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May 7, 2009

ASCLS publishes work of health studies professor

The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science has published the research of a professor in the Department of Health Studies at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Paula L. Griswold, Ph.D., wrote an article for the society's newsletter titled, "Incorporating Group Projects into Health Science Curricula."

Griswold spent hours researching and planning a group project for a course called "Social Epidemiology of Health and Illness" as a way to engage students in the educational process.

The objectives of the course, detailed in Griswold's article for ASCLS, were to expose students to medical literature, foster group interaction and team dynamics and enhance each student's ability to plan and accomplish tasks and improve communication.

Griswold visited area hospitals, clinics and healthcare resource rooms to assess health literature available to patients. She then required her students to address deficiencies in the information available by producing a pamphlet on their own.

The pamphlets covered topics addressing everything from specific disease states to patient's rights and responsibilities.

Griswold required her students to meet regularly as a group, keep detailed minutes of the meetings and evaluate the information to be included in a pamphlet. At the end of the semester, each group submitted its final pamphlet and presented a 20-minute oral presentation detailing each step of the project.

In the future, Griswold said she hoped to build on the project by having students participate in service learning, including placement of these pamphlets in a local clinic, hospital, doctor's office, or laboratory waiting room.

Griswold said the project encouraged students to be creative and improve their cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills in a single endeavor.

"This project has prepared them to undertake similar projects they will encounter in the workplace. It has allowed me, a health science educator, to meet a specific challenge and keep my classroom interesting," she said.

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