Nursing works with local school for global health
Penn announces new partnership in which professors teach global health at a local private school
September 3, 2013, 8:01 pm · Updated September 3, 2013, 8:50 pm·
Rory Heilakka | DP
School of Nursing faculty are teaming up with a private Philadelphia-area high school for girls, The Agnes Irwin School, to teach a class about global health this semester, Penn announced in the Almanac Tuesday.
The class will bring in a professor from Penn each week for a 70-minute lecture. The teacher, Sarah Eckert, will then spend the rest of the week going over the topic covered in the lecture with the girls.
“It seemed like too good of an opportunity to not explore,” Mariandl Hufford, the director of the Center for the Advancement of Girls at Agnes Irwin, said of the partnership.
The class will look at inequities related to healthcare, Eckert said. More specifically, they will look at inequalities in access to health care, global health issues, as well as health problems that pertain only to girls — like reproductive health.
Students in 11th and 12th grade will be able to take the class. The initiative was led by Penn professor Loretta Jemmott, who also sits on the advisory board for Agnes Irwin, along with Hufford.
The two had conversations about what a partnership between Penn and Agnes Irwin could potentially look like starting last year, Hufford said, and the idea for the course came about this way.
Jemmott then worked closely with Eckert to design the curriculum for the high school students.
This class will require students to plan a local service project in the Philadelphia area that would help improve the health of members in the community. Students will also have to write their own grant proposal for a program that would change global health for the better.
“This kind of course really captures what the [Center for the Advancement of Girls] tries to advocate for and raise awareness about,” Hufford said.
The pilot offered at Agnes Irwin comes after the recently announced initiative to bring Penn professor Robert Ghrist’s calculus class into math classrooms across the country via the online learning platform Coursera.
However, unlike the calculus course, students will have in-person interactions with a Penn professor. Jemmott will go to the high school every week to help facilitate the program, though she will not teach it.
This is the first program of this type between an independent high school and the Nursing School.
The class this year is a pilot, limited to ten students. During this semester and afterwards, the class will be reviewed. If it’s successful, Hufford said they plan to expand enrollment in the next school year.
The size of this year’s class was kept small by choice, explained Hufford. This way, they can keep track of the girls’ experiences in taking this class and keep track of the course’s quality.
“We wanted to keep it small this year to have complete control over it,” she said.