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Students will work with local community partners

Two professors are laying the groundwork for future community-based research by creating a health literacy project that will involve community partners in the Lehigh Valley.

Starting in the fall, this unique research will take the form of a service learning project within sociology courses and eventually emerge as a standing project, where students can take part in research and volunteer regardless of whether they are in the course. Collaborating on the project are David Shulman, associate professor of anthropology and sociology, and Jamila Bookwala, associate professor of psychology.

“This is one of the many ways that Lafayette students and members of the Easton community can work together and provide intellectually curious and active students with an opportunity to gain knowledge and serve others,” says Shulman. “It will be a great opportunity to benefit both the community and the students.”

One of the project’s focal points will be to determine how much people in the community actually know about their own health by administering a Short Test of Functional Health Literacy (STOFHL).

“The great thing about this project as a community based research course is that it will teach students intervention techniques in the health profession, and in turn, provide valuable experience,” says Shulman.

Students involved in the pilot program will learn how setting up a new program works and the necessary contributions needed to make it successful. In the long run, the professors envision that any student interested in health or community work will be able to join in.

“Most important of all, students will know that they contributed to improving the health of Easton residents,” says Shulman. “It will be an opportunity for students to learn inside and outside of the classroom and to apply knowledge in real world settings.”

The health literacy project is part of the College’s Community Based Learning and Research Initiative, which is funded through a Learn & Serve America Grant from the Corporation for Nation and Community Service.

This project is a strong example of Lafayette’s goals in its new strategic plan to form community partnerships meant to advance the quality of life enjoyed by Easton’s residents and visitors, as well as provide students with more experiences focused on community-based learning, research, and service.

  • Easton: In Our City
  • Service Learning
  • Strategic Plan
  • Anthropology and Sociology
  • Psychology
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