Health Professionals as Agents of Change (CHANGE AGENTS IN HEALTH) (AGENTS OF CHANGE IN HEALTH)

Instructor Name: 
Alissa Leavitt
Course Description: 

Health Professionals as Agents of Change

Do you ever wonder what health care will look like in 5 -15 years from now? What will your role be in effecting positive change? Although we will look to theory and research to help answer these and other questions related to the topic of change leadership in public health, we will also be asking “how do we apply these concepts in real world settings?” 

Students will explore how personal, social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental factors play a critical role in shaping patterns of health and disease within and across populations. Leadership concepts, issues, and functions will be applied to the role of the public health or healthcare professional as a change agent in various organizational and community settings. In collaboration with community partners, students will negotiate a plan for engagement and create deliverables or provide a service that meet the community’s needs. 

Students will take the initiative ​before​ the capstone begins to find their own community project/partnership AND arrange an indirect (virtual) project with the community-based learning (CBL) site. The CBL project should provide an opportunity for students to meet the learning outcomes. 

Students will propose a meaningful project, with a target of 30 CBL hours over the course of a single term. For example, students may consider volunteering or working with a mentor in public health education, health policy, health research, public affairs, social services, or other healthcare or community health environments. This project may be an existing relationship, or one sought for the purpose of this class. A minimum of three working hours per week with the organization is required, however these hours must be uncompensated as students are volunteering their time for the purpose of community-based learning. 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Describe the cultural, social, behavioral and environmental factors and issues that influence the health of the community. (inquiry and critical thinking, diversity, equity and social justice, ethics, agency and community) 
  • Describe and apply characteristics of an effective teamwork experience. (inquiry and critical thinking, communication, diversity, equity and social justice, ethics, agency and community) 
  • Demonstrate awareness of and sensitivity to diverse perspectives based on social and cultural characteristics when designing, implementing, evaluating, and disseminating public health programs and/or services. (inquiry and critical thinking, communication, variety of human experience, ethics, agency and community) 
  • Articulate how the social and physical environments shape individual[TH2] and community health through an ecological model. (inquiry and critical thinking, communication, diversity, equity and social justice, ethics, agency and community) 
  • Identify personal areas of passion and interest in promoting social justice and health equity and serving as a current and future change agent in health care. (inquiry and critical thinking, communication, diversity, equity and social justice, ethics, agency and community) 
  • Advocate for personal, family, community and public health focused on stress recovery supports. (inquiry and critical thinking, communication, ethics, agency and community) 

​This course may feel different from other courses you have taken in the past. The course will rely less on lecture-style content and more on experiential and student-led learning. Students will be asked to contribute their expertise and experience to class activities, assignments and fieldwork. Full participation is critical to a successful learning experience in this course. In the capstone setting, students, the instructor and community partners are viewed as co-teachers and co-learners. We will work together to achieve goals that both benefit educational experience and meet a real need in the community. 

Project Description: 

Students will take the initiative before the Capstone begins to arrange a project with their service site. Students will partner with local organizations to produce a set of products that serve one overarching goal and enhance the partner organization’s mission. This capstone is flexibly designed, giving students the opportunity to help shape and define their level of work. 

  • Students will work with their own community partner to negotiate service plans. 

  • Student will produce products or complete service that meet the community’s needs.

  • Students will have the opportunity to reflect on and present information about their on-going work with their individual partnerships in the community. 

  • Students will complete a final written report regarding an issue within the field of health or healthcare. The written report will be shared in class, on the course webpage and with the service site.  

  • Students will complete a final presentation reflecting on connections between course outcomes and community-based learning. Representatives from the service sites would be invited to attend the presentation.


Each student is expected to share on the first day of class a confirmation letter from their community sponsor. This letter should include the student's name, the focus and time frame of the project, a description of the types of people with whom the student will interact, and the sponsor's signature. Permission of instructor required. Contact instructor by e-mail for full details regarding course requirements.