264336 Integration of Service-Learning into the MPH Practicum Experience

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Valerie Yontz, RN, MSN, MPH, PhD , Public Health Sciences Department, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Denise Nelson, MS, PhDc , Office of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
The integration of service learning into public health education has been an objective for several years. We have incorporated this important element into the format for our MPH practicum students in several ways. Students are first educated about service learning, and its respective components, during a mandatory presentation and discussion hosted by the practicum coordinator. Before the practicum begins, students, site representatives and university advisors collectively agree upon a scope and nature of the experience, which is formally documented, signed and filed in departmental archives as Form 15. Throughout their 240-hour practicum experience students are encouraged to bring an academic link into their work and foster reciprocal learning between themselves and the professionals at their sites. Students also participate in required, guided reflection through short, monthly blogs and a final critical thinking paper completed within 20 working hours of practicum completion. The critical thinking paper is an academic summary report of each student's practicum efforts in public health practice as specified on the aforementioned Form 15. Practicum students are supervised and evaluated by a professional at their site referred to as the practicum preceptor. The practicum program also fosters strong, sustained relationships between the university and the community and encourages community engagement and sustained service for the organization. Additionally, following graduation, many students have also found employment with their sites based on positive experiences during the practicum. Other public health programs may want to consider this method of integration into their respective practicum programs in order to promote service learning.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the advantages to using service learning in MPH practicum experience Describe how service learning may be integrated into an MPH practicum

Keywords: MPH Curricula, Community Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 30 years experience in public health, 8 of which are as a professor of public health.
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.