Collaborative Community Partnerships

The MPH program values and actively works to ensure strong mutually beneficial relationships with community members, community-based organizations and emerging and existing public health professionals through a wide array of collaborative research and service initiatives including local, regional, and global projects.

We endeavor to create and nurture collaborative partnerships through;

  • Co-creating with our valued community colleagues the skills necessary to critically analyze information,
  • Fostering respect, and
  • Advocating for equity within and across populations, locally, nationally and internationally.

As faculty, staff and students we seek to support self-determination and dignity, which is central to community inclusion. Community inclusion is further strengthened by collaborating in the applied practice, volunteer and research experiences of students, using relevant technologies and magnifying community priorities and supporting community-member participation.

Dr. Jeanita W. Richardson has over 20 years of expertise in applied qualitative and quantitative strategies designed to assess and advance health equity outcomes through research, teaching and mutually beneficial community partnerships. In collaboration with international ministries of health, federal, state and local educational and health bodies, she offers data-driven recommendations and has earned a reputation as an advocate for optimizing the health of populations. As Director of Community Education, Research and Practice, she oversees a variety of community-led and community-based initiatives, outreach programs and research projects to foster mutually beneficial solutions to complex problems. Her experience in community engagement and research mentorship make her a highly sought after resource for culturally respectful research and programmatic practices. Research collaborations include but have not been limited to, the W.K Kellogg Foundation, the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Health, the Center for School, Health & Education (APHA), the Water and Health in Limpopo (WHIL) (SA) collaborative and local community organizations.

Dr. Kelsie D. Kelly’s research and community initiatives aim to improve health disparities in African American communities and raise youth awareness of public health issues through health education, advocacy and empowerment. She has worked both locally and globally to improve population health outcomes using mixed methods. Prior to joining UVA, she worked as a health education specialist at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. During that time, she implemented community health initiatives in collaboration with multicultural families in university housing, hosted community-wide Health Fairs bridging University and community relations and mentored undergraduate and graduate students in community health. Her work in the local community includes working with community partners to offer after school health education programs to 5-8th grade students in low-income neighborhoods. She and her students have worked to raise awareness on public health issues that young people deem important.

Diamond Walton, MPH, has spent the past eight years working to support community-led solutions to public health challenges. Ms. Walton currently serves as UVA MPH Program’s Applied Practice Experience Coordinator. In this role she helps MPH students apply what they are learning in the classroom in real-world settings by matching students with organizations working to improve population health. Ms. Walton also serves on community-based coalitions including the Move2Health Coalition, which uses a health equity lens to promote healthy eating and active living, and the Community Health UVA Partnerships coalition, which coordinates UVA Health’s community engagement efforts. In addition, she provides technical assistance to organizations applying for and awarded MAPP2Health Core Group Implementation grants and the UVA Community Health Grant.