208243 Community university collaboration in a developing nation: Lessons learned

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ernesto A. Randolfi, PhD , Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, St. George's University, St. George's, Grenada
Omowale Amuleru-Marshall, MPH, PhD , Provost Office, St. George's University, St. George's, Grenada
Angela Gomez, PhD , Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, St. George's University, St. George's, Grenada
Ian Baptiste, PhD , Adult Education Program, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
University public health programs, by their nature encourage collaborative partnerships with neighboring communities and this often occurs through various mechanisms of student service learning. This presentation will describe how one academic program utilized a sequence of three courses to assist an underserved community in Grenada to improve the health of its people. Service learning activities began in a community needs assessment course where students learned by developing implementing and evaluating surveys, focus groups, and interviews combined with secondary data analysis for the target population. This course was followed by a course in community organizing where students utilize the needs assessment report as they apply theories and concepts of community development. The application of methods learned in this course took place by actively engaging key stakeholders in a process of community building. In the last course in the sequence - a community health promotion methods course students built on the work of the previous groups and the newly formed community structures to plan and implement a targeted intervention for this community. Among the significant lessons learned from this dynamic university-community program were: 1. Community building is complicated by multiple social structures which both encourage and inhibit progression for effective change. 2. The addition of a targeted funding source for health promotion activities can accelerate community involvement, but also interfere with the prioritization for community action. 3. Cultural differences between indigenous community inhabitants and foreign students complicated all processes of needs assessments, community building and health promotion.

Learning Objectives:
Participants Will: Discuss the unique challenges and opportunities that arise from dynamic university-community partnerships that provide service learning experiences in a developing Caribbean nation. Describe and explain the real-life opportunity for students to learn about the processes involved in community needs assessment, community organizing, and health promotion.

Keywords: Challenges and Opportunities, Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was directly involved in this project.
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.