VCU Community Engagement News

Center for Community Engagement and Impact

Virginia Commonwealth University Community-Engaged Research (CEnR), a part of the Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success (IES), announced the recipients of the Health Equity Grants for 2020-2021. Seven research proposals that exemplify sustainable partnerships between members of the VCU/VCU Health System and the surrounding Richmond community were awarded.

The grants provide initial funding for two, one-year CEnR projects for a maximum award of $25,000 each. Capacity-building grants ranging from $3,000 to $8,000 were also awarded.

“This program highlights the outstanding support VCU can provide to community-engaged scholars to address community-identified needs related to social determinants of health and health outcomes,” said Amanda Hall, Ph.D., director of community-engaged research. “We are excited to see the impact these projects will have and what we all can learn working together collaboratively with the community.”

The grants were developed in partnership with the VCU Health Equity Initiative, which supports the vision of improving the health of residents in the Greater Richmond area by working with community partners and co-researchers. Priority awards were given to junior faculty, faculty who are new to CEnR and underrepresented faculty groups.

The 2020-21 Community-Engaged Research Health Equity Grant recipients are: 

Richmond Brain Health Initiative

Faika Zanjani, Ph.D., associate professor, College of Health Professions

Lana Sargent, Ph.D., RN, FNP-C, GNP-BC, associate professor, School of Nursing

Piloting a Housing Justice Atlas for Virginia

Kathryn Howell, Ph.D., associate professor, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Benjamin Teresa, Ph.D., assistant professor, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Developing a Community Advisory Board to Address the Oral Health Needs of Refugee Populations

Dina Garcia, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Medicine

Factors Impacting the Housing Stability of System-Involved Youth and Young Adults in Richmond

Alex Wagaman, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Social Work

A Programmatic Evaluation of Use and Efficacy of Little Food Pantries in Food Insecure Spaces

Jon Jones, assistant professor, Center for Environmental Studies

The Public Health Crisis of Juvenile Justice Involvement: A Social Determinants of Health Framework

Kellie Carlyle, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Medicine

Addressing Healthy Food Access and Food Insecurity through Data Analytics and Community Engagement

Sherif Abdelwahed, Ph.D., professor, College of Engineering

Learn more about the projects at For more information on the grant program, visit

Categories CEI News, Community-Engaged Research