UBC Community as Teacher Program Receives National Award

The UBC Division of Health Care Communication, part of the College of Health Disciplines, has been awarded one of four national Community Service-Learning (CSL) Awards from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation.

The award was for the “Community as Teacher” program. Through the program, UBC health professional students learn alongside Aboriginal youth at summer camps led by Elders, youth workers and cultural leaders. With the community as teacher, UBC students develop awareness and respect for cultural differences.

Camps are held on the Chehalis Indian Reserve, in a Longhouse or outdoors and provide a learning environment unlike classrooms and clinics. Over three to four days, small groups of UBC students learn about the Sto:lo people through drumming, singing, canoeing, Longhouse ceremonies, talking with Elders and interacting with the youth. In exchange, they help with chores and facilitate health-related discussions on topics chosen by the participants, including nutrition, body image, hygiene and sexual health, and a modified version of the “Talk to Your Doc” outreach program, facilitated by medical students in B.C. high schools, to help adolescents develop independent and active relationships with health care providers.

The CSL Awards recognize successful community initiatives supported by robust community service-learning programs.