Service Learning Collaboration Receive Values Award
Jessica Alicea-Planas, RN, PhD, Michelle Leigh Farrell, PhD and 20 Fairfield University students received the Values Recipient Award at St. Vincent’s Medical Center at an award ceremony on January 19. The award was given to Planas, Farrell and the students for the work they accomplished during their service learning courses last semester with the University’s community service-learning partners St. Vincent’s Medical Center and HOPE Pharmacy. This service-learning opportunity was a collaboration between the Center for Faith and Public Life, Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and College of Arts & Sciences.
Planas’ students from the Healthcare Delivery Systems course were approached by Hope Pharmacy, a community pharmacy that provides free medicine to uninsured individuals, to conduct a questionnaire with patients to assess the impact of Hope Pharmacy’s services. During the semester, students had the opportunity to speak with the patients and hear about their challenges trying to access healthcare services.
“The issue that we immediately identified was that they have a large Spanish speaking population and bilingual students were needed as well. I knew that Dr. Farrell was teaching a medical Spanish class and reached out to her to see if she wanted to partner on this project,” stated Planas.
Students from both the Healthcare Delivery Systems and Career-Oriented Spanish-Nursing/Health Studies courses worked with the Hope Pharmacy at the medical mission and also at the Bridgeport Health Department. Students worked directly with the office and registered patients at the medical mission. Additionally, Farrell translated the survey into Spanish and Portuguese for the patients at the pharmacy.
“It was exciting to see Dr. Farrell and Dr. Planas collaborating through their respective service-learning courses. They worked on a common cause and with a common community partner and modeled for their students how to bring their diverse perspectives and disciplines to bear. This was a unique, grassroots collaboration that I hope we see replicated across other service-learning courses," stated Melissa Quan, director of the Center for Faith and Public Life. "The collaborative model they created also resonates with several Fairfield 2020 goals, including the creation of interdisciplinary courses and increasing experiential learning opportunities for students.”
Photo Credit: St. Vincent's Medical Center