Wednesday, July 11, 2007
This presentation is part of : Community and Home Health Intiatives
Advancing Evidenced-Based Practice with Vulnerable Populations through Transdisciplinary Collaboration on Service Learning Projects
Kathleen A. Sternas, PhD, RN and Mary Ann Scharf, EdD. College of Nursing, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, USA
Learning Objective #1: Describe evidence-based interventions which have demonstrated positive outcomes for vulnerable populations, students and community partners collaborating to meet community health needs.
Learning Objective #2: Describe benefits and challenges for students and community partners from collaborating on transdisciplinary community-based service learning projects for vulnerable populations.

Objectives: Campus/community-based service learning collaborations address high rates of asthma, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS and other health problems of vulnerable populations. Development of evidence-based practices for community settings requires transdisciplinary collaboration. This presentation describes research on service learning projects which involve transdisciplinary collaboration with positive outcomes for vulnerable populations and benefits for students and partners. Design: Descriptive research design. Sample: Traditional(n=169) and accelerated(n=162) community health nursing students and 98 agency partners. Methods: Data is based on evaluation of outcomes for agency partners and students, interviews with partners, and student focus groups. Students collaborated with partners from disciplines of nursing, sociology, psychology, physical education, dentistry, pharmacology and art. Topics for 2005-2006 included: Asthma;Hypertension;Obesity; Health Screenings for Mentally Ill; HIV/AIDS/STD Prevention;Infestations;Diabetes; Medication Adherence;Dental Hygiene;Drug/Alcohol Awareness; Immunizations. Variables included competence in community assessment and interventions, professional collaboration; leadership. Findings: Student outcomes: 100% agreed experiences promoted cultural awareness; 96.77% traditional and 100% accelerated collaborated with diverse professionals; 100% of both groups reported increased competence in planning interventions, improved Internet abilities, interest in community work. Partner outcomes: 100% agreed interventions met community needs, helped program planning. Interventions included: asthma triggers computer program; nutrition game board; health information on HIV/AIDS for Art Museum Project; program for interdisciplinary professionals on infestations and treatments; STD brochure which increased clinic attendance. Student benefits included: expertise in caring for vulnerable populations; evidence of effective interventions; interdisciplinary partner/leader role models; knowledge of community resources. Community partner benefits were: new health programs; knowledge about health problems and community resources. Challenges for students and partners were: time constraints; limited resources; language barriers, and group issues. Conclusions: Service learning projects with transdisciplinary collaboration meet needs of vulnerable populations, create positive outcomes for partners and students, and advance evidenced-based practice with vulnerable populations. Findings have implications for policy development and evidence-based interventions for vulnerable populations.