The bottom line: Tailoring a public health elective to students’ needs
AbstractContext and setting. Academics face difficulties when trying to include public health in the medical curriculum. The first hurdle is an already
overloaded curriculum and the second the marginal interest in the healthy on the part of those who are mainly concerned with the ill. One overlooked
potential opportunity for inclusion in the curriculum is the elective and, in particular, the self-constructed elective of third-year medical students at
the University of Pretoria.
Why the idea was necessary. Not only does public health have to compete with the powerful clinical interests among students, but students are also
not in a position to identify opportunities in the community that could offer meaningful learning opportunities for an elective in public health.
What was done. An action research study design used an online survey to explore the factors that students take into account when constructing an
elective experience. These factors determined the final design of a public health elective which was subsequently advertised to third-year medical
students at the University of Pretoria as a possible option.
Results and impact. Disappointingly, no student enrolled for the elective. Subsequent investigation of students’ actual choices resulted in a deeper
understanding of students’ unvoiced needs. It would appear that a successful public health elective needs to be like a mini-skirt - long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to hold interest. Academics considering innovations in public health could benefit from this complexity in design.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the AJHPE is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The AJHPE does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors. The corresponding author should also indicate if the research forms part of a postgraduate short report, dissertation or thesis.
Previously published imagesIf an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.