This year, Indiana Campus Compact introduced its Awards Gala audience to an incredible group of faculty, staff, students, and community partners who have changed the way service engagement is done. Award winners were honored for their exceptional drive, passion, advocacy, action, and compassion resulting in improving their communities, their state, and the nation.
Among this year’s honorees was IU School of Public Health-Bloomington Assistant Professor Priscilla Barnes who won the Brian Douglas Hiltunen Award for the Outstanding Contribution to the Scholarship of Engagement. Dr. Barnes clearly places community engagement at the center of her work as a teacher and a scholar. She is succeeding in building creative and authentic partnerships that enhance student learning opportunities and strengthen local health systems.
Barnes is committed to scholarly research, and is steadfast in her devotion to creating a community of scholars committed to community-based research. But, perhaps more importantly, she uses her knowledge to help community organizations conduct their own program assessment. She fosters genuine community partnerships and engages students in hands-on, skill-oriented, community-based research that will benefit the community for years to come.
Barnes provides a brilliant example of what is possible when faculty direct their teaching, scholarship, and service toward the public good. She has worked as a teacher and a scholar. She has worked with her students to build mutually beneficial, authentic relationships. She places the highest value on providing students and community partners with the knowledge and the skills required to improve healthcare access and quality. Through her outreach, Dr. Barnes is easily able to engage community members who are minimally trained in research, and make a partnership fun – teaching in an indirect way through her leadership.
Barnes earned a B.S. in 1997 and a Master of Public Health degree in 1998 from Indiana University. She then completed a doctoral degree at Western Michigan University in 2010. Her research interests are in public health systems and services and community health improvement. She examines organizational factors that influence the use of partnerships among community-based organizations and coalitions to improve population health.
For the past ten years, Barnes has worked for several public and private organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regional and local health departments, professional associations and foundations, and the U.S. Air Force. Her primary role, while working for these organizations, was developing and evaluating public health initiatives as well as advocating for programs and policies that improve quality of life for individuals and families.