Online Program

Community Health Assessments: A “Hands On” Approach to Teaching about Health Disparities

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tamar Klaiman, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Public Health, HepTREC at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Monique Shaw, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Public Health, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Understanding the impact of social determinants of health and health disparities are integral parts of public health education; however, students may not fully appreciate the impact of inequalities when they are described in traditional didactic course presentations. We used a “hands-on” project approach to support students in learning about the impact of disparities on community health outcomes. Students chose a state and county of interest to them. Students used the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings Database to identify the three most important health disparities in a community of their choice.  They were also required to compare the outcomes in their community of choice with other counties in the state. Students described the factors contributing to these disparities using the database, and had to identify and describe potential policy interventions that could be used to reduce or eliminate the health disparities they identified. The identification of potential policy interventions allowed students to not only consider the causes of health disparities, but potential solutions to these disparities. Students presented their findings to colleagues in small groups throughout the semester in order to get feedback about their work. Finally, students presented their findings and recommendations to the class. This assignment integrated knowledge learned across the public health curriculum, and helped students gain a deeper understanding of the determinants of health and their impact on health outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the use of community health assessments to teach students about health disparities. Assess the impact of students using publicly available data to describe and analyze health risk factors and disparities in health outcomes.

Keyword(s): Teaching

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I teach the course in which these activities take place. I have extensive experience and knowledge teaching public health and health disparities.
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.