Online Program

Beyond service learning: The role of undergraduate students and community residents as resources for health equity research

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mayara Fontes, Economics, UMass Boston, Boston, MA
Maria Idali Torres, PhD, MPH, The Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA
Phillip Granberry, PhD, Gastón Institute, UMass Boston, Boston, MA
Ivette Cruz, Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Springfield, MA
Historically, undergraduate students and community residents have been underutilized in research. Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) is enhanced by a bidirectional, collaborative learning process that can train future researchers and help sustain research activities in the community. In this presentation a team of a student from the University of Massachusetts Boston affiliated with the Gaston Institute and a community resident who is member of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Inc. will discuss their learning process from doing field research on eight Saturdays for a CBPR project in Springfield, MA. Using a bidirectional “learning by doing” method, teams comprised of one member from each institution enumerated randomly selected census blocks through participant observation. To capture their critical learning experiences, we recorded the debriefing session at the end of the research task and transcribed it. This transcription was downloaded into the NVIVO 9, and coded for emerging themes that highlight the need to move beyond the typical service-learning experience. Key to the successful experience of participants including the opportunity to interact with faculty members and researchers in the field, to contribute to developing strategies to improve field research procedures, and to reflect upon their experience with the research task that demystify the research process. These shared experiences created the opportunity to develop a sense of community and broke down barriers of traditional power structures among members of a research team.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how linking community residents and undergraduate students in a field research task encourages learning by doing.

Keyword(s): Community Collaboration, Community Capacity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a grad research assistant at the Gaston Institute
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.