iIMPACT Programs

Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Institute for Health Law & Policy Lab (iHELP)

The Institute for Health Law and Policy Lab is under the direction of Professor Kathryn Ramsey of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and was launched to foster policy-based service work through interdisciplinary, community-focused engagement.

Medical Legal Partnership (MLP)

Housed in the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and under the direction of Dr. Katy Ramsey, MLP addresses the legal and social issues that impact child and family health through direct legal services, education and systemic advocacy.

Loewenberg College of Nursing

ACEs Curriculum Integration (ACI)

Based in the Loewenberg College of Nursing, ACI aims to incorporate adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) awareness and prevention, toxic stress reduction, trauma informed care, resilience, workable strategies, interventions, and sound policies across undergraduate and graduate courses in the Loewenberg College of Nursing.

Pediatric Asthma Management (PAM)

Based in the Loewenberg College of Nursing, PAM focuses on engaging and empowering Shelby County Schools’ teachers, staff, and care providers to effectively manage pediatric asthma.

College of Professional and Liberal Studies

Coordinated Effort to Enhance Development (CEED)

Under the direction of Dr. Loretta Rudd (College of Professional and Liberal Studies), CEED is a multi-disciplinary approach to enhancing social and emotional development in young children with a coordinated effort of individuals working in/with early care and learning (e.g. childcare directors, childcare teachers, parents with children in childcare and the children in childcare).

Language Environment Analysis (LENA)

Also under the direction of Dr. Loretta Rudd (College of Professional and Liberal Studies), LENA is a program that helps parents/caregivers understand the importance of talking with their children, early brain development, and literacy for early care through back and forth conversational turns.

School of Social Work

Earned Income Tax Credit Project
Dr. Elena Delavega

Dr. Elena Delavega discovered in 2013 that the most economically vulnerable Memphians often fail to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and she decided to involve her students with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to help more families claim the EITC. In 2015, she partnered with Impact America’s SaveFirst Program. Since then, more than 200 MSW students from the University of Memphis have collaborated with Impact America’s SaveFirst Program, and each year these and other students from local universities help around 2,000 Memphis families in poverty and with low and moderate incomes save almost three quarters of a million dollars in tax preparation fees and claim more than two million dollars in the EITC.

American citizens between the ages of 25 and 64 who have had any work earnings during the year are eligible to claim this important credit, which can be more than $6,000 for a family with three children. The EITC can mean the difference between well-being and destitution for a low-income family, and it can start a family on the road to financial sufficiency and asset-building.

This year, free tax help for low- and moderate-income families can be found here: https://impactamerica.com/freetaxprep/

Lifelong Initiative for Family Empowerment (LIFE)

Based in the School of Social Work and under the direction of Dr. Gregory Washington, LIFE is a community based project that aims to connect families to a system of care that promotes the healthy development of their youngest family members.

SMART Center
Dr. Susan Elswick

School Mental Health Access to Resources through Teletherapy (SMART) Research, Training and Treatment Center

In June 2020, Dr. Susan Elswick received funding from the Urban Child Institute and The University of Memphis Institute for Interdisciplinary Memphis Partnerships to Advance Community Transformation (iIMPACT) to develop a tele-behavioral health training and treatment program for the region due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health service delivery in the region. With this seed funding, Dr. Elswick launched the School Mental Health Access Through Teletherapy (SMART) Research, Training, and Treatment Center.

The University of Memphis School of Social Work SMART Research, Training and Treatment Center aims to provide evidence-based interventions for school-based mental health programming, increase access for school-based behavioral health programming in underserved areas, provide training on best practices in tele-behavioral health, develop opportunities to research the use of technology in practice, and provide direct services to the states most vulnerable populations.

The mission of the SMART Research, Training, and Treatment Center is to develop scholarly research in the field, provide competency-based professional training and consultation to the community, provide training in higher education to support the workforce development of this growing field, provide effective, evidence-based therapeutic interventions, and advance the responsible use of technology in school-based and mental health practice. The mission of the program is to provide easily accessible and affordable support services for tele-behavioral health in the region.

