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Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182140bcc
Original Article

Integrating Service-Learning into an MPH Curriculum for Future Public Health Practitioners: Strengthening Community-Campus Partnerships

Anderson, Lisa S. MPH; Royster, Michael O. MD, MPH, FACPM; Bailey, Nannette EdM; Reed, Karen MA

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Abstract

Through a 3-year grant from the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, the Virginia Commonwealth University MPH program adopted an incremental approach to implement service-learning focused on health disparities into its curriculum. We first incorporated service-learning into an elective course and then a required internship. We then worked with the Virginia Department of Health to develop a plan for first-year students to engage in additional experiential learning through a practicum. Students also were encouraged to organize community service events, such as health fairs. Service-learning was fully incorporated into the internship. The first-year student practicum, followed by the internship, has strengthened collaborations among faculty, students, and the Virginia Department of Health and expanded student service in the community. The number of student-supported community service events more than doubled. An incremental approach to incorporating service-learning led to successful implementation of the pedagogy. Service-learning benefits community partners, enriches student learning, and is well-suited for studies in public health.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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