Explore the impact of exposing health professions students to the social determinants of health through a learning partnership with Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed).
Use of Theory or Research
SNAP-Ed's program theory is informed by the Social-Ecological Model, supporting training competencies for health professions students to understand the social determinants of health and ensure a Social-Ecological Approach to clinical care.
Students enrolled in health professions programs (eg, medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant, dental medicine).
The learning partnership exposes Maine's Care for the Underserved Pathways Area Health Education Center Scholars (CUP AHEC Scholars) to SNAP-Ed evidence-based curricula. The two-year program combines didactic and experiential activities for students interested in working in underserved communities. Scholars gain competencies in interprofessional education and practice, social determinants of health, and culturally sensitive clinical care. The collaboration promotes an understanding of how nutrition-related supports create healthier, food-secure communities. Scholars complete an online module covering SNAP-Ed program theory and participate in community-based activities alongside a nutrition educator.
Post-activity surveys from scholars collect immediate qualitative information on trainings, focused on quality improvements and learning outcomes. Annual post-surveys collect quantitative and qualitative data measuring competency outcomes. A storytelling approach with photographic evidence will highlight results from the collaboration's first 2 years.
Since 2018, 9 students have participated in the Maine SNAP-Ed learning partnership. The majority of students (89%) report they would recommend the activity to fellow students. Qualitative feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and the most commonly cited learning outcome was increased understanding of “the link between poor nutrition and its impacts on health and wellness.”
The health professions training collaboration demonstrates that exposure to SNAP-Ed's approach to addressing social determinants of health provides valuable real-world clinical-community linkages experience. Scholarly partnerships with SNAP-Ed have the potential to create fundamental, systemic change in local capacity to reduce the burden of hunger and improve health outcomes.
Funding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education.
Appendix. Supplementary data
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