SMART Center Website >

Trauma Healing Club
Dr. Susan Elswick and Dr. Gregory Washington

The Trauma Healing Club is a treatment package developed and researched for the purpose of supporting the needs of youth and children (including refugee youth in an after-school support program) who have experienced adverse childhood experiences. This identified intervention utilizes an existing evidence-based trauma intervention framework that was adapted to include more culturally responsive processes such as pyramid mentoring and African drumming.

LIFE Project: Lifelong Initiative for Family Empowerment (Life)
Dr. Gregory Washington

LIFE will engage parents/caregivers and youth in families with children aged 0-8 in health-promoting activities. This community-based project will focus on the needs of families who live in zip codes 38106,38109, 38126, and 38111.

LIFE will engage parents/caregivers and youth in families with children aged 0-8 in health-promoting activities. This community-based project will focus on the needs of families who live in zip codes 38106,38109, 38126, and 38111.

One of the highlights of the LIFE initiative is that all enrolled families will be matched with trained mentors/navigators that can enhance their strengths and connection to culturally rich resources that promote family health. Families will also have access to resource rich camps and think tanks for all members of the family.

These camps and think tanks will provide family members with vocational information, family empowerment training, caregiver mentoring support, Nurturing Parenting resources and opportunities to earn incentives for participation in the camps and think tanks.
CAYD Projects

Men healing Men
Dr. Gregory Washington

The Men Healing Men and Communities Network (MHMCN) is committed to healing and empowering our youth, families, and communities. MHMCN is designed to build and empower healthy communities, prevent violence, and to reduce and ultimately eliminate trauma among our youth, families, and communities.

MHMCN seeks to increase the trauma informed knowledge and skills of African American men through training curriculum focused on:

  • Trauma across individual, youth, family and community levels.
  • Need for support to address compassion fatigue (burnout and secondary trauma).
  • Need for peer training and support from fellow professionals and community volunteers.
  • Additional knowledge of human development.
  • Request for new knowledge, skills, and tools to identify, measure and address trauma.

This should help build the capacity of the organizations, agencies, and institutions they represent. Trauma-informed approaches and frameworks involve a broad understanding of traumatic stress reactions, common responses to trauma, as well as, recovery from and growth after traumatic experiences.
CAYD Future Projects >

The H.E.R.O. Training Program ©
Dr. Paige Pirkey, Ph.D., e-RYT, YACEP

The purpose of The H.E.R.O. (Helping Everyone Reinvent Obstacles) Training Program © is to inspire and uplift the hearts of future generations. Specifically, this program treatment package aims to support children, youth, and adolescents in achieving their goals by developing their self-regulatory skills, especially social and emotional learning, via an infusion of mindful movement and breathing, relaxation, storytelling, simulation-based learning, and other approaches. This program is equipped to be implemented via schools and/or in the community.

This effort is being led by Dr. Paige Pirkey and has received funding from The Urban Child Institute.

College of Education

Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP)
Dr. Carolyn Kaldon

Project Overview: The Literacy Landscape Project

SCS has been focusing on and investing support for K-3 literacy for several years through evidence-based instructional resources and high-quality professional development through a variety of mechanisms, including Literacy Laureates (e.g., literacy mentors/coaches with additional SCS training and support) as well as consulting with Dr. Nell Duke (University of Michigan) and Dr. Donyall Dickey (e.g., Educational Epiphany) as well as other literacy experts in the field. In concert with SCS District’s literacy suite of resources, a consortium of community-based and University-based partners have been working together with the Urban Child Institute to align all Shelby County efforts to expand resources, access and support for literacy development from birth to grade 3. Literacy Mid-South is soon to launch the READ901 campaign to facilitate and streamline information and access to our community resources related to literacy. Stand for Children is prepared to implement Reading Check-Up to assist family members in supporting their children’s literacy development from home. Additionally, multiple University-based faculty are working in concert with these initiatives and the District to learn more about the underpinnings of visual and auditory processing in literacy development as well as how to best identify and support dyslexic learners.

