Improving Health in our Communities

In the Department of Allied Health Sciences, we are committed to engaging with our communities in meaningful ways. We seek to provide our students with opportunities to give back and gain experience in towns and with populations that they might one day serve. We are working with our communities through UConn Extension programming that helps ensure the health and well-being of parents and students. Our research activity extends beyond Connecticut to enhance health for a variety of populations.

Highlights of Community Engagement

Mealtime family

Healthy Family CT

Healthy Family CT is offered by the UConn SNAP-Ed Program for people who receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. Our nutrition experts provide a collection of fact-based resources for parents and adults, available in both English and Spanish, on a variety of nutrition topics including how to feed your family healthy foods on a budget.

More about Healthy Family CT


Community Research Addressing Health Inequities

The health of a community’s food environment doesn’t just impact the choices available – it also impacts physical health and well-being of its residents. Kristin Cooksey Stowers is working with partners in Hartford using community-based participatory research to improve nutritious food options while also building trust and conducting authentic engagement.

More about Community Food Research

Finish line at a marathon

Meeting Health Challenges

Allied Health students and faculty are ready to put their skills into action, especially when it could mean life or death. Countless students in our Emergency Medical Technician program have volunteered at sporting events to ensure participant safety. When a runner collapsed at the finish line of the Hartford Marathon, our students jumped into action and helped save his life.

More about EMT Student Success

Emelis Santos

Making a Difference Close to Home

We know that once our students graduate, they will provide critical health care to their communities. A growing number of UConn students are choosing to stay close to home while they complete their studies. That’s why students like Emelis Santos ’24 at UConn Waterbury are choosing to complete the entire Allied Health major from the regional campus.

More about Emelis' Path

Student Opportunities

UConn Health Leaders

The University of Connecticut Health Leaders (UCHL) is a community-based, pre-health program founded for bridging health care disparities by addressing the social determinants of health for the State of Connecticut. UCHL functions all year, focusing on training pre-professional students on how they can help advocate and improve the way we deliver health care for our patients.

Visit the Leaders page at UConn Health or contact (Storrs) Jill Skowrenski: jill.skowrenski@uconn.edu or Lauren Wilson: lauren.wilson@uconn.edu or (Waterbury) Tamara Kalaliszewski: tamara.kaleszewski@uconn.edu.

NICHE Purposeful Visitors

Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) imparts principles and tools to stimulate changes in clinical practice to achieve patient-centered nursing care for older adults in healthcare facilities. As a student in the Purposeful Visitors program, you will gain experience interning in a hospital environment, communicating and collaborating with nurses and other staff, and most importantly will gain patient interaction skills through visits with hospitalized older adults.

Learn more about NICHE

Adopt-A-Health-District Program

The primary purpose of the program to provide support to the state of Connecticut in reducing the non-medical use of prescription drugs, prevent opioid overdoses in the community, and improve the lives and health of our CT communities. Learning opportunities are designed by involved University faculty and staff, students, and CT Health Districts and Departments to provide students with transformative learning experiences and real-world work environments.

Contact the Program Manager, Peaches Udoma, at peaches.udoma@uconn.edu, and copy AHS Program Specialist, jill.skowrenski@uconn.edu, for information or to apply.

Hartford Hospital Mobility is Medicine Internship Program

Hartford Hospital Mobility Volunteer Program:  The Mobility volunteer program provides support to patients that need assistance and encouragement to get out of bed and walk to help maintain functional status.  Overseen by the department of Rehabilitation, volunteers are trained to function in this role on assigned nursing units interacting directly with patients and staff.  More information can be learned in the video on this website: https://hartfordhospital.org/health-professionals/for-job-seekers/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities (scroll down to Mobility is Medicine).  Shifts are available at Hartford Hospital (80 Seymour Street Hartford) 7 days a week 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon or 1:00-4:00 p.m.  Volunteers must commit to volunteering at least two semesters to receive credit.

Applicants for this program must:

  • Contact Eileen Pelletier, Director of Volunteer Services Eileen.Pelletier@hhchealth.org and complete an interview by April 19th.
  • All hospital on-boarding requirements must be completed by June 14th.  Requirements include:
    • On-line application
    • On-line education (volunteer orientation, patient privacy law education, etc.)
    • Background check release form
    • Medical information: MMR vaccine, Varicella vaccine, Tdap immunization, Tuberculosis test.  (Please note that a flu vaccine will be required in the fall of 2024.)
    • Hospital ID documentation: proof of identity such as a drivers license, motor vehicle registration (if parking will be requested), and a portrait photo
  • Classroom training will be held on Wednesday, September 18th 5:00-8:00 p.m. and a minimum of two on-unit training sessions will be scheduled after (on-unit trainings are only available weekdays)
  • Weekly shifts will be confirmed prior to training and must be the same day/time each week for the semester.
  • Additional requirements for AHS students to receive internship credit: AH 3091 Internship Guidebook.pdf(Shared) - Adobe cloud storage

Thank you for your interest in this program that supports our patients and provides an in-depth experience in an acute care setting.

Hartford HealthCare Volunteer Opportunities

There are over 200 positions available to volunteers throughout Hartford Hospital. Many of these opportunities include patient interaction.

Volunteer positions require:

  • one 3-hour shift per week for at least 6 months unless otherwise indicated (For example, Mobility is Medicine requires a 2-semester commitment. Students need to apply by May.)
  • immunization requirements
  • onboarding requirements which include online education modules
  • transportation

For more information go to Volunteer Opportunities | hartfordhospital.org | Hartford Hospital | Hartford, CT.

If interested, email Eileen Pelletier at Eileen.Pelletier@hhchealth.org and let her know that you are a UConn AHS student and which opportunities are of most interest to you.

There is a potential for many of these opportunities to count for a 1-credit internship experience!