Center for the study of community health
West Central Alabama Community Health Improvement League (WCACHIL)
The Center for the Study of Community Health depends heavily on strong community engagement – collaboration, partnership, and participation of individuals and agencies – for our service, education, and research activities. From 1994 to 2009, the Center’s core research projects were conducted in the Alabama Black Belt, and the Center worked with a community participation board that is now incorporated as the West Central Alabama Community Health Improvement League (WCACHIL). The Center continues to develop and support the WCACHIL partnership, and WCACHIL continues to serve as a community liaison for several Center-based community education and research projects as well as projects with other UAB entities and other institutions. Such long-term partnerships demonstrate how communities and academic researchers can work together effectively to gain, translate, and apply knowledge for public health promotion and chronic disease prevention.
Black Belt Institute
Since 2002, WCACHIL has partnered with the Center to provide the annual Black Belt Institute for Public Health. This day-long symposium provides public health education to over 100 community partners from the seven WCACHIL counties in west Alabama. Topics include updates from ongoing local research projects and information and activities related to community-identified themes. Recent sessions have included nutrition, food safety, community advocacy, heat-related illness, and mental health.
Environmental Health for Alabama Communities (ENACT)
Since 2011, WCACHIL has been a community partner for environmental health research with investigators from UAB, Virginina Tech, and Johns Hopkins University. For more information about the research and findings, please see the ENACT website.