Kena Vassar, director of Community Initiatives for the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth and the Youth Advocacy Coalition at the University of Tennessee Health Center, has been appointed to the board of directors of the National Assessment Center Association, an organization that advocates for and provides training for assessment centers nationwide. Vassar has been with UTHSC since 2019 and will serve a one-year term.
Approximately 70 children and their families are being assisted by the Youth Advocacy Coalition, the first assessment center in the Mid-South, which Vassar leads. She has also served as a representative for the Juvenile Justice Board, the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Mid-South’s South City organization, and Family Support Services in Memphis.
“This is a testament in large part to Kena’s excellent work with the Youth Advocacy Coalition,” said Altha Stewart, MD, senior associate dean for Community Health Engagement, associate professor of psychiatry, and director of the UTHSC Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth. “She has assembled a great staff and a comprehensive team of supportive and engaged community partners, all working together to assure that Shelby County youth at risk of justice involvement have access to the services and supports needed to remain at home, in school, and in their communities.”
“Serving on this board allows me the opportunity to help communities see the benefit of investing in jail diversion programs; help centers connect youth and families to community-based services; and empower families to receive the best care to meet their needs,” Vassar said. “I look forward to providing supports that will reduce childhood trauma and continuing the mission of UTHSC to improve the health of Tennesseans through collaboration, education, and public service.”