DENMARK, S.C. (courtesy voorhees.edu) — Voorhees College recently received $300,000 from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to create a Liberal Arts Innovation Center (LAIC) for Healthcare Access and Equity. This grant builds on Voorhees’ participation in the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative.
These funds will support the institution’s desire to assist in eliminating health disparities and mitigating healthcare access and equity issues among rural and minority populations, both nationally and internationally.
Voorhees is one of four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to receive the grant. The institution works to address the call to action from the liberal arts community to better infuse core skills and competencies from technical fields into the liberal arts.
The innovation center at Voorhees seeks to illuminate the problematic and address the critical need from the liberal arts community, provide a systemic platform for modeling and testing best practices, establish systemic mechanisms for researching and disseminating new knowledge, and produce a comprehensive training and development program for students, faculty, staff, and community advocates.
Dr. W. Franklin Evans, ninth president and CEO of Voorhees, said this is a significant stepping stone for the institution. “The establishment of the UNCF LAIC (Liberal Arts Innovation Center) for Healthcare Access and Equity fully advances the Voorhees’ mission to become nationally recognized as a premier, comprehensive liberal arts institution focused on student success, excellence, and integrity,” Evans said.
Dr. Ronnie Hopkins, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the institution’s efforts will sustain a comprehensive and coordinated liberal arts center. The vision is for the center to provide global leadership in addressing rural and minority healthcare issues through direct and virtual services, facilitating scholarship and training, and providing a platform to advance the discourse on access, equity, and ethics from a liberal arts and interdisciplinary approach,” Hopkins said.
He said Voorhees plans to partner with Denmark Technical College, Benedict College, Berea College, Wilberforce University, St. Monica University, Beau, Cameroon, Central West Africa; and the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, West Africa, Ghana to expand the range of the healthcare access and equity for rural and minority populations.
Dr. Kendall Williams, assistant professor of public health, will serve as the LAIC’s co-executive director of healthcare access and equity and D. Alexander Miller, assistant professor of sociology, will serve as the LAIC’s co-executive director of liberal arts.
The grants will be administered via the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. CPI is a three-pronged comprehensive approach to delivering career pathways for students: guided pathways, curricular enhancements, and integrated co-curricular engagement.