Neil Boyd, Associate Professor of Management
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to observe and experience first-hand changing social policies and their impacts for individuals and communities. This article overviews an action research and teaching project developed at an undergraduate liberal arts university and focused on providing ACA enrollment assistance as a way to support student engagement with community health. The project was oriented around education, enrollment and evaluation activities in the community, and students and faculty together reflected on and analyzed the experiences that came from the research and outreach project. Student learning centered around applying concepts of diversity and political agency to health policy and community health systems. Students reported and faculty observed an unexpected empowerment for students who were able to use their university-learned critical thinking skills to explain complex systems to a wide range of audiences. In addition, because the project was centered at a university with no health professions programs, the project provided students interested in community and public health with the opportunity to reflect on how health and access to health care is conditioned by social context. The structure and pedagogical approaches and implications of the action research and teaching project is presented here as a case study for how to engage undergraduates in questions of community and public health through the lens of health policy and community engagement.
Green, Brandn; Jones, Kristal; Boyd, Neil; Milofsky, Carl; and Martin, Eric C. “Students Implement the Affordable Care Act: A Model for Undergraduate Teaching and Research in Community Health and Sociology.” Journal of Community Health 40, no. 3 (2015) : 605-611.