Writing in the Health Professions & Adventure Central: Community-Engaged Partnership

Students in health care related majors began to wonder what ways that they could continue to be servant leaders for their local community. Dr. Rachel Bloom-Pojar, an English professor at UD, taught a semester long class that enabled her students to have hands-on experience with producing test texts for specific audiences (grade school-age children and their parents).

ENG 373H  (Writing in the Health Professions) worked on a project to revise and improve Dayton Children’s Hospital community education kids with child- and parent-facing materials about five injury prevention topics: fire safety, active transportation, home safety, playground safety, and nutrition/fitness. Her students explored how to write more effectively for various healthcare audiences and considered “prevention” as an important concern related to children’s health and well-being. The project was intended to give experience with working with community outreach in healthcare, usability testing with materials, and incorporating audience feedback into revision practices.

Dr. Bloom-Pojar saw this opportunity to reinforce that community partnerships need to be sustainable and reciprocal in their relations which is something that she tries to demonstrate in her daily actions.  Adventure Central hosted Dr. Bloom-Pojar’s students for three separate visits and incorporated her project into their curriculum to help her students get immediate feedback from potential audiences/readers of their work.

A total of $500 was granted to this activity. It was intended to help with buying additional supplies to enhance the education kits and to provide funds for the two partners to further enhance programming for community health and wellness. $200 went towards Dayton Children’s supplies and kit giveaway prizes to alleviate the financial burden on Dayton Children’s. The supplies for the kits were even identified by the students who have completed their research and analysis of the existing kits. These funds benefited the final product of the community education kids and encouraged more engagement with the children they will be presented to. $300 was allotted for Adventure Central to use at their discretion for community health programs such as recreation equipment, garden supplies, and curriculum resources.

Overall, this activity showed students how collaborative healthcare and community health work can and should be. It also created healthier communities, expertise in areas that professionals might not be familiar with, and new and creative ways to learn and communicate about issues that bring both communal and professional expertise together. In particular, this activity encouraged them to reflect on ways that students can think about writing as integral to how individuals and communities gain access to healthcare information. Having students interact with children and parents in West Dayton incorporated a practical approach to “learning about their audience” in ways that helped to problem solve and communicate with parents and children in their future careers. It drove them to think more about the variety of careers and professionals that work with different programs related to health care.

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