200467 Using a creative, inter-active teaching tool to address the issue of health disparities

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:30 PM

Sarah P. McAdoo, MD, MPH , Obsteterics and Gynocology, Bay State Medical Center, Springfield, MA
Nancy J. Gilbert, RN, MS, PhD(c) , Division of Nursing, Elms College, Chicopee, MA

Eliminating health care disparities is a Healthy People 2010 goal, and achieving health equity, eliminating health disparities and improving health for all groups is a recommended goal for Healthy People 2020. This paper will describe a project developed through an academic-practice partnership to use a creative, interactive teaching tool that provides participants (nursing and medical students) with an opportunity to experience how disparities in resources can adversely impact health outcomes and lead to health inequities.


Educating members of the future health care profession, especially nurses and physicians, presents many challenges that are often compounded by the juxtaposing perspectives of professors/teachers and students/learners. This presentation focuses on the development and implementation of a creative health disparities teaching/learning tool, “The Disparities Puzzle.”

Lessons Learned: Through the “Disparities Puzzle” students are able to identify and discuss social determinants across groups that can lead to health disparities. Through guided discussions, students are able to link the ecological model and health disparities, and verbalize challenges and obstacles to empowerment and to positive health outcomes.

Recommendations: Nursing and health care educators need to develop teaching strategies that move beyond content to engage students in learning public health concepts, especially health disparities and inequities, the ecological model, and social justice.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify two creative teaching/earning strategies to engage nursing, medical and other health care students in public health concepts. 2. Describe two strategies to connect learning activities to student discussion of public health concepts.

Keywords: Public Health Nursing, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Practitioner and educator
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.