Saturday, November 3, 2007

This presentation is part of : Diverse Partnership in Healthcare
A Curriculum Model for Community Health that Engages Students as Working Volunteer Members of Community Organizations
Karen A. Karlowicz, EdD, RN, Phyllis Eaton, RN, MS, and Ann C. Campbell, RN, MSN, CPNP. School of Nursing, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA
Learning Objective #1: Discuss the challenges of securing organizational partners for community health education experiences.
Learning Objective #2: Adopt a model for community health education that promotes a life-long commitment to service by engaging students as working volunteer members of community organizations.

Faculty re-envisioned community health education to create a two-semester course sequence that occurs during the senior year of a six-semester BSN program. The curriculum is designed to enable each student to be assigned and remain affiliated with a community health organization throughout their senior year in order to facilitate the completion of projects critical to the mission of the organization. Students currently assume active roles as volunteer members in 10 community health organizations. Five student groups work with health coalitions and/or community work groups that were developed by the Eastern Virginia Medical School, Center for Pediatric Research, Consortium for Infant and Child Health (CINCH). These include: Project Immunize Virginia, Covering Kids and Families (FAMIS program), Obesity Prevention, Injury Prevention, and Eastern Virginia Perinatal Council. Other groups in which students are involved include the Chesapeake Community Free Clinic, City of Norfolk Drug Court, Madison Career Development Center (an alternative high school), Village Pointe Senior Housing, and the Sentara Community Health and Prevention Program.  Involvement in these organizations has provided a first-hand glimpse of the level of cooperation needed among a diverse collection of stakeholders to affect health care practices within the community.  A Community Health Day held at the end of the year-long experience allows senior students to showcase group projects completed, and provides junior students (rising seniors) with an opportunity to become acquainted with projects that they will assume and continue. Successful implementation of this curriculum model requires:  1) Recognition of available resources within the school and the community to facilitate the creation of innovative partnerships with a variety of organizations; 2) Faculty who are willing to volunteer personal time, and even assume leadership roles with organizations, in order to provide mentoring and supervision for students as well as maintain the integrity of the partnership.