Urban Service Track (UST) which began in 2007, is an interprofessional educational program to identify, train, and support students interested in healthcare and committed to providing care to the urban underserved patient populations. Urban Service Track is a collaboration between the Connecticut Area Health Education Center and the UConn Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Social Work as well as Quinnipiac University’s Physician’s Assistant Program. Interprofessional Education (IPE) is an approach to teaching and learning to help students from different professions develop and enhance capacities for effective collaboration so as to improve health outcomes. (WHO 2010). Urban Service Track is funded by federal and state grant funds.
Social Work students have been part of UST since 2012. Edna Comer and Shanthi Rao, members of the social work faculty, are advisors to the social work students and members of the UConn UST faculty members. Seven students completed the two year program as Urban Health Scholars and seven are currently enrolled.
Three Urban Health Scholars from the first cohort who completed the program are either working or involved in health and behavioral health care:
- Tyffani Douglas MSW ‘14 is a volunteer in the Peace Corps.
- Tianna Hill MSW ‘14 received the first Urban Service Track Alumni Excellence award for Social Work (2015) and is currently working as the Program Coordinator for the Connecticut School Based Diversion Initiative at the Child Health Development Institute.
- Karonesa Logan MSW ’14, and Master’s in Public Health (‘15) from the UConn School of Public Health and is employed at the Department of Social Services
The most recent cohort graduated from the program in May 2015 and are mostly working or involved in health and behavioral health care:
- Lisa Valle MSW ‘15 attended the 2015 National Association of Community Health Centers Policy and Issues Forum in Washington D.C.
- Daniel Davidson is pursuing dual Masters’ degrees in Social work and in Public Health.
- Nicole Seymour MSW ‘15 is working as a Research Associate at Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut
- Darren Besse MSW ’15, a veteran and former police officer is exploring opportunities for employment with Federal Law Enforcement
Current Cohort 2nd Year Students
Patricia Bowen and Teresa Demichele are in the program’s second year. Both have demonstrated strong leadership roles and commitment to the UST program. They have been instrumental in demonstrating and articulating the role of the social worker in the interprofessional team. They have assisted in recruiting social work students to the program.
Current Cohort 1st year Students
Currently we have five students, Stacy Lalor, Erich Priest, Elizabeth Lachat, Jones Jyansu, & Lara Marie Edmonds.
- They all participated in the UST program’s first year Clinical Skills Boot Camp. The purpose of this activity was to assure that all first year Urban Health Scholars have an understanding of the tools and skills required for providing health promotion education and screenings for the community activities.
In September of 2014 UST Social Workers faculty and students co led their first community activity at Judah House, a shelter for women returning into the community after incarceration and their children. Social work students along with Schools of Dental and Pharmacy and other disciplines provided education, resources and materials on nutritional counseling and dental health to the residents and children.
In September 2015 UST social work student’s co led with the School of Pharmacy on the Affordable Medications Project. The program entails in educating and engaging community members to show them the available programs or avenues to access their medications and increase adherence.For more information about the program please contact Dr. Edna Comer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 959.200.3649.
What UST Social Work scholars are saying about their experience:
My experience with UST has definitely enhanced my education as a social worker. I love that I am able to use the experience to stand out a bit when it comes to others in the field- I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with other professionals that are so different from social workers, and I think that is valuable!” – L. Vallee
Overall, a worthwhile, positive experience. I learned a lot in the learning retreats, our social work sessions, and the volunteer events about working as part of an interdisciplinary team”. – P. Bowen
Overall the learning retreats were interesting and engaging. I learned a lot from them and on interdisciplinary teams. – N. Seymour
For more information: