The SHAs take pride in being able to touch the community through their research of disparities plaguing our minority communities. As health promotion and disease prevention advocates, they disseminate health information on topics associated with health priority areas for communities of color, using evidence based methods shown to be effective in targeted communities. As part of their research, the SHAs participate in community and campus events to further increase their knowledge on a particular health disparity. With access to the community, SHAs are able to disseminate information on local resources that will provide guidance to the community participants. The local resources are usually local nonprofit organizations that focus on particular disparities that affect minority communities. These organizations are identified as community partners.
The community partners help the SHA identify underlying causes of health inequalities in communities of color. With partnership, the community partner is able to gain an outside perspective on their resources while giving the SHA insight on their research. Together the goal is to increase health protective behaviors in communities; empower residents through education, information and skills; and build activities that will lead to long-term solutions for social and/or environmental factors that contribute to disease development, disability and early death.
Service Learning is a system of structured learning opportunities and experiences in local communities that expose students to the real-life problems and concerns of stakeholders. Students become civically engaged through active participation, collaboration, problem-solving and providing community service. In this regard, students are given an opportunity to connect what they have learned in the classroom with their actual communities experiences and facilitate that connection through journaling and reflection. It differs from traditional learning because it:
Strives to achieve a balance between service and learning objectives
Places emphasize on addressing community concerns
Involves community partners
Emphasizes reciprocal communication and learning
Development of civi engagement and responsibility
COMMUNITY-BASED PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH (CBPR)
The SHAs are trained to incorporate Community-Based Participatory Research into their studies. You may ask what is CBPR? According to the Community Health Scholars Program, CBPR is a “collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR begins with a research topic of importance to the community and has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change.”