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Tools and Resources
Discipline-Specific Resources, Including Syllabi
Training Institutes
Training and Technical Assistance
Electronic Discussion Groups
Web Links


Service-learning is a structured learning experience that combines community service with preparation and reflection. Students engaged in service-learning provide community service in response to community-identified concerns and learn about the context in which service is provided, the connection between their service and their academic coursework, and their roles as citizens.

Service-learning differs from traditional clinical education in the health professions in that:

  • Service-learning strives to achieve a balance between service and learning objectives - in service-learning, partners must negotiate the differences in their needs and ex-pectations.
  • Service-learning places an emphasis on addressing community concerns and broad determinants of health
  • In service-learning, there is the integral involvement of community partners - service-learning involves a principle-centered partnership between communities and health professions schools.
  • Service-learning emphasizes reciprocal learning - In service-learning, traditional definitions of "faculty," "teacher" and "learner" are intentionally blurred. We all learn from each other.
  • Service-learning emphasizes reflective practice - In service-learning, reflection facilitates the connection between practice and theory and fosters critical thinking.
  • Service-learning places an emphasis on developing citizenship skills and achieving social change - many factors influence health and quality of life. The provision of health services is not often the most important factor. In service-learning, students place their roles as health professionals and citizens in a larger societal context

Citation: Seifer SD. (1998). Service-learning: Community-campus partnerships for health professions education. Academic Medicine, 73(3):273-277.

Tools and Resources

CCPH and our members have developed a number of tools and resources for service-learning, including PowerPoint presentations and proceedings.

Please click to view and print these service-learning tools and resources (printable with Adobe Acrobat Reader)

The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice has developed a number of tools for community-academic partnerships between health departments and schools of public health. Although focused on public health and the practicums required by MPH programs, these tools are also useful for service-learning partnerships in a wide range of health professional disciplines.

The California State University's Service-Learning in Family Health AmeriCorps program has developed several service-learning evaluation instruments, submitted by CCPH member Season Eckardt:

Please click to view information about the Health Professions Schools in Service to the Nation Program, a national demonstration program of service-learning in the health professions

Please click for an annotated bibliography of service-learning research in higher education between about 1993-2000.


Discipline-Specific Resources, Including Syllabi

CCPH maintains a growing collection of service-learning syllabi and course materials. Please click on a discipline below to view service-learning syllabi and course materials from that discipline. To view and print some of these materials, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Help us expand our collection! To submit your service-learning syllabi and/or course materials, please email file attachments to Be sure to include any pertinent copyright, authorship and institutional information.

Note: Inclusion of service-learning syllabi and course materials on the CCPH website does not constitute endorsement by CCPH.

BiostatisticsMiscellaneous Health
Community DevelopmentNutrition
Dental Hygiene/DentistryOccupational Therapy
Health AdministrationPharmacy
Health EducationPhysical Education
Health EthicsPhysical Therapy
Health GeographyPsychology
Health LawPublic Health/Prevention
Honors Program Social Work
MedicineSpeech Pathology and Audiology
AnthropologyWomen's Health

Additional sources of online service-learning syllabi by discipline:

  • Campus Compact
  • Service-Learning
  • Community Organizing and Development
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Faith and Health Consortium
  • The National Leadership Resource Database - contains courses and course modules that integrate HIV/AIDS and other health concerns into higher education curriculum, including service-learning courses.


  • Anthropology: Biomedical Science and Human Adaptability - University of Pennsylvania
  • Reducing Alcohol Abuse on College Campuses: Addressing Student Health through Public Interest Anthropology - University of Pennsylvania



Community Development

  • Community Development Organizations and Policies, Vanderbilt University
  • Community Organizing & Community Building for Health, University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health

Dental Hygiene/Dentistry


  • Basic Aspects of Aging, University of Iowa School of Social Work
  • Involving University Students in Service to the Elderly: A Study of Service-Learning in Gerontology - doctoral dissertation by James Paul Firman, Columbia University Teachers College
  • Health Services in the Elderly and the Mentally Ill, California State University-Northridge
  • Explorations in Gerontology
  • Intergenerational Service-Learning: Aspects of Long Term Care - Health, Miami University
  • Intergenerational Service-Learning: Health and Aging - Current Perspectives and Issues, Miami University
  • Intergenerational Service-Learning Program, University of Iowa
  • Aging and Social Intervention For Intergenerational Service Learning, San Francisco State University
  • Group Work with Older Adults: Connections Across Generations, Sonoma State University
  • Seminar on Issues in Gerontology, Illinois State University
  • Social Gerontology, Lourdes College
  • Case Studies in Clinical Gerontology, Ohio State University
  • Understanding the Aging Process, Ohio State University
  • Sociology of Aging, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
  • The Adult Health and Development Program, University of Maryland. For more information, click here.

