142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Linking the community to the classroom: Engaging the community to move academic public health instruction from the theoretical to the practical

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Jacey Greece, DSc, MPH , Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Erin Smith, MPH , Health and Human Development Division, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Liam Day , Codman Academy, Codman Square Health Center, Boston, MA
Chavon Hamilton, MSW , Infectious Disease Bureau, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Clelia Beltrame, MSW, MPH , Bureau of Addictions Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Support Services, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Peter Rempelakis, LICSW , Division of Child and Adolescent Health, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA
Sometimes a gap exists between instruction in courses that are skill-based and the practice of those skills in the field. The hypothetical models used in the classroom for addressing a public health problem don’t always reflect reality, and students are anxious to apply skills in situations that do. Forging academic-community partnerships is essential to help inform instruction that moves from the theoretical to the practical, and benefits both the student experience and the community in need of public health initiatives; it can result in high quality and well-researched products a health department can implement.  In spring 2013, an intervention planning and communication course at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) utilized practice-based teaching through a partnership between the classroom and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).  Students created deliverables for BPHC based on the commission’s priority areas.  Students continually met with BPHC and key stakeholders to understand the needs of the community, the resources of BPHC, and the areas of interest for program development.  Students not only met the course objectives but gained practical experience and skills, with some students continuing work with BPHC after the semester.  In addition, BPHC obtained high-quality deliverables in a relatively short time-frame that they are implementing. The following year, the initial collaboration extended to other divisions within BPHC and other courses within BUSPH.  Regardless of focus area, practice-based teaching benefits students, faculty, and community alike.  The development and implementation of this collaboration offers lessons learned to the field.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the benefits to establishing academic and community partnerships for the community, the faculty, the school, and the students. Discuss the benefits to public health students, and ultimately community organizations, of practice-based public health instruction. Describe the process of identifying projects that are needed by the community agency but that also teach the appropriate skill set to students. Analyze how to address course objectives through various skill-building activities and practical application that results in high-quality deliverables.

Keyword(s): Public Health Curricula & Competencies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Clinical Assistant Professor at BUSPH. Two years ago I restructured this course to go from theoretical application of skills to practical application of skills. Professors teaching this class prior to my teaching it relied on student papers of proposed theoretical interventions to demonstrate the learned knowledge. I initiated the collaboration with the local public health agency and have continued to foster that collaboration to create practice-based opportunities for students and other courses.
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.