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Teaching Public Health Using Service Learning & Social Engagement By Kee Chan, PhD Assistant Professor of Health Sciences Sargent College Boston University.

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching Public Health Using Service Learning & Social Engagement By Kee Chan, PhD Assistant Professor of Health Sciences Sargent College Boston University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching Public Health Using Service Learning & Social Engagement By Kee Chan, PhD Assistant Professor of Health Sciences Sargent College Boston University Engage Inspire Learn

2 Acknowledgements I thank you Center of Excellence in Innovation and Teaching (CEIT) at Boston University for their support in the use of social media tools to enhance service- learning as a part of undergraduate health sciences education. Special thanks to my students in my course HS470 Topics in Public Health, during Spring Semester 2012.

3 “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” - Ghandi

4 Chapter 1: A Better Community, A Better You Our Mission – To build a better community. My grant for undergraduate teaching and scholarship (GUTS) focused on integrating service learning experience to develop a better sense of social responsibility in responding to public health challenges. Over the course of 16 weeks during Spring Semester 2012, my students and I designed, created, and implemented volunteer activities and community services projects. Some students made short video clips of their service learning; some took photos, and everyone write a short story about their experience and how they impacted on their community and to the field of public health. Why is service learning in public health education important? To better serve our students, we need to introduce the importance of social responsibility in our education so students are empowered to make a change and foster leadership.

5 Chapter 1: A Better Community, A Better You (continued) Our Public Health Impact. As the instructor of undergraduate courses, I truly believe it is important to introduce students to service learning opportunities as a ways to apply critical thinking to solve public health problems, to develop independent and responsibility, and a sense of ownership to our society health. It is not only important to understand the public health issue, but also meaningful for students to be mindful of their role in community, and the action to better our community.

6 Chapter 2: About the Author. It Takes One to Lead One. Kee Chan, PhD. I continuously learn more about my community and how I can use my research and teaching to improve our society. High School. I volunteered as an afterschool tutor in math and science for our high school. No official volunteer tutor program was in place. I proposed to the high school counselor to organize a volunteer programs. We held fundraising events to support our volunteer program.

7 Chapter 2: It Takes One to Lead One (continued) Yale Center for Child Study. While I was a graduate student at Yale, I volunteered as an art teacher for local community center. The program became a safe haven for local elementary students participate in school activities. Having programs to encourage creativity and community is important for child development. Present Day (2012). Today, I continue to donate my time to non-profit organizations. For our alumni Service of Day, I volunteered at the Women Lunch Place in Boston, where I helped with the catering and moderating the activities for the women guest.

8 Chapter 3: Class Project Plan Structure of the Project: I had proposed to my class, is that we will each make a step toward that change. Each student volunteered to participate in community services that they were able to apply their knowledge from classroom learning to real-world applications. The chapters are divided into five categories of public health activities that they participated in: - Research - Education - Community health, - Community outreach - Special Needs.

9 During their service-learning experience, they video-logged their volunteer experience, and how their impact on improving public health through their social engagement. They used videocamera to interview themselves and the individuals in the community (only with their written and verbal consent). Within the service-learning, my students became more aware prior to taking the course of public health issue or helped create possible solutions that the community leaders can consider. I surveyed the students’ knowledge prior to their service-learning experience. Chapter 3: Class Project Plan (continued)

10 The end products included: journals, short 5-10 minute video vignettes or podcast interviews. We are currently working together in combining the different product into a book or webpage for public viewing. For this specific progress report, we will not post the short video clips. The video clips are currently being revised and edited by our professional media support staff at Sargent. This report will contain clips from the student’s journals. At the end of each story, we hope that you will be engaged, inspired, and learn to be a part of your community. Chapter 3: Class Project Plan (continued)

11 Our Journey In the next following chapters, my sixteen students and I share with you our journey through the 16 weeks in sharing our community services experiences into real-time public health education. Each story is written by the student’s point of view. Engage Inspire Learn

12 Sample Excerpts from Class Project

13 Be Prepared to Be Inspired

14 Chapter 4: Community Outreach Investing Community Outreach By Shannon, Michelle, Jeff, and Daniel. Community outreach is defined as the donation of time or resources to benefit a community or its institutions such as nonprofit, civic, or community-based organizations in an effort to improve the quality of life for community residents. Community outreach programs conduct local public awareness activities through targeted community interaction. By partaking in community outreach projects, we hope to reduce the negative impact that low socioeconomic status has on health outcomes.