Health Administration

Health Education

  • Community Health Education, California State University Northridge
  • Service-Learning in Health Education, Miami University
  • Health Education Program Evaluation, University of Utah
  • Health Education Stress Management Instructors Class, University of Utah
  • Principles of Health Education, California State University San Bernardino
  • Recruiting a health education intern - although developed as a resource for community-based organizations in Washington State, this fact sheet has some tips that may be generally applicable.
  • Service-Learning in Health Education, University of Maryland

Health Ethics

Health Geography

Health Law

  • American Healthcare Law, University of Dayton

Honors Program

  • Students in the Vaughan-Beaven Service Learning Honors Program at Kettering College of Medical Arts participate in a course of study that, critically analyses the service needs of the local, regional, national, and/or global communities, and participates in meeting identified needs. CCPH Fellow Paula Reams developed, piloted, and evaluated this new service-learning honors program in a health professions college.
  • For a description of the program's Service-Learning Contract click here.
  • For the program's Student Attitude Assessment Survey, click here.
  • For a description of the Service-Learning Honors Program click here.
  • For a description of the courses in the Service-Learning Honors Program click here.


  1. A Tapestry of Visions: Weaving Service-Learning into a School for Health Care Professions Curriculum - authored by Candace Berardinelli and Rhonda Sims, Regis University.
  2. Integration of Service-Learning with an Interdisciplinary Focus - authored by Penny S. Brooke, University of Utah College of Nursing.
  3. Interdisciplinary Service-Learning: A Model for Community Partnership - authored by Juliann G. Sebastian, Judy Skelton, Lynne A. Hall, Ruth A. Assell, Betsy DeWitt McCollum, Karen P. West and David Fahringer, University of Kentucky.
  4. Interdisciplinary Student-Community-Patient Education Service - authored by Cristal M. Piper, Bernard J. Horak, Denice Cora-Bramble, Doreen Harper, Janet Hale, and Gene Kallenberg, George Mason University and George Washington University.
  5. Linkages: A Program of Service-Learning - authored by Susan White and JoAnne Henry, Virginia Commonwealth University.
  6. Start Small and Think Big: The CARES Interdisciplinary Service-Learning Program - authored by Judith A. McKinney, West Virginia Wesleyan College.
  7. Violence Intervention and Prevention Program - authored by Margaret Ann Mahoney, Northeastern University.





  • Life Cycle Nutrition, Keene State College
  • Nutrition, Health and Community Schools, University of Pennsylvania
  • Community Nutrition - University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Click here for examples of student service-learning projects.
  • Community Nutrition - Practical Applications, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University
  • Click here to view the syllabi set of the Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society. Syllabi are included for such courses as Food and Nutrition: Customs and Culture, and Social Science Perspectives on Food and Nutrition.

Occupational Therapy




Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy Service-Learning Working Group

To view handouts from the November 2003 Physical Therapy Service-Learning Workgroup tele-briefing on "Building Networks" click here.

To view an overview of the November 2003 Physical Therapy Service-Learning Workgroup tele-briefing on "Creating a Service-Learning Course" click here. To view an outline on how to get started in service-learning, click here. To view a case study of a Physical Therapy program that integrated service-learning into their curriculum, please click here.


  • Social Psychology of HIV/AIDS, University of South Florida
  • Service-Learning and Civic Engagement in Psychology - is intended to introduce faculty, teachers, students, researchers, clinicians, and community partners to the connections between psychological work, the pedagogy of service-learning, and issues of civic engagement.

Public Health/Prevention

Social Work

  • Service-learning in social work education: Building democracy through informed citizenship - doctoral dissertation by Ryan Tolleson Knee, University of Denver
  • Community Leadership in Action, University of Utah School of Social Work
  • Community Leadership in Action, University of Utah School of Social Work
  • Violence and Youth Gangs, University of Utah School of Social Work
  • Social Service Delivery Systems, Indiana University School of Social Work


Speech Pathology and Audiology

  • Service Learning in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Calvin College
  • Service-Learning and Civic Leadership in Speech Pathology and Audiology, Miami University
Women's Health
  • Community Perspectives on Childbirth, Vanderbilt University
  • Women's Health, Marquette University

Electronic Discussion Groups

The Service-Learning listserv sponsored by the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse provides a venue for sharing information and resources on service-learning in higher education, including health professional education. As the Clearinghouse's senior program advisor for higher education, CCPH frequently posts announcements about funding, conferences and publications. To subscribe, click here.


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