Online Program

Promoting health and self-advocacy for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities: A service-learning pilot project for community health education students

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Debra Fetherman, PhD, MCHES, ACSM EP-C, Department of Exercise Science and Sport/Community Health Education Program, The University of Scranton, Scranton, PA
Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are socioeconomically disadvantaged, experience poorer health outcomes and have unmet healthcare needs.  These adults are more likely to die of preventable causes and to die at an earlier age.  As community health education students learn about the health disparities of individuals who are intellectual and developmentally disabled, their learning can be enhanced through service.  This pilot service-learning project was designed to increase the health awareness and health self-advocacy skills of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Student learning outcomes focused on developing competencies in two Certified Health Education Specialist, Areas of Responsibility: VI. Serve as a Health Education Resources Person and VII. Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education. The community partner serves individuals and families with special needs.  Adults (N~12) with intellectual and developmental disabilities in residential services, in-home assistance, and adult day programs were recruited through their support professional to participate in the project.  Junior-level community health education majors (N=21) participated in the required service-learning project. Student groups were matched with individual adults. The semester project includes five service-learning phases: 1) orientation/organization, 2) assessment/collaboration, 3) planning/development, 4) implementation and 5) evaluation. Students and consumers participated in reflection activities throughout the project. This pilot project is currently in the assessment phase.  Project completion is May 5, 2015.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the critical phases of a University service-learning project for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Describe the effectiveness of a University service-learning project for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Identify the learning outcomes of a University service-learning project for community health education students.

Keyword(s): Disabilities, Service Learning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I completed the University of Scranton's Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program. For over 9 years, I have implemented a variety of University service-learning projects working with diverse populations and community partners. Under my leadership, approximately 300 students have earned 6,000 service-learning hours. I previously presented other service-learning projects at the Society of Public Health Education and the Art & Science of Health Promotion conferences. Community-Based Participatory Research is my research area of expertise.
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.