based practices to improve health, health equity and overall quality of life.