UTEP-Based TB Awareness Program Honored

May 29, 2013

The Nuestra Casa Initiative at The University of Texas at El Paso has been selected as the winner of the Outreach Scholarship W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award for the Southern U.S. Region for its impact on tuberculosis awareness.  

UTEP is one of five regional winners and a finalist for the C. Peter Magrath University Community Engagement Award.

Established in 2006 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the two awards recognize the outreach and engagement activities of four-year public universities that have redesigned their learning, discovery and engagement functions to become even more involved with their communities.

The Nuestra Casa Initiative, spearheaded by Assistant Professor of Social Work Eva Moya, Ph.D., is an interactive advocacy, communication and social mobilization tool that raised the public’s awareness about tuberculosis. One of the project’s major components was the Nuestra Casa exhibit at UTEP’s Centennial Museum.

The exhibit documented the lives of people living with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS along the U.S.-Mexico border through powerful photographs that were on display in a shantytown-style home inside the gallery from January to December 2012.

“This award validates the innovative work of Dr. Moya and the Nuestra Casa Initiative, provides funding for further support of the initiative, and demonstrates UTEP’s commitment to bring together University scholars and community leaders to make a positive difference in the region we serve,” said UTEP Associate Provost John Wiebe, Ph.D.

The exhibit was accompanied by a yearlong series of health and social programs developed by UTEP faculty and students in conjunction with the Centennial Museum, the College of Health Sciences, the Center for Civic Engagement, and local community partner agencies. 

The first exhibit of Nuestra Casa took place on UTEP's campus in 2009. Through grassroots assistance and support from USAID, the Mexico National TB Program and five state TB programs in Mexico, and health jurisdictions in various localities, Nuestra Casa was subsequently showcased in four locations in Mexico (Cancun, Quintana Roo; Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca; Reynosa, Tamaulipas; and Tijuana, Baja California) and a two-month exhibition at the Global Odyssey Museum in Atlanta, hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With at least 25,000 visitors on the UTEP campus and more than 24,000 off-campus, the Nuestra Casa Initiative led to personal commitments of attitude and behavior change and generated press coverage of health disparities, along with significant scholarly works.

The awards program is sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium.

Regional winners will receive a $5,000 prize at the Engagement Scholarship Conference this fall. The C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award will be presented during the APLU Annual Meeting in November and includes a sculpture and a $20,000 prize.