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Community Based Participatory Research

Community Health & Non-Clinical Internships at Geisinger
Sociology 322: Medical Sociology, Spring 2014

Professor: Carl Milofsky & Geisinger University Relations Specialist: Donna Laroya, MSW


This course will focus on health in the community and will have hands on, real work experiences through Geisinger Health System and other community internship opportunities. Class readings will provide support to students in their work and cohesion with the internship experience. Location of classes at Geisinger provides for possible guest speakers to share their experiences and expertise. This course is open to second, third, and fourth year students with a strong interest in health-related issues and some background or skills related to health. Preferred students will have taken some sociology courses or other social science courses, however, all students will be considered.

Previous Participatory Research Projects

  • Working with the Community to Identify Needs for Student with Disabilities Working in the Community
    Aaron Wilson supported Danville High School's Transition Program in outreach to the community to identify reasons why students with disabilities are, and are not, given opportunities within local businesses to learn employment skills.
  • Wall of Hope at the House of Care
    Jehan Momin worked to create a 'Wall of Memories' with stories and pictures of past guests at the House of Care. New patients, old patients, families, staff, and the community at Geisinger will be able to come to the House of Care and read the personal stories of patients to show readers that they are not alone during their difficult times.
  • Malyse Uwase worked with the Bloomsburg Women's Center to identify how domestic violence impacts women from different age groups and the resources they prefer to use in dealing with their situation.
  • Victor Gonzalez was placed with the Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine Clinic located in Mifflinville, PA. His research was to study how rural non-profit initiatives help surpass the obstacles of low income and uninsured populations and ways to further strengthen such programs.
  • Raissa Sorgho did her internship with the Community Affairs and Clinical Services Programming Office at Geisinger. She worked with the Kohl's education initiative to identify what resources local school nurses needed for dissemination of information to improve the BMI of their students.
  • Gia Ciccolo worked with the Geisinger Hispanic Initiative, specifically in the Hazleton community, to assess any issues that the clinic has in servicing the Hispanic populations and possible solutions.

Check out this ARTICLE regarding our Spring 2013 cohort.

Class Specifics:
♦ 15 student limit
♦ 10 hour per week for internship research opportunities
♦ Group transportation available leaving Bucknell

Graded class requirements will depend on the field work set up for each person.
Students are expected to:
• Commit substantial time and efforts to meeting a need in the local communities
• Complete project reports specific to their work or field notes on a setting they are observing and/or some summarizing project describing a project they create
• Complete analytic writing assignments related to readings and class activities

Once a student has been accepted to this course, Donna Laroya will attempt to set up a research or project internship experience close to that person's area of interest. The settings may be within the administrative structure at Geisinger, on a research or other project, or outside of Geisinger in the community. Students should approach field experiences as though they are employees at a job. Those students placed at Geisinger locations must go through background checks, clearances, drug and tobacco screenings. Students can use this class as the starting point for continuing internships and research in future semesters.