Service Learning is a powerful vehicle for strengthening partnerships between health professions schools and communities. It builds a strong commitment to community service and social responsibility, and equips health professionals with community-oriented competencies necessary to practice in today’s changing world of public health. Service learning encourages civic responsibility of students and enhances their understanding of service delivery and health equity.
Beginning in 2007 with resources from the Community Campus Partnership for Health, HRSA Maternal and Child Health Training Grant, and the Arizona Area Health Education Center (AzAHEC) and Center for Rural Health's Rural Health Professions Program (RHPP), a number of our faculty and academic professionals participated in workshops and conferences to learn more about the conceptual framework of service learning. We then adapted this methodology to build and strengthen relationships with our community partners throughout Arizona and Sonora. As a result, several of our faculty have adopted service learning opportunities as a component of the sociocultural and behavioral aspects of public health, where students work in teams with community partner organizations to enhance the work of the organization. Reflection questions relate directly to understanding the sociocultural and behavioral aspects of the particular activity or program. Click here to see our 2013 Annual Report.
Why Service Learning? Watch the Arizona Illustrated Story on our Service Learning Stories page.
The College now offers five service learning courses, utilizing an intensive week-long, field-based model which immerses students, faculty and community partners directly in rural, border and urban communities which are facing huge health disparity issues. Our Rural Health Service Learning Institute (CPH 597D) "Frontiers of Community Public Health" August 12 through 17 was piloted as an Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPEP) course this year. Click here to see the students' final presentation powerpoint (in PDF). To read more about the course on the IPEP blog, click here.
Student-led Service Learning: In May 2012, a group of University of Arizona graduate students embarked on a nine-day, self-directed, border health service learning course exploring the complexities of migration and health disparities at the Mexico/Guatemala border. During a special seminar on September 26, 2012, the students presented their findings of the root causes of migration and discuss why migration is an issue that affects all of us. See the Arizona Public Media story and their powerpoint presentation on our Service Learning Stories page.
On June 5-7, 2012, the College hosted a Service Learning Workshop for instructors, administrators and community agencies: Professional Development for Community Engaged Learning: Increasing Capacity to Eliminate Health Disparities. Click here for more about the workshop.