262794 Community-based public health courses: Developing public health planning skills through service-learning

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:20 AM - 11:32 AM

Debbie L. Humphries, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Background: Providing public health students with practice experiences through which they develop skills in public health practice, leadership, and interpersonal awareness is critical for maintaining a strong public health work force, and is a requirement for certification by the Council on Education for Public Health. Combining practice based service-learning opportunities with a rigorous classroom component increases skills, enhances learning quality for students and provides a valuable service to community organizations.

Methods: The Community Health Program Planning course combines group projects implemented for local agencies and a weekly classroom component, which is designed to foster skills in program planning tools, leadership, and an awareness of current issues in public health practice.

Results: Students complete high quality deliverables for community organizations. Classroom content is organized into three modules of 4 weeks each: Tools, Professional Development, and Issues in Public Health Practice. Within each module, different learning strategies are used, including team-based learning, class discussion, and guest lectures. Teaching assistants are assigned to each student team and work with faculty to provide regular feedback and monitoring of group progress. Excerpts from student work will be used to highlight learning experiences. Excerpts from faculty advisor, preceptor, peer and TA evaluations will be used to highlight challenges.

Conclusions: Integration of skill-building in-class activities can improve quality of group project work. Sufficient instructional resources such as faculty time, teaching assistants, and in-class time, are critical. Regular student reflections and feedback from teaching assistants and faculty are important for quality work.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the importance of curriculum for strengthening student public health practice experiences. 2. Name and describe critical resources for supporting positive public health service learning experiences.

Keywords: Service Learning, Public Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have developed the syllabus and content of the course described in this abstract, and taught it for the past five years.
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.