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Rural Health Professions Program Service Learning Courses

One week. One life changing opportunity.

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 courses integrate meaningful reciprocal learning and reflective practice to develop the skills needed for effective work with communities and for social change.

Student reflections and feedback from the 2018 courses:

  • “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.”
  • “A key asset in effectively addressing public health issues is social and community connection and integration. Particularly in rural communities, developing authentic and trusting relationships can be the key determinant in whether a health initiative is successful. Both staff of Frontera de Cristo and the members of the DouglaPrieta Works cooperative exemplified a commitment to personal connection that has allowed their organizations to grow in their capacity to provide opportunities to community members.” 
  • “I love that there are Community Health Workers also doing a different kind of work in the community by addressing some of the basic healthcare deficits that almost always plague a small, somewhat cut-off/separated community. By teaching some of the community members about how to look after their chronic health issues and frequently checking in on and/or building relationships with residents, a sense of togetherness, pride, and comradery is fostered that increases the quality of life for everyone.”
  • “The service learning was amazing. I learned so much more than I would have in a classroom. The more I think and reflect on the weeks, the more I learn and get out of it. Seeing shelters, food banks, public transit, NPOs, low income housing in person was so eye opening. I won’t ever forget this experience and there are so many valuable lessons I got out of this week. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to see all the people and places we did.” 
  • “Seeing these health problems and solutions with my own eyes has given me a totally different perspective and appreciation for what I have and my privilege and how to use it to help others.” 

2019 Service Learning Courses

» Download the 2019 RHPP Service Learning Course Poster!

Important things to know:

  • Open to all masters (MPH/MS) and doctoral (DrPH/PhD) and dual degree public health students.
  • Meets Service-learning concentration requirement.
  • Courses require out of town travel and long days.
  • Meals and lodging (as necessary) are included. Students are responsible for tuition (1 credit).
  • Due to high demand for these courses:
    • Contact *Primary course contact ASAP to sign-up and reserve your spot.
    • Participation in this series is limited to two service learning courses. 


HPS 597B – Maternal and Child Health in Rural Settings Service Learning Institute
• Community: Hopi and Navajo Nations
• Field Dates: May 12-17, 2019
• Instructors: Doug Taren and Agnes Attakai*
• Northern Arizona is diverse and expansive. Interact with tribal and rural health systems that serve children and families.

PHPM 597D – Rural Health Service Learning Institute
• Community: Safford, Arizona
• Field Dates: May 19-24, 2019
• Instructor: Marc Verhougstraete* and Leila Barraza
• Historical mining and cotton communities of Arizona come alive through participation in health promotion and community collaboration.

HPS 597A – Family and Child Health in Urban Settings Service Learning Institute
• Community: Tucson and Pima County
• Field Dates: August 11-16, 2019
• Instructors: Christina Cutshaw and Jennifer Peters*
• Whether you have lived in Tucson all your life or are newly transplanted, this course will immerse you in Pima County agencies and empowered neighborhoods that provide structural support and services to youth and families.

PHPM 597C – Border Health Service Learning Institute
• Community: Yuma, Arizona – San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mx.
• Field Dates: August 11-16, 2019
• Instructors: Kate Ellingson and Abby Lohr*
• Grab your passport and prepare for a binational, bicultural experience. Explore the role of public health advocacy in globalization, migration and health.

PHP 597F – Phoenix Urban Service Learning
• Community: Central Phoenix, Arizona
• Field dates: December 2019 (exact dates TBA)
• Instructors: Janet Foote and Kim Barnes*
• Explore public health policy and action; interact with state and community-based programs meeting the needs of this diverse metropolitan city.

Sponsored by the partnership of the Arizona Area Health Education Centers Program and the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Arizona Center for Rural Health.

File Attachments: 

The University of Arizona