219700 A call to service and social justice: Community-based service learning as a model for integrating social justice in public health

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lorece Edwards, DrPH , School of Community Health and Policy, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Service-learning as a teaching pedagogy and active learning strategy has become well established at all levels of the educational system. Service-learning is multi-tiered and can be well integrated across disciplines. The aim of community-based service-learning in public health is to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities by engaging public health students in tailored service-learning partnerships, thereby meeting the critical needs of the community. Community-based service-learning engages students in community-based problem solving and contributes to their understanding of and commitment to social justice.

The public health practice experience at the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University is an educational vehicle that provides students with the opportunity to observe the conditions in which their profession is practiced, demonstrate learning in core public health competencies, and integrate the component of critical reflection analysis within a social justice framework.

Community-based service-learning has been described as a “transcendental experience” for students and the community. It is transcendental in that it transforms the lives of students as well as enriches the communities influenced by their efforts. Students learn that authentic change occurs outside of their comfort zone. Community partners learn that service-learning projects are a step toward building sustainable communities. Students and community partners share the burning desire to advance social justice through the elimination of health disparities and health inequity.

Health disparities service-learning projects should include a social justice framework. This framework introduces a professional transformation whereby students become social activist and value civic engagement and community partners realize their resiliency.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. At the conclusion of the poster session, participants will be able to describe community-based service learning projects with a social justice framework. 2. At the conclusion of the poster session, participants will be able to discuss how service learning transforms students and community health partners.

Keywords: Community Health, Service Learning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Director of Community Practice and Outreach at the School of Community Health and Policy for the past three years. I have worked very intimately with students and the community in establishing authentic partnerships to facilitate practice experience for MPH and DrPH students.
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.