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Community Engagement Forum

The forum is a year-long program designed to help local agencies and nonprofits navigate complex issues. 

Working with Vanderbilt’s Division of Government and Community Relations, leaders and staff members from 20 Nashville-area organizations participate in seven daylong sessions with Vanderbilt experts over the course of an academic year. Each participating organization sends two participants: one who serves in an executive leadership position and the other a staff member who regularly interacts with clients or the public. Kasar Abdulla, longtime equity, diversity and inclusion advocate and facilitator, and Patrick McAnally, an assistant vice president and community engagement manager at AllianceBernstein, join Vanderbilt staff in facilitating the program.

Inaugural Forum

  • Ran from September 23, 2021 through April 28, 2022.
  • Navigated complex issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest seen in recent years.

  • Addressed topics such as building and maintaining trust in difficult situations, trauma and mental health, using evidence and data, and rethinking work and the workplace.


“Institutions like Vanderbilt occupy an important role within our region and community. This new series provides an opportunity for Vanderbilt scholars to share their latest research and findings on critical topics, while spurring collaborative learning among local organizations that are experiencing many of the same challenges.”

- Daniel Diermeier, Vanderbilt Chancellor