Service learning within the University of Connecticut Master of Public Health Program

Public Health Rep. 2008;123 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):44-52. doi: 10.1177/00333549081230S207.

Abstract

Since 2005, the University of Connecticut Master of Public Health Program has administered its required service-learning practicum through coordinated activities of second-year students assigned to examine a pressing public health issue in Connecticut. The initiative underscores our program's commitment to preparing students for careers as leaders in applied practice and our emphasis on collaboration. Our thematic approach links content across the core curriculum, provides a venue where students demonstrate mastery of academic principles, and affirms values of public responsibility and common purpose. Projects have focused on public health concerns associated with childhood obesity, health literacy, and living with disabilities. Working together and with community-based preceptors, students estimate service needs, assess available program/service capacity, and recommend policy options. Results are compiled within a written report that accompanies a state legislative hearing. This article presents the rationale and organization of our service-learning practicum, and describes how the experience affects the education and personal growth of students and contributes positively to the community at large.

MeSH terms

  • Competency-Based Education / methods*
  • Competency-Based Education / organization & administration
  • Connecticut
  • Education, Graduate*
  • Education, Public Health Professional / methods*
  • Education, Public Health Professional / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Program Development