California State University - Long Beach
Overview of the Curriculum Innovation
The California State University at Long Beach provides summer engagement programs in community health nursing to undergraduate and graduate students through placement in various international locations that allow a group of students and a faculty member to engage in community health projects in developed, developing, and domestic locations. These projects focus on the social determinants of health and may range from work on clean water projects in Tanzania to rural development projects in underserved areas of the United States. Graduate students have a chance to present their class and research projects at international global, cultural, and social issues conferences. During these times, the time is extended into visiting community settings visits that enlighten students by partaking in experiences such as visiting villages on the Amazon River and doing community needs assessments and addressing health issues as part of their clinical experiences.
Another interesting approach to community health nursing in this program is through the academic practice partnership with Long Beach Memorial Hospital. This partnership was developed by Dr. Pyllis Cooper in consultation with Dr. Savitri Singh-Carlson at California State University, Long Beach. In this partnership senior undergraduate students are assigned to patients who access the emergency room for non-emergent conditions. The students assess the patients and then arrange to follow-up with them in the community. During this experience undergraduate students learn to link families with essential community services that enable them to avoid unnecessary emergency room use. The students develop skill in creating community linkages, following-up on conditions in the home that might lead to acute care utilization, and increasing family health. The project creates a bridge between the acute care setting and the community health setting and teaches the undergraduate student to address family health needs using community resources. Graduate students are engaged in collecting data to evaluate the program, measure outcomes, and work with the undergraduate students. Undergraduate students demonstrate a clear change in attitude after the experience, they realize the need for interdisciplinary work and for developing community linkages.
Savitri Singh-Carlson, PhD
California State University, Long Beach