246175 Community-based learning: A campus/community partnership to investigate health disparities

Monday, October 31, 2011

Laura Anderko, RN, PhD , School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
John Davies-Cole, PhD, MPH , Center for Policy, Planning & Evaluation, District of Columbia Department of Health, Washington, DC
Fern Johnson-Clarke, PhD , Center for Policy Planning and Evaluation, District of Columbia Government Department of Health, Washington, DC
Background: Community-based learning (CBL), a type of experiential learning, is “education in action” and can be a powerful teaching method used to expose and energize students around issues of health disparities and justice. CBL involves student work with disadvantaged and underserved communities (or organizations working with them) and is designed to meet community-defined needs. Wards within the District of Columbia experience extreme health disparities, but few students understand the existence of these disparities and how they might positively impact community health. Description: CBL opportunities were established in partnership with the DC DOH for an undergraduate epidemiology course. Senior epidemiologists/statisticians from the DC DOH met with students to discuss their roles in the analysis of population data, as well as community challenges in achieving “health for all”. Students analyzed epidemiological data related to morbidity and mortality, which was then compiled into a health disparities report for the DC DOH. The DC DOH provided the data necessary to analyze health indicators in the various Wards. Additionally, the Georgetown Center for Social Justice sponsored a series of Bus Tours within the District for the students, for the purpose of exposing them to various neighborhoods in the District, highlight disparities experienced by residents, and available community resources. Lessons Learned: Student reflection papers reported an overwhelming positive reaction to the CBL project and bus tour experience. Recommendations: Community-based learning can provide campus/community partnership opportunities to better understand public health challenges related to health and justice issues, and for advocating for improved resources.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Define community-based learning principles 2. Describe at least one community-based learning strategy in the course that improved knowledge of health disparities 3. Evaluate strategies for promoting the investigation and understanding of health disparities

Keywords: Health Disparities, Service Learning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed and taught the service-learning designed course in partnership with the DC DOH.
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.