Recap: This summer's AzCRH Rural Health Professions Program
In August 2018, two of the five service-learning courses in the Arizona Center for Rural Health’s Rural Health Professions Program were held in Tucson, AZ, and Douglas, AZ-Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. These community-engaged experiences provide the framework for understanding the assets and issues of our rural and underserved communities. Our partnerships with the AHEC centers throughout the state are the platform for active learning and reflection on strengthening health equity and eliminating health disparities.
HPS 597A: Family and Child Health in Urban Settings
The Family and Child Health in Urban Settings Service-learning Institute provides students ‘real world’ and applied opportunities to learn about current health and social policy affecting families and children in the borderlands region of Tucson, AZ. The 2018 course continued to inspire students, faculty, and community partners to investigate and reflect on how public health programs address socio-economic challenges, migration status, trauma, and health behaviors when working with diverse populations to improve health outcomes.
To achieve this, course coordinator and instructor Jennifer Peters (program manager for the Arizona State Office of Rural Health Program and Rural Health Professions Program) and PhD student Kiera Coulter worked with over 33 community partners to design a week-long intensive experience for six masters-level and two doctoral-level public health students.
Together, we explored topics and implemented projects around social determinants of health for Medicaid recipients, neighborhood revitalization and community planning, art and cultural approaches to addressing trauma, healing, and prevention of substance abuse and violence, adolescent health and transgender health, immigration and migration, oral health issues, food and environmental justice, and civic engagement.
Major partners in the 2018 course included: Catalytic Health Partners, the Consulado de Mexico, Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Galeria Mitotera, Global Justice Center, El Rio Commuity Health Center, Flowers and Bullets Collective, Healthy South Tucson Coalition, John A Valenzuela Youth Center, Mi Familia Vota, Pima County Health Department, Primavera Foundation, Community Prevention Collation, Southwest Institute for Research on Women, South Tucson Youth Leadership Council, Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services, The Garden Kitchen, The University of Arizona Community School Garden Program, Tucson Clean and Beautiful, and Youth On Their Own.
The experience was transformative for students, as exemplified by student reflections and comments throughout the course: “This class reinforced how important it is to get out of the classroom and into the community to truly appreciate the strengths and challenges a community has. In all, this class has helped to reinforce my thoughts on the importance of addressing the whys when we look at a public health problem and the degree we involve/partner with the community when we conduct research projects. I’m glad I was able to hear from such a diverse set of voices… that I was able to learn about fellow students in such an intensive week.”
Border Health Service Learning Institute (BHSLI)
2018 marks the ten year anniversary of the MEZCOPH Border Health Service Learning Institute (BHSLI). Founded by Dr. Cecilia Rosales and Jill de Zapien, the week-long course employs an intensive, field-based model which immerses students, faculty and community partners directly in border communities which are facing huge health disparity issues. Together we implement programs that directly support community efforts to address these disparities. Each service activity is structured around reflection questions which provide the framework for understanding the role of public health in the elimination of health disparities.
BHSLI has been taught in Yuma/San Luis Rio Colorado; Nogales, Arizona/Nogales, Sonora; and Douglas / Agua Prieta. This year we conducted the course in Douglas / Agua Prieta. We partnered with the following organizations:
- Consulado de Mexico, Tucson
- Frontera de Cristo
- DouglaPrieta Works
- Cochise County Health Department
- Chiricahua Community Health Center
- Secretaria de Salud, Agua Prieta
- Cafe Justo and Cafe Justo y Mas
- CREDA (a substance abuse treatment center in Agua Prieta)
- Southeast Arizona Health Education Center (SEAHEC).
Evident in the students' final reflections and plans to share what they learned, the 2018 BHSLI was a success.
"Getting to spend a few hours immersed in another person's reality is incredibly instructive, and it is not something that is easily replicated in the classroom. This course also worked to dismantle the taboo around the border for many of us, and it really showed us both the overwhelming challenges and the tenacious successes at the border." - 2018 BHSLI Student