15 Shannon and Michelle’s Story: Cradles to Crayons is a non-profit organization helping both homeless and children in low-income situations. This organization provides the necessary items for the survival and growth to struggling children and families of Massachusetts. Impact. During our volunteer day with Cradles to Crayons, activities included sorting donated baby clothes, children’s games, books and activities. After items were sorted by gender, age, object etc. they were then placed into care packages. Care packages can be requested for a child by a social Chapter 4: Community Outreach

16 Shannon’s Story: “From my education here at Sargent College I applied much of what I have learned to what I was doing. Although I didn’t directly interact with children, the importance of their health and education has been an adamant lesson we have learned. Even providing these children with small objects like books or a pair of shoes could change their overall health outcomes in the future. We have learned education for children is extremely important and this is accompanied by good health. This experience has opened my eyes to the little things that can go a long way. Volunteering for something so simple as putting together care packages can make a huge impact on someone’s life. “ Chapter 4: Community Outreach Insert Video Clip of Shannon at the Center – (not posted here yet)

17 Michelle’s Story: When taking a public health course you learn every day that many children in Massachusetts are without the basic essentials to prosper. However, learning about it and actually taking part in the effort to provide children with their basic needs is very different. Actually going out and helping children in the community rather than just learning about their disadvantaged situations is more than a rewarding experience. Public Health is something that I want to pursue as a career and this experience only reinforced my decision. Volunteering for something as simple as creating care packages for underprivileged children can make an immediate impact on the life of a child. Chapter 4: Community Outreach Insert Video Clip of Michelle at the Center – (not posted here yet)

18 Jeff’s Story: For my service learning, I attended a food distribution at the Greater Boston Red Cross Food Distribution Center. Guided by the mission of the Red Cross, “Preventing and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors,” the Boston Food Pantry provides 3 day emergency supplies of food once a month to low income clients. It currently services approximately 4,500 low-income per month, making it the largest food pantry in the city of Boston. Chapter 4: Community Outreach Insert Photos of Jeff at the Center – (not posted here yet)

19 Danielle’s Story: Mandela Homes is a local community development in Roxbury, Massachusetts that provides housing services to low-income families and individuals and also coordinates ongoing youth programs for the children. Impact. Upon arrival, we learned about the purpose and mission of Mandela Homes and then were assigned to the designated activity stations. I was able to spend time with the children by doing arts and crafts, painting pictures, decorating picture frames, playing board games, playing outdoor sports, potting plants, preparing food, and more, while simultaneously engaging them in conversation and learning more about their lives. I wanted their participation and involvement to feel more rewarding by making the experience as memorable as I possibly could. Chapter 4: Community Outreach Insert Video Clip of Danielle at the Center – (not posted here yet)

20 What did Shannon, Michelle, Jeff and Danielle learned? Through the community outreach programs such as Mandela Homes, Cradles to Crayons and Boston Red Cross Food Pantry these lower income individuals and families are provided with the necessary resources to lead healthy and more stable lives. As these programs gain more support through volunteers, more people are made aware about the harmful impacts of poverty on the community and more extensive measures are able to be taken to address the related issues. Volunteering for various community programs can have a huge impact on people who are in most need. This simple task can make a huge difference in our society. By strengthening efforts of community outreach, we can potentially reduce the existing health disparities in our society and look forward to a brighter future.

