Online Program

Importance of service learning experiences in undergraduate public health education

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pietro Boffeli, Undergraduate Program, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
Lauren D. Arnold, PhD, MPH, College for Public Health & Social Justice, Department of Epidemiology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
Margaret Callon, MSW, College for Public Health and Social Justice, Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO
Ellen Barnidge, PhD, MPH, Behavioral Science and Health Education, Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice, St. Louis, MO
Public health education is a natural fit for unique learning experiences beyond basic classroom lectures. Service related learning experiences provide opportunities for students to explore cultural interactions and gain skills that would otherwise be difficult to gain through learning only in the classroom. This qualitative study of four service related experiences, two international and two domestic, offers a framework from which the importance of cultural interaction in public health education can be understood. Through interviews and surveys of participants of each of these programs, the strengths and weaknesses of each opportunity highlight the qualities of the most successful organizations and programs for an undergraduate public health education. Specifically, students will be asked to evaluate the degree to which the programs offered students time interacting directly with the members of another culture whom they were serving, and whether or not the program promoted reflection and discussion by the participants (before, during and after their experience). Finally, participants will describe how the experience encouraged them to practice real world skills that apply to a career in the field of public health and the way in which their service experience related to their undergraduate curriculum. It is hypothesized that the participants of the programs with all four of these qualities will possess the best understanding of the culture-based skills. An undergraduate public health program can more effectively implement opportunities that encourage thinking globally and acting locally when students, faculty and administrators possess a greater understanding of the qualities of an educational service experience.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
List four qualities of service programs are best suited for undergraduate public health students Demonstrate how these qualities integrate lessons from undergraduate public health curriculum and service experiences

Keyword(s): Public Health Curriculum, Service Learning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have participated in both domestic and international service related learning experiences connected to the field of public health, including organizing a small group project. I have also completed three years of the Public Health major in the Saint Louis University School of Public Health Undergraduate Program, including courses focused on service, social justice and evidence based studies.
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.