Dean Patricia Wahl will present the third annual Service Award for Community Partners to Alison Eisinger and Scott Morrow at the School's annual MPH Practicum Reception on May 19, 2009. Eisinger is executive director of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness (SKCCH); Morrow is a community organizer working with the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE) and the Women's Housing, Equality and Enhancement League (WHEEL).
The School's Service Award for Community Partners came about when students wished to recognize the wonderful support provided by two mentors in Eastern Washington and the work they do for the University and in their communities. The Student Public Health Association and the School's leadership concurred and established a permanent award to honor community partners for exemplary support of the School's mission and goals. The award's purpose is to recognize collaborators outside the School who have shown dedication to working cooperatively with students, faculty, staff, or administrators to provide service to the School and increase its impact in the community.
The 2009 Community Service Award recognizes the educational value of the opportunities offered our students by this year's honorees and the organizations they represent. At SKCCH, some students are trained to participate in the annual "One Night Count," an attempt to determine the size of the homeless population in King county; others undertake extended applied experiences. Eisinger makes an effort to involve students in the entire range of her agency's work, from policy advocacy to event organizing to hands-on service work. She cares about the quality of the students' experience at SKCCH, and our students value Eisinger's attributes as a mentor.
SHARE and WHEEL are self-organized, grassroots organizations of homeless and formerly homeless individuals. SHARE supports the operation of Tent City, whose residents have welcomed our students' visits and support for several years. Morrow has enhanced the learning experiences by connecting students with residents who participate in the Department of Health Services' Community Development for Health course. Tent City residents also served on a panel organized by Students for Equal Health and have agreed to be subjects for a thesis project.
Dean Wahl noted that homelessness is a serious public health problem. "We're grateful to Alison Eisinger and Scott Morrow for giving our students an opportunity to learn first-hand about the many factors that contribute to homelessness and to participate in community-based efforts to address them."