21 Chapter 5: Service Learning Projects Designs INVESTING IN RESEARCH BY Justin, Olga, Matt and Will. “Research is an important aspect in developing new ways to treat diseases, improving patient care, and increasing the overall health of the population. This work would not be possible without the monetary donations that come from individuals and corporations. Also important are the volunteers that donate their time to help research move forward. This is why we all chose to incorporate research into our service learning projects. Whether it was staying up all night or participating in a sporting event to raise money, or personally volunteering on a clinical trial, we all felt as though we were able to help in ways that could potentially have long-lasting impacts in the field of public health.”

22 Chapter 5: Service Learning Projects Designs Justin’s Story: Relay For Life is an event that I participated in every year during my four years at Boston University. I was part of a team organized by my fraternity, and my team took turns walking around the track non-stop throughout the night. Impact. I had a good experience at the event, especially talking to and hearing the stories of those whose lives have been affected by cancer. It made me feel closer to them and reminded me why I was at Relay: to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer Insert Video Clip of Justin’s interviewee at the Center – (not posted here yet)

23 Chapter 5: Service Learning Projects Designs Olga’s Story. The Luminaria Ceremony is one of these moments and is always one of my favorite parts of Relay. After dark, candles (or in BU’s case, glow sticks) are lit inside paper bags filled with sand, with each bag bearing the name of a person touched by cancer. The lights are turned off and everyone walks around the track in a silent lap of remembrance. Impact. I found this ceremony to be very moving and it was astounding to see that everyone in attendance was personally affected by cancer in some way Insert Photos of Olga’s event – (not posted here yet)

24 What Olga and Justin Learned? In all of the public health courses that I have taken at BU, it is stressed that awareness is often the first step toward eliciting change in behavior and in health policy. Relay gets people thinking about how they can help prevent the spread of the disease and the money that they raise goes directly to fund the many public health programs and the groundbreaking research done by the American Cancer Society. There are very few events that bring people together like Relay, and it is always humbling to be in the presence of such a caring community.

25 Matt’s Story: The Frechette Tire team chooses at least one of these organizations each tournament and raises money for a donation. Each player donates fifty dollars in addition to other donations and sponsorships. Frechette Tire raised $1270 over the weekend and are excited to donate a check towards cancer research. This year we have decided to support Bruins legend Cam Neely’s foundation. The Neely House provides patients and their families with a comfortable facility in which to receive treatment. We felt honored to be able to support such a wonderful facility. Chapter 5: Service Learning Projects Designs Insert photos of Matt’s event center – (not posted here yet)

26 Will’s Story: Shriners Hospital for children is a center for pediatric burn care located in Boston, Massachusetts. Impact. For my volunteer work, I worked with the research nurses at the facility to help design and organize a study they were conducting. The research study examined the effects of immersive virtual reality as an alternative to pain medications, and then rating their effectiveness. Chapter 5: Service Learning Projects Designs Insert Video Clip of Will’s interviewee at the Center – (not posted here yet)

27 What did they all learned? What they learn: Our group volunteered for a variety of research related events. Relay for Life, the Presidential Cup, and Shriners Hospital all are wonderful opportunities to help remedy major public health issues. We were involved with raising money for cancer research as well as participating in research for children suffering from severe burns. All three events opened our eyes to the importance of research as a way to improve public health.

28 Chapter 6: Impact on Education Investing in Education. Horace Mann once said “education..is the great equalizer of the conditions of man, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” This quote perfectly summarized the importance of education across urban societies. Throughout the greater Boston area there are many disparities from income, crime, and housing all the way to healthcare and health status. Across many neighborhoods and demographics one thing is held very constant: the right to an education.

