257605 Creating Classroom to Community: Health Education in Action - a service-learning partnership with Teach for America

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ariela M. Freedman, PhD, MPH, MAT , Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Julia Painter, PhD, MPH , Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Sahar S. Salek, MPH, CHES , Emory Public Health Training Center, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Kristin Unzicker, MPH, CHES , Office of Leadership and Community Engaged Learning, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Lauren LaMont , Metro Atlanta, Teach for America, Atlanta, GA
Audra Williams , Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
This presentation describes the impact of a new service-learning course for MPH students called “Classroom to Community: Health Education in Action.” Despite significant interest in school health, most MPH students rarely set foot in public school classrooms, and few have the opportunity to engage in discussion with classroom teachers about health issues in schools. The course uses Teach for America's (TFA) Teaching as Leadership framework to teach MPH students how to create skills-focused health education lessons for students in grades Pre-K through 12. The course also fosters a contextual understanding about the importance of coordinated school health and community engagement. Teaching skills are developed through a reciprocal combination of reading and discussion of text, experiences in classroom teaching, feedback on teaching, and critical reflection on lessons learned from the teaching experience. As part of the course, MPH students also assist in developing partnerships between schools and local health agencies.

The pilot course enrolled 15 MPH students, plus 15 partner TFA corps members identified as excellent teachers. The course was evaluated using a mixed-methods approach, including pre-and post surveys (for MPH students and TFA teachers), weekly course evaluations, final focus groups with MPH students, TFA teachers, and the students of TFA teachers. This presentation will describe core course components and will demonstrates the course impact on MPH students' teaching skills and also on student health knowledge in the classroom. Findings from this evaluation demonstrate the importance of service learning in developing core health education competencies.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Apply components of Teach for America’s “Teaching as Leadership” framework to training health educators. Describe methods for engaging Teach for America corps members in creating hands-on health education and service learning opportunities for MPH students.

Keywords: Health Education, Service Learning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I created this course in partnership with the others listed on this abstract.
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.