Golden Jackson, Ph.D., who joined American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) in November, 2012, has considerable experience in the community-based and academic service-learning field. Most notably, Dr. Jackson developed the Service-Learning Initiative at The Ohio State University (OSU). Within five years, OSU was cited for excellent practice in service-learning by U.S. News and World Report.
Here, Dr Jackson shares more about her role as director of service-learning and community affairs at AUC, including her involvement with Project HELP, and what she finds most rewarding about the community-minded environment at AUC.
AUC: Tell us about your role/responsibilities.
Dr. Jackson:
As Director of Service-Learning and Community Affairs, my role at AUC is to work with students, faculty, staff and community leaders to collaboratively develop initiatives that contribute to student learning as well as community priorities. This includes supporting student-led events such as Community Action Day and Project HELP, as well as developing and strengthening partnerships with local organizations such as the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, the Diabetes Foundation and the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation, just to name a few.

AUC: Tell us about Project H.E.L.P.
Dr. Jackson:
When I arrived at AUC in November 2012, my first assignment was to help two students launch a program that would provide community-based clinical experience to medical science students and contribute to health outreach on the island. The vision for Project H.E.L.P.  is to promote health, educate participants about healthy living choices, increase literacy/understanding of health risks and indicators, and focus on prevention of illness through adoption of healthy practices.  

Project H.E.L.P. was officially launched in April 2013 and is now offered twice each semester. H.E.L.P provides screenings for BMI, blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and vision. Fourth semester students coordinate registration/sign-in, explain the project to persons attending the event, and obtain consent for participation in the screening.  Fifth semester students take a  history, administer screenings, and report findings to AUC faculty collaborator Dr. Naira Chobanyan as well as a St. Maarten physician. Students also provide educational messages on blood pressure, diabetes, and diet and lifestyle and give each participant a card with their results.

My role is to use my experience in initiating and fostering partnerships, student preparation and training, and program development to lead the project, maintain the balance of benefits, and work with AUC faculty for continued improvement and expansion. I am fortunate to work with dedicated professionals from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labour, outstanding faculty, and enthusiastic and capable students.

AUC: What do you find most rewarding in your job?
Dr. Jackson:
I experience real joy in bringing together students, community and faculty as learners and teachers focused on a community priority. When it all comes together – when the learning is palpable, when we realize positive outcomes for both community and students, when people from diverse backgrounds and training work together effectively, and when we achieve sustainability and growth – then I am in the zone that my musician husband talks about and most only hope for.

Blog Editor

Posted September 02, 2014 02:33 PM

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