The Literacy Landscape project will independently study the coordinated community and District efforts by providing tailored, quantitative and qualitative findings related to all of these initiatives. This study will take a closer look into the literacy resources each SCS elementary school has, including Literacy Laureates, and examine if the number of those resources available shows a relationship to student achievement in literacy. In essence, this study will assess if the quantity of school and community-based literacy resources makes a difference in students’ literacy achievement through quantitative data and analysis, while we will illuminate more about the quality of school and community-based literacy resources through qualitative data and analysis.

More specifically, the proposed study will provide an independent look at the impact of Literacy Laureates; collect information about each SCS elementary schools’ literacy resources through administrator and teacher feedback, and gather stakeholders’ feedback regarding the literacy professional development provided, including any recommendations from Dr. Nell Duke (University of Michigan) and Dr. Donyall Dickey (Education Epiphany).

Counseling Educational Psychology and Research (CEPR)
The BRAiN Center
Dr. Eraina Schauss

Click or tap here for a video that explains the BRAiN Center's work

The BRAIN CENTER at the University of Memphis is a transdisciplinary clinical and research collaborative with the aim of advancing evidence-based practice and policy through neuroscience-informed interventions. Our vision is to become an internationally recognized center of excellence for integrative clinical practice in the areas of adversity, resiliency, and wellness across the lifespan.

BRAIN Center and LeBonheur Partnership

Dr. Eraina Schauss and colleagues from the BRAIN CENTER at the University of Memphis were recently awarded funding from the Urban Child Institute in partnership with the Trauma Center at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. This project will establish integrated mental and behavioral counseling services within the Trauma Center and Emergency Department at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. The initiative was spearheaded by Schauss, alongside Dr. Regan Williams, MD., Medical Director of Trauma Services at Le Bonheur Hospital, who recognized the need to heal the emotional wound in addition to the physical wounds of trauma. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the connection between physical health and mental well-being and the enormous mental health impact the pandemic has had upon vulnerable populations, specifically children. Through this joint initiative, any patient or family member receiving services at the Trauma Center or Emergency Department at Le Bonheur Hospital will be eligible to receive free mental health counseling services provided by advanced graduate-level students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at the University of Memphis under the supervision of Dr. Schauss and BRAIN CENTER colleagues.
The Brain Center Memphis >

College of Education and School of Communication Sciences and Disorders Initiative

UofM Autism Treatment, Training and Research Clinic Program

Dr. Thouraya Al-Nasser
Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor, Applied Behavior Analysis, ICL; Director of UofM Autism Treatment, Training and Research Clinic (Autism clinic on campus)

Department of Psychology & School of Public Health

Evaluation: Promoting Resilience in Memphis: An Outcome Evaluation of iIMPACT Services for the Health and Well-being of Urban Children

Under the direction of Dr. Kathryn Howell (Department of Psychology) and Dr. Debra Bartelli (School of Public Health), this initiative supports evaluation efforts of the funded iIMPACT projects by assisting the project PI’s with evaluation design, implementation, and analysis to ensure that intended outcomes are realistic, achievable, and measurable across iIMPACT projects.

Research and Innovation

Infrastructure and Support

In July 2021, Dr. Susan Elswick was identified as the Faculty Director of iIMPACT, and iIMPACT was housed in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy (SUAPP) due to the interprofessional and interdisciplinary nature of this research and work. Dr. Katherine Lambert-Pennington, Director of SUAPP, has been instrumental in this transition and continuation of iIMPACT mission and vision within the university

Under the leadership of Dr. Susan Elswick and support of SUAPP, the new iIMPACT Infrastructure ensures that all the current and future initiatives intentionally work together to achieve the same goals and optimize collective impact by providing a central “hub” to drive, support, and enhance the work of this group of researchers and support the community partnerships.

Department of Psychology

Pregnant Moms' Empowerment Program (PMEP)

The overarching goal of the project is to evaluate the Pregnant Moms' Empowerment Program (PMEP), which is aimed at improving maternal mental health, reducing re-victimization, enhancing parenting sensitivity, and strengthening infant development. The project also seeks to examine mechanisms of change, including social support and empowerment. Women participating in the study will be interviewed at baseline, post-intervention and when their infants are 3 months and 12 months old.