UT Extension Specialist Chosen to Help Support National Immunization Program

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Laura Clark to Serve as a Grant Coach for Land-Grant Universities

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A University of Tennessee Extension specialist has been selected to assist land-grant university teams implementing grants through the Extension Collaboration on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE), a national effort to encourage adult vaccinations in rural areas and among underserved communities.

Laura Clark, UT Extension state specialist in family and consumer sciences, will serve as a national EXCITE Bridge Grant coach and work with six land-grant universities that are grant recipients through the program. Clark has worked for UT Extension for six years, which includes four years as a county director and FCS agent and two years as project manager for a grant awarded to the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences through the Tennessee Department of Health.

EXCITE started in 2021 as a nationwide local response by U.S. Cooperative Extension. EXCITE is made possible through an interagency agreement between United States Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a cooperative agreement with the Extension Foundation in partnership with the ECOP (Extension Committee on Organization and Policy) Health Program Action Team.

EXCITE focuses on education, engagement, partnerships and access to encourage adults to receive immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine. The initiative includes 96 projects through 73 land-grant institutions. Through the first two years of the project, there were 1,148 vaccination clinics and 26,023 immunizations provided. As a national coach, Clark will help support grant teams by providing resources, feedback and assistance and act as a liaison between the funders and the grantees. 

“I am honored to have been chosen to be a part of the Extension Foundation’s EXCITE program and for the opportunity to support innovative teams who are working to better the lives of individuals and families in communities across the nation. I am looking forward to supporting the mission of the Extension Foundation to increase the visibility and impact of Cooperative Extension as a representative for the University of Tennessee Extension FCS program and working alongside such a talented group of people,” Clark said.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is comprised of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach, the Institute touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. to Tennesseans and beyond. utia.tennessee.edu.

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Patricia McDaniels