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Community Health Improvement and Promotion (CHIP)

A complex set of factors influence the health of individuals, communities and populations. These factors can be affected through clinical intervention as well as through broader community health interventions. Interventions aimed at changing health behaviors can take many forms – health educational programs, screening recommendations and environmental improvements – and may be implemented in different settings – communities, clinics or organizations.

The goal of the Community Health Improvement and Promotion (CHIP) course is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the principles, methods and complexities involved in community health/public health interventions through active participation in group projects. In addition, the course serves as a venue for community engagement and fosters collaboration between the medical school and local community agency and healthcare facilities. Through the course’s structured preparation and reflective sessions, students are also provided service-learning experiences.

In the CHIP course, students work in small groups under close supervision of course instructors and in collaboration with one or more community organizations/clinics (learning laboratory) and participate in a multi-site project aimed at improving the health of local communities. The course has two modules – project development and project implementation – and spans the MD1 academic year as well as fall of the MD2 academic year. The project objectives are directly informed by community-identified concerns, and by participating in these projects, students take an active role in responding to the health needs of northeast Pennsylvania. This experience is also expected to increase students’ understanding of social and environmental determinants of health.