Service-Learning in Undergraduate Global Health Education: The Effect of Team Dynamics on Civic Attitudes and Skills

Daniel Chavez-Yenter, Amy Badham, Kristine Ria Hearld, Henna Budhwani


Social justice is most effectively taught through experiential learning, including practicums, internships, and service-learning (SL). Service-learning provides solid conceptualizations, with the potential for improving civic attitudes (i.e., social responsibility and participation). Graduate public health programs have traditionally required SL internships designed to enhance civic attitudes and skills, which has led to the recent incorporation of SL courses into undergraduate curricula. The authors assessed the benefits of SL in undergraduate public health education using the Civic Attitudes and Skills Questionnaire administered to enrollees (n = 43) in a global health SL course at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Variability among student groups by major, gender, academic year, partner type, honors college status, team dynamics, and previous SL experience was determined. Overall, students reported increases in their civic attitudes and skills. However, team dynamics emerged as the most important associated factor. Individuals reporting poor team dynamics consistently reported lower levels of improvement than those reporting great team dynamics.


service-learning; public health; global health; team dynamics

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