29 Natalie’s Story. The Intergenerational Literacy Program (ILP) “seeks to accomplish the general goal of supporting families in working with their children, both to attain the instructional objectives of the schools and to reinforce positive attitudes toward education. I wanted to improve the literacy skills of participating adults and to improve literacy knowledge among preschool and school-aged children. Chapter 6: Impact on Education Insert Audio Clip of Natalie at the Center – (not posted here yet)

30 Ivan’s Story: The Afterschool program is a program where college students go tutor students at various schools in Chelsea or community centers in the Boston area that need help with their homework or material that they are learning in school. Kids in school these days need to see the larger rewards in life that an overall education can bring. Having college students as tutors can possibly show them what they can achieve by studying hard. Chapter 6: Impact on Education Insert photos of Ivan’s event – (not posted here yet)

31 What did Natalie and Ivan learned? Obtaining higher levels of education, as well as continuing education, can lead to the improvement of finding secure, well paid job opportunities that lead to better health benefits. Since education is a significant and long-term aspect of one’s life, the act of acquiring knowledge and healthy behaviors enhancing the quality of one’s life. This all has to begin as early as possible in ones education. Thus, early implementation of education results in optimal health outcomes across the lifespan.

32 Chapter 7: Community Health Investing in Community Health. By Jennifer, Jenecka, and Jess. Community health centers, like individual communities, can be very diverse; however, they all operate to fulfill the needs of the community at hand. Many community health centers usually serve those with limited to no access to other health care resources. These include low-income people, the uninsured, immigrants, and those experiencing homelessness. Despite differences between them, each of these institutions facilitates access to care tailored to their community's culture, which attributes to their success in reducing health disparities within the community.

33 The AstraZeneca Hope Lodge of the American Cancer Society-Jamaica Plain is one of 31 nationwide Hope Lodge locations. The mission of this extensive organization is to offer lodging at no cost to cancer patients and their caregivers in the Boston area. Chapter 7: Community Health

34 Jenecka’s Story: My peer, Jen Cano and I were able to volunteer at the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge-Jamaica Plain. During this time we were able to aid in maintenance tasks in the lodge, which enabled the facility to enroll more patients on the waiting list to begin treatment. However, the most rewarding part of my time at the lodge was interacting with the patients and listening to their stories. Chapter 7: Community Health Insert photos of Jenecka at the Center – (not posted here yet)

35 Jennifer’s Story: My experience with my peer Jeneczka was very enjoyable because the coordinator, as well as the patients, were very grateful that we were there to help. I was happy to see that these patients were receiving aid, and not only were they cared for health wise, but also emotionally by providing comfort and care. Several courses that I have taken at BU have related to this experience, such as Health and Disability Across the Lifespan and Sociology of Health Care. It discussed how to handle patients with a condition or disability and how to understand them on a deeper level. Chapter 7: Community Health Insert photos of Jennifer at the Center – (not posted here yet)

36 Jess’ Story: The South End Community Health Center (SECHC) is an independent community-based clinic located in the South End of Boston. The SECHC prides itself on its focus on prevention, employment of multi-lingual staff from within the community, and the provision of culturally-sensitive, quality care. My time at this clinic was spent in the area of healthcare education, especially concerning the importance of diet and nutrition. The most important understanding I have derived from this experience is the importance of spreading knowledge. With further advancements in our understanding of health, it is becoming more apparent that lifestyle is a significant determinant of health and health maintenance. Chapter 7: Community Health Insert Audio clip of Jess at the Center – (not posted here yet)

37 What did Jennifer, Jenecka, and Jess? What We Learn: Communities share characteristics common to their members. The composition of the community therefore determines its needs, especially in terms of healthcare. One way to distribute resources in healthcare is to consider the needs of the greater majority of a population. This is the "big picture" approach that public health utilizes to address the needs of populations. As a subset of public health, community health centers work in a similar manner to improve access to care that is relevant to the community they serve. As we saw in our learning experiences, these demands of can range widely between different communities. Even so, we all enjoyed the common experience of working to improve the health of many.

38 Chapter 8: Supporting Special Needs The areas of special needs and disabilities are a significant public health issue because most individuals are affected by one of the two, either directly or indirectly. Public health needs to address these areas because individuals who have special needs or who are disabled should have equal opportunities within society and should also have the resources to be able to interact and co-mingle with other individuals that do not have disabilities. Similarly, public health should address the areas of special needs and disabilities not only for the people it affects but also for the family, friends, and peers that are responsible for providing care for the affected individual.

