El Paso — The University of Texas at El Paso is one of four national finalists for the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The award recognizes the extraordinary outreach and engagement activities of four-year public universities.
Finalists for the Magrath Award are the regional winners of the 2013 Outreach Scholarship W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award. UTEP recently received the South region award for the Nuestra Casa (Our House) Initiative and its impact on tuberculosis awareness.
The University will compete against Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University, and the University of Idaho for the national distinction.
Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to recognize the engagement scholarship and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities.
The Nuestra Casa Initiative, spearheaded by Assistant Professor of Social Work Eva Moya, Ph.D., is an interactive advocacy, communication and social mobilization tool that raised the public’s awareness about tuberculosis. One of the project’s major components was the Nuestra Casa exhibit at UTEP’s Centennial Museum.
The exhibit documented the lives of people living with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS along the U.S.-Mexico border through powerful photographs that were on display in a shantytown-style home inside the gallery from January to December 2012.
“This award validates the innovative work of Dr. Moya and the Nuestra Casa Initiative, provides funding for further support of the initiative, and demonstrates UTEP’s commitment to bring together University scholars and community leaders to make a positive difference in the region we serve,” said UTEP Associate Provost John Wiebe, Ph.D.
The exhibit was accompanied by a yearlong series of health and social programs developed by UTEP faculty and students in conjunction with the Centennial Museum, the College of Health Sciences, the Center for Civic Engagement, and local community partner agencies.
The first exhibit of Nuestra Casa took place on UTEP's campus in 2009. Through grassroots assistance and support from USAID, the Mexico National TB Program and five state TB programs in Mexico, and health jurisdictions in various localities, Nuestra Casa was subsequently showcased in four locations in Mexico (Cancun, Quintana Roo; Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca; Reynosa, Tamaulipas; and Tijuana, Baja California) and a two-month exhibition at the Global Odyssey Museum in Atlanta hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With at least 25,000 visitors on the UTEP campus and more than 24,000 off-campus, the Nuestra Casa Initiative led to personal commitments of attitude and behavior change and generated press coverage of health disparities, along with significant scholarly works.
The awards program is sponsored by the APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium.
Regional winners received a $5,000 prize and will compete for the Magrath award during the Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference at Texas Tech University in October. The winner will be announced during the 126th APLU Annual Meeting Nov. 10-12 in Washington, D.C. and will receive a sculpture and a $20,000 prize.