COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTS & PARTNERSHIPS
The Institute has enjoyed widespread community support. Early partners, such as Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, the Shelby County Health Department, Habitat for Humanity, and the City's Division of Housing & Community Development, helped launch the Institute's healthy housing policy work, providing students with unique educational and policy service opportunities. In close partnership with the Director of Experiential Learning, Professor Danny Schaffzin, the Le Bonheur relationship was further strengthened with launch of the Medical-Legal Partnership, Memphis CHiLD, in September 2015. Memphis CHiLD has provided a critical link between educational, research, and service missions of the Institute, offering students a unique opportunity to learn and work alongside healthcare professionals to advance child and family health.
After an initial policy focus on healthy housing, the Institute aligned with local and state efforts to address adverse child experiences ("ACEs"), as leaders looked to develop interventions to prevent, or at least mitigate, ACEs. With support of the ACE Awareness Foundation ("ACEAF"), the Institute launched its innovative Policy Lab, a specific forum to gather an interdisciplinary mix of students and faculty to address community health policy issues, starting with ACEs. ACEAF also supported the statewide effort Building Strong Brains, for which the Institute was honored to provide early policy support. In recognition of interest in addressing ACEs, in 2016, the University of Memphis pulled together leaders from across the campus, including from Memphis Law and the Institute, to develop a proposal for institutional support from the Urban Child Institute ("UCI").
From this effort, Memphis Law received grant support for Memphis CHiLD and the Institute's Policy Lab ("iHeLP Policy Lab"), critically for the latter, funding a Fellow position, student policy research assistants, and health law scholarships for incoming law students. The Institute also helped shape the cross-campus initiative—iIMPACT—that resulted from this initial alignment of proposals.
Building a strong cross-campus presence also led to the Institute's invitation to join in a University of Memphis proposal to the Memphis Research Consortium ("MRC"), which initially supported—for the Institute—a Juvenile Justice Policy Fellow and student research assistant, and which currently continues to fund ACEs-related youth justice faculty and student work in partnership with Professor Demetria Frank. It also partially funds a School of Public Health-based postdoc position to corral data in support of the policy work.