39 Lorah’s Story: Throughout the semester, I had the pleasure of volunteering with Outside the Lines Studio. Outside the Lines Studio is an arts-based alternative day program, collectively run by artists, for individuals with developmental and physical disabilities. It’s mission is to provide a creative, supportive community, where each individual can explore their own unique potential in a way that best suits their interests, talents, and learning styles. In addition to expressive therapy, job training, and community integration, OTL provides opportunities for individuals to gain recognition and income as artists. The organization works with individuals with a range of disabilities, and provides support according to each person’s skills and interests. Chapter 8: Supporting Special Needs Insert Video Clip of Lorah at the Center – (not posted here yet)

40 Claire’ Story The Wounded Warrior Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping our Wounded Warriors who have served our country post 9/11. The mission of WWP is to “Honor and Empower our Wounded Warriors” and through a variety of unique programs this organization seeks to foster the most successful and well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history. The programs offered by WWP facilitate mind, body and spiritual rehabilitation to encourage our wounded warriors to achieve independence, community reintegration and mental, emotional and physical well- being. Chapter 8: Supporting Special Needs Insert Photos of Claire at the Center – (not posted here yet)

41 Katie’s Story: T.H.E. Farm, otherwise known as Tewksbury Hospital Equestrian Farm, is an organization that offers therapeutic services through horseback riding and horsemanship programs. This non-profit organization operates on the continued dedication of many volunteers and was built with the help of donations from the community and charities. While they focus on the enrichment of individual’s lives through the healing power of horses, T.H.E. Farm also prides itself on providing a public, self-sustaining equine program that creates an environment conducive to education, research, and intermingling individuals with disabilities into the community. Chapter 8: Supporting Special Needs Insert Video Clip of Katie at the Center – (not posted here yet)

42 What did Lorah, Claire, and Katie learned? Ultimately, the programs we have taken part in, such as equestrian therapy at T.H.E. Farm, expressive therapy through dance at Outside the Lines, and the Wounded Warrior Project, all advocate for the immersion of those with disabilities or special needs into the community. By bringing people together it will not only make individuals with disabilities feel more accepted by their peers, but it will also raise awareness about how individuals with disabilities would like to be treated. Thus, along with acceptance and awareness in the community, these unique public health programs will permit individuals with disabilities to feel independent within society.

43 Chapter 9: Final Thoughts: Social Responsibility Our objective aligned with the mission of Boston University Experiential Education, where our approach also includes an emphasis on the application of knowledge and skills in the real world. In addition, the learning tools requested will help student to integrate and connect ideas across disciplines or between realms of life and the community they live in. The optimal outcome is to help student to the discovery of the personal and social implications of what they have learned, caring about the outcomes of learning in a way that fuels the desire to learn more, and learning how to learn through inquiry by becoming truly engaged in the scientific methodology in order to become imbued with a life-long zeal for learning, inquiry, and achievement.

44 Final Thoughts My students and I hope you enjoyed our class project, and welcome you to share our stories with others. Be inspired to make a difference in your community today. Engage Inspire Learn

45 Chapter 10: Resources and References The Institute of Medicine’s 2003 report, Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century Stroup DF and Thacker SB: Epidemiology and education: using public health for teaching mathematics and science. Public Health Reports May/June 2007:122: Fink LD, Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.

46 About the Author Kee Chan, PhD is an assistant professor of health sciences at Boston University. A PhD graduate of Yale University and former fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Chan is a leading expert in public health genomics and cost-effectiveness analysis. At BU, Dr. Chan teaches courses using social media and engaged students with the significant learning. She is a dedicated volunteer in community services, and teaches her students the importance of social engagement in her teaching. Dr. Chan is the author of an upcoming book on understanding your genes for healthy living.


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