Matt Schorr
April 17, 2018


Photos by Matt Schorr
Five student teams from 11 programs and five institutions worked with four MVA Community Partners in the IPE Student Project.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. Benefiting the community through partnerships with non-profit organizations took center stage on April 5, 2018, at Lee Chapel AME Church, where the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA) gave special recognition to students who participated in the Inter-institutional Interprofessional Education (IPE) Student Project for the 2017-18 academic year.


The IPE Student Project

The IPE Student Project, hosted by the MVA, is a collaborative effort between academia and the community. It provides an opportunity for students from various health programs to collaborate with non-profit organizations in a real world setting.

The project began in 2014 as part of the MVA’s vision to be a leader in advancing inter-institutional collaborations and its mission to enrich learning and clinical research by developing partnerships between Meharry Medical College (MMC), Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and the communities they serve.

“It’s always mutually beneficial to be able to give service to the community in which we live,” Pilar Prather, M.Ed, MVA Program Manager and IPE Student Project organizer, commented.


The recognition ceremony

Prather and members of the MVA team gave certificates of recognition to each student and IPE faculty member in honor of their efforts. Likewise, the non-profit organizations who participated received certificates and donations from the MVA.

“We always want to recognize efforts that benefit the health and well-being of the community,” Prather noted.


Community Partners

In total, 25 students from 11 programs and five institutions worked with four MVA Community Partners:

  • Dismas House
  • The Oasis Center
  • St. Luke’s Community House
  • Urban Housing Solutions


Team projects

The students who worked with Dismas House developed a research report about current diversion programs offered in Tennessee for non-violent first-time offenders with drug and alcohol charges.

The team paired with the Oasis Center highlighted health care-related career opportunities and necessary academic skills for success. The health care-related careers will be featured on the Oasis’s Center college connection webpage.

Two teams worked with St. Luke’s Community House. One worked with the organization’s Senior department and created  a nutrition guide and execise video. The other team worked with the Children & Youth department to design a brochure that educates children about dental care. The brochure was translated into Vietnamese and Spanish.

The Urban Housing Solutions team focused on contributing to health outcomes for vulnerable residents through a resource guide.


The future of healthcare

“The student teams created and implemented plans of action to address community-defined needs, guided by our community partners,” Prather said afterward.

She added, “Projects like this are so important to the future of healthcare in our communities. Learning how to work together – in academia and the community – is crucial to our well-being as a whole.”


About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Founded in 1999, the Alliance bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas -- community engagement, interprofessional education and research -- by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the Alliance serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops