The University of Arizona Health Sciences Corporate and Community Relations team received the top honor – a Gold Award for Excellence in Community Programming – for “Connect to STEM 2021: A Year to Remember,” at the recent Association of American Medical Colleges Conference for Institutional Advancement.
The award recognizes the team’s innovative partnerships with community organizations in creating Connect2STEM, which was presented by Health Sciences and partners Cox Communications and the Arizona SciTech Institute. In addition, “Connect2STEM 2021: A Year to Remember” was nominated as one of seven finalists for Best in Show.
“Arizona’s future depends on a highly trained workforce, particularly in the areas of advanced medical technology, research and related STEM fields,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, commenting earlier on Connect2STEM. “I am grateful to the University of Arizona Health Sciences for organizing these programs and for engaging young minds.”
Because of COVID-19 protocols, the 2021 edition of Connect2Stem was a successful reimagining of the city’s most popular event for connecting Phoenix-area children and their families to science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. The event was transformed into several community outreach programs including: a drive-through experience featuring 30 STEM-related exhibits; a month-long presentation of live virtual STEM learning sessions featuring Health Sciences and UArizona faculty, staff and students; and distribution of more than 700 discovery kits filled with engaging STEM activities to underserved youth in partnership with Valley of the Sun United Way and United Methodist Outreach Ministries.
“The relationships and partnerships our Corporate and Community Relations team are building in Phoenix and Tucson are a vital part of Health Sciences’ mission,” said Mark Lane, associate vice president for communications at UArizona Health Sciences. “The team is second to none in extending the reach of Health Sciences across Arizona.
The Health Sciences Office of Communications was created in 2019 to establish the Health Sciences brand and build awareness and engagement with internal and external audiences including faculty, staff and students, health care consumers and thought leaders, peer institutions, and corporate and community partners.
The Connect2Stem program also won an Award of Excellence and Best of Show at the 2021 Public Relations Society of America – Southern Arizona IMPACT Awards ceremony in November.