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Office of Community Health Engagement

The Office of Community Health Engagement is the non-clinical, community-facing program for the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Our team believes that all people deserve to have equal access to quality healthcare and support services, regardless of the social determinants of health (SDoH) that are often barriers to medical care.  Our commitment to playing a role in bridging the gaps between the underserved, vulnerable populations and their access to quality care, positions us to actively and strategically engage with underserved communities to uncover their needs, to connect them to local agencies capable of addressing their barriers to health care, and to serve as a network of advocates for those who often feel unheard or undervalued.

Who benefits from OCHE services

  • The underserved, vulnerable populations (or communities) who need assistance with navigating the health care system.
  • Individuals who are most at-risk for chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease and chronic lung disease. 

Programs Offered

The development of our first community urban garden is located in the Frayser community. The Frayser Community Garden launched in 2021 as a collaboration of the UTHSC College of Medicine and its Board of Visitors advisory council, UT Extension Institute of Agriculture, the residents of Frayser, the City of Memphis, and Memphis Parks.  The goal of the Frayser Community Urban Garden is to provide the residents of the Frayser community with access to healthy, locally grown produce.  Today, the garden now offers gardening classes for residents, and it continues to improve access to free, locally grown, nutritional foods for residents of a community where access is limited.

UTHSC serves as a Network Partner Agency with United Way of the Mid-South by connecting families to the necessary comprehensive and holistic services that address the needs of both adults and children through its referral network. The goal of this partnership is to have a collective impact on our community through strong collaboration, continuous communication, and a trusted referral base with local partnering agencies.

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Through the work of trusted community-based organizations and our community health workers, we address COVID-19 related health disparities and advance health equity by expanding state health department capacity and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infection (or transmission) among populations at higher risk.
The UTHSC Health Hub provides health coaches who offer support to change health behaviors, assist in lifestyle management, and connects the community with essential primary care and specialty care. We provide health coaching support and lifestyle/stress management, and our team also assists the Uptown community in gaining access to essential primary and behavioral health care.  We are here to help individuals with their health concerns by offering the following services: Health Coaching Sessions, Health Screenings (Blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), Diabetes), Connecting to Care.  The UTHSC Health Hub also offers fitness classes, a community walking group, wellness education and cooking classes.  To connect with a Health Coach at the Health Hub please call 901.448.1956. 
The goals of our Advancing Health Literacy program are to improve health literacy and health outcomes for residents of the City of Memphis.  In partnership with the Memphis Fire Department’s 911 emergency system, our community health navigators (CHNs) assist residents with navigating the health care system, arrange care coordination for services, and identify community health resources and support for our vulnerable populations in the City of Memphis.  Some services offered include providing COVID-19 information, at-home test kits and vaccine education, arranging transportation to doctor appointments, and helping individuals to understand how to use their health insurance benefits and/or to apply for other benefits for which they might qualify.
Oct 18, 2023