Denise Bates is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health. She has played an instrumental role in developing a community-based research and service-learning project in Knoxville, Tennessee called Healing Transitions: Program Interventions for Refugee Youth and Families. This project is the cornerstone of a still-expanding UTK-community partnership that helps refugee families from Burundi find a place in the Knoxville community. This partnership, in turn, has just been recognized by the W.K. Kellogg Outreach Scholarship Award as one of the top four public university outreach programs in the United States.
The award-winning partnership includes Bates, her initial Healing Transitions partner Allison Anders, and many other faculty members and students, along with a growing list of community partners. Bates’s own scholarship continues to focus on assessments of the community infrastructure and interviews with incoming and existing refugees to determine short and long-term transition needs of refugees in Knoxville. Multiple research methods are being used to identify cultural competency and content education needs for the community, as well as for the refugees finding their place within it.
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