Objective: Despite the use of service learning in other health care education programs, little is published about its use in doctor of chiropractic programs. Since 2017, the public health course at our institution has included a service-learning assignment in which students volunteer for nonprofit organizations and write an essay about their experience. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of the assignment on students' self-reported public health knowledge and attitudes.
Methods:Between April 2017 and June 2018, 56 essays were collected from students who volunteered at a nonprofit organization focused on 3 categories: youth, the environment, or poverty. Each essay was deidentified and assigned random 4-digit-number file names. Ten files were randomly selected from each of the 3 categories for qualitative thematic analysis using deductive and inductive coding.
Results: Student essays demonstrated competency in public health concepts, including organizational systems, levels of prevention, and the social ecological model. In addition, a majority of the students went beyond discussing knowledge gained from this assignment and described the impact of their experience on their personal growth.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that students respond favorably to a service-learning assignment that addresses public health competencies and may foster personal and professional development.
Author keywords: Education, Public Health Professional, Chiropractic, Social Welfare, Learning
Author affiliations: KLW,DHO, MS:Research Department, Life Chiropractic College West, Hayward, California, United States
Corresponding author: KLW—email@example.com
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