United Way of Tarrant County selects UNTHSC for community assessment

Emily Spence Almaguer UNTHSC
Dr. Emily Spence-Almaguer

United Way of Tarrant County today announced the selection of the UNT Health Science Center to conduct a comprehensive community needs assessment to uncover the most pressing social issues affecting the health and prosperity of the Tarrant County population.

The results of the assessment, which will include in-depth, one-on-one interviews and focus groups with local leaders, civic representatives and citizens, will allow United Way of Tarrant County to determine priorities and future funding allocations to not only address the issues but to determine the root causes and solve them.

“This research will help us discover prominent issues that are having profound effects on the community and citizens’ health and prosperity,” said TD Smyers, President and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “We are proud to partner with UNT Health Science Center.”

The community needs assessment is part of United Way of Tarrant County’s new strategic plan, which will launch later this month. It will be led by researchers from UNTHSC’s School of Public Health under the guidance of Dr. Emily Spence-Almaguer, Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Health Equity. The research leadership team will include Danielle Rohr, MS, serving as Project Director, and Dr. Karen Bell, Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Systems.

“We are committed to engaging with the community through education, collaboration and research, to help address issues impacting the health and well-being of Tarrant County residents,” said Dr. Dennis Thombs, Dean, UNTHSC School of Public Health. “The research team brings extensive experience in community needs assessments and projects of this type, and the information to be discovered should be important in guiding future solutions for Tarrant County.”

The project is made possible by a $250,000 grant from the Sid Richardson Foundation. The foundation has focused their distribution of major grants to organizations that are dedicated to improving Texas communities. Findings from the assessment are expected fall of 2018.

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