Center for Community Engagement

Community engagement and service learning are at the core of SMU’s mission since its founding. The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) is at the nexus of that work, educating, connecting, recruiting, building, and tracking University efforts. We invite you to join us. The CCE is also home to SMU's Ethnic Health Institute. 

Create Healthier Communities

We approach community engagement from the perspective of “serving, not saving.” The Center aims to be nimble in its work with the community to address whatever needs are most pressing. We strive to employ an equity lens to community engagement by prioritizing opportunities that support the most vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Specifically, we advance a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to community engagement that integrates community-centered research, teaching, and learning into all aspects of University life.

Engagement in Action

  • Field trips, simulation labs, and events for underrepresented students interested in health careers
  • Free health services and health education in low-income communities
  • Clinical placements that support the medically underserved 
  • Student volunteers at free clinics and vaccine sites 
  • Lectures and talks by our expert faculty and leaders 
  • And much more

Please join us on Sat, June 24, to support the annual Special Olympic Northern California Summer Games, featuring thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities and coaches coming together in the spirit of inclusion. Last year over 100 SMU students, staff, and faculty volunteered at this event.

Volunteer Opportunities:
  • What: Healthy Athletes Screenings
  • When: Sat, June 24 (11:30am-5pm and/or 3:30-9pm)
  • Where: Santa Clara University - Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
    If you are interested in volunteering all day, please register for each shift individually.

Fit Feet (Podiatry) -
FUNfitness (PT) -
Health Promotion (nutrition & prevention) -
Strong Minds (emotional wellness) -
Questions? Email Toni Akudinobi, Special Olympics Northern California and Nevada Health & Wellness Manager:


  • Hope is on the Horizon Black History Month Health Fair (Feb 18th) 
  • Hypertension Sunday (Feb 24th-26th)
  • World HIV- Vaccination and HIV testing event (March 15th)
  • MISSSEY Resource Markety (March 24th) 
  • Katherine Johnson Middle School Health Careers (March 24th) 
  • OUSD Field Trip to SMU (March 29th)
  • OUSD Nursing Careers Conference (April 15th)
  • SMU Health Fair for Special Olympics (April 22nd) 
  • Oakland Health Palooza- Soledad High School (May 2nd) 
  • Sacramento Health Palooza- Health Professions High School (May 12th) 
  • Peninsula Bridge Health Careers Exploration Program for Middle School Students (June 23rd) 
  • Yes2Kollege Field Trip to SMU's Sac Campus (July 18th) 

If you are interested in learning more about any of these events or participating as a volunteer, contact Director Sam Alavi-Irvine.

The Center fosters a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to community engagement that integrates community-centered research, teaching, and learning into all aspects of University life. The CCE aims to be a steadfast partner in creating healthier communities. This is accomplished by fostering holistic and sustained relationships with community partners and educating a future healthcare workforce that is prepared and committed to addressing health inequities and community needs.

The CCE builds on SMU’s extensive legacy of service to the community and reaffirms the University as part of the solution to the community’s most pressing needs by engaging students, staff, faculty, and alumni in this effort.

Nursing student does blood pressure check at Lake Merritt health fair.

Local Outreach

Students serve residents in need through partnerships with area nonprofits, shelters, schools, and clinics.

Learn More
Nurse with baby and mother

Global Outreach

Travel around the world for research and volunteer opportunities, including medical service trips.


Recent News

Tavi Baker

Associate Director, Center for Community Engagement & Manager, Ethnic Health Institute