Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Public Health

This is a two-quarter course that incorporates service-learning in a community-based, public health setting. The service-learning placement affords students the opportunity for the development of a reciprocal relationship in which the student contributes to and learns from and about a local agency and the population(s) that it serves. Throughout the course, students will reflect on and integrate their service-learning experience and academic content as a means to assess community needs and strengths and gain a deeper understanding of public health and its role in community-based problems.

Service-learning provides a unique opportunity to connect coursework with personal experience through public service. By working with community-based organizations, public health students see theories that are traditionally confined in the classroom come to life. Groups of 5-6 students will engage in service at each placement site for approximately 5 hours a week over the span of two academic quarters.

Timeline (Autumn-Winter cohort)

  • September 8: Deadline for community partners to submit positions via EXPO
  • September 29 – October 4: Students register for capstone placements via EXPO
  • October 15: Deadline for students to have had an orientation at their partner site
  • October 9: Students begin regular weekly commitment at partner organization (if they are finished with their on-boarding and orientations)
  • March 9: Last day of students’ commitment to organization

Course Learning Objectives

  • Research the role, structure and function of and the population served by a community based agency and summarize findings
  • Analyze the impact of a public health problem on a population
  • Map community resources, assess needs and synthesize community strengths and gaps
  • Develop an approach and create materials to address a public health problem and articulate recommendations to a community agency
  • Systematically apply Public Health knowledge to personal experiences within a service placement
  • Evaluate personal attitudes and approaches to working with diverse communities and examine the impact of service on learning and communities.

Skills Developed

  • Peer teaching, working in groups, oral and written synthesis, accessing and reading professional literature
  • Effectively working in a diverse environment, interpersonal skill building, conflict resolution, practical problem solving

Relevant Student Assignments

  • Population profile: students identify the population with whom they will be working and provide relevant demographic information
  • Interview with site supervisor/staff: helps students identify potential public health issues faced by their agency/population
  • Choosing a literature review topic: students select an evidence-based public health issue that impacts the population they’ll be working with; this will be the focus of their work moving forward
  • Agency overview: in groups, students provide a thorough overview of the agency; areas to cover include programs and services offered, history, staffing structure (organizational chart), budget and funding, and mission and values.
  • Literature review: students conduct in-depth, academic research on a public health issue of their choosing
  • Public health problem, local level: a brief overview of how the population is impacted locally by the public health issue; this assignment includes an overview of current, local (and potentially national) programs and services available
  • Stakeholder interviews: students will engage in-person with a minimum of two people currently working at their site

Public Health Service-Learning Position Description Examples

Program Assistant, Bailey Boushay House

Advocacy Mobilizer, Asian Counseling and Referral Service