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Award winner Wilson helping to build tiny homes for people with serious mental illnesses

Associate Professor Amy Blank Wilson is a winner of UNC’s C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities. The award recognizes “applied innovation of humanities and social sciences scholarly expertise.”

Dr. Wilson will use the funds to work with a team of University and community partners to build “tiny homes” for people with serious mental illnesses. The homes will be located at The Farm at Penny Lane in Chatham County, operated by the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, and will provide residents access to healthy food, meaningful daily activities and physical- and behavioral-health services.

“This award will allow the University to work in partnership with the community to fill a critical need for those with serious mental illnesses who live in non-urban areas,” said Wilson. “As far as I’m aware, this is the first time that tiny homes are being constructed for this purpose. Our project will have an impact locally and beyond as we will share our findings.”

Wilson joins Dr. Coretta Jenerette, an associate professor of nursing, as the 2015 winners of the $75,000 award. Jenerette will develop and test a web-based virtual training tool to help sickle cell disease patients better communicate with their health-care providers in an effort to achieve better health-care outcomes and relief from pain and symptoms.

The C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities recognizes exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects the University’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation and addresses a real-world challenge to serve constituencies outside the University.

The award’s namesake is the late C. Felix Harvey, who was chairman of Harvey Enterprises & Affiliates and founder of the Little Bank Inc., both in Kinston, North Carolina. A 1943 Carolina graduate, he joined his family in 2007 to endow the award with a $2 million commitment.

Rebecca Sorensen, MSW ’15, community development consultant of The Farm at Penny Lane, is coordinating the project.

Read more about the tiny homes project