The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4085.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 9:05 AM

Abstract #58780

Unlocking students' activist spirits: Experiential learning and leadership in the San Jose State University MPH program

Emalie Huriaux, MPH(c), Department of Health Science, San Jose State University, 1438 4th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94606, 5104697941,

This session, delivered by students from the San Jose State University MPH program, will explore students’ experiences within a program based on the principle of democratic education and dedicated to developing skillful and socially responsible community health educators and public health activists. Our program fosters student leadership by providing a safe space for practicing the risk-taking that is essential to effective activism.

Course work reflects a commitment to unlocking students’ activist spirits. For example, in one course, students map community assets, interview organizers, and learn how to apply praxis, Freire’s model for reflection and action, to their work. Throughout the program students are required to articulate and refine their conceptual frameworks, through both personal and professional lenses. Students’ experience in the program is one of self-reflection and a developing critical self-awareness, prompting them to practice activism, both within the University and beyond.

Within the program, student leaders have addressed issues, such as heterosexism among MPH students, as opportunities for dialogue and the establishment of the student coordinated Diversity Committee and the annual Sexual Diversity Workshop, now in its fifth year. The current Student Association Co-chairs have emphasized health and human rights issues and have worked with non-campus organizations (e.g., the Hesperian Foundation and the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition) to provide on- and off-campus presentations on international health and human rights. As much as the professors and curriculum nurture student leadership, student leadership drives innovations to the program by maintaining a programmatic focus on diversity, human rights and social justice.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: MPH Curricula, Social Activism

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: I am a graduate student at San Jose State University and will be discussing the program in the presentation.

Teaching Activism for Public Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA