241483 Bridging liberal arts and pre-health professions students: Public health in Portland State University's general education program

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Moriah McSharry McGrath, MPH, MSUP , School of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Despite the growth in allied health professions and expanding public health education infrastructure, few undergraduate students receive public health training. The Institute of Medicine has recommended that "all undergraduates to have access to course work in public health," but only a limited number undergraduate public health programs exist and those that do may be underenrolled because of students' lack of familiarity with the field. Experience teaching in the University Studies program at Portland State University shows how general education courses can both introduce the public health field to students and enrich the experience of students who have already chosen a health-related major. Interdisciplinary sophomore-level courses are fertile ground for addressing public health learning goals developed by the American Association of Colleges and Universities and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. Supplemental small-group “mentored inquiry” sessions provide for hands-on practice and the cultivation of learning communities within the class. This collaborative experience along with the mix of students from across the university spur student learning on public health issues like community assessment, quantitative analysis, and social justice. The challenges to continuing this work include building learning communities and fostering field engagement in online courses, and assuring that instructors have adequate training to design syllabi and facilitate discussions that incorporate public health perspectives.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss experiences incorporating public health competencies into an undergraduate general education program at a large, urban university.

Keywords: Education, Curricula

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have graduate training in public health and urban planning and have taught public health courses at Portland State University.
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.