1. Martin, Ashley E. MPH
  2. Cunningham, Stacey C. MS
  3. Magnus, Jeanette H. MD, PhD


As a community health education center affiliated with an academic institution, we recognize that by investing in the professional development of our students, we not only maximize our own outcomes but those of our students as well. Our project, Creating Community Connections, was developed to aid the work of our Center in characterizing the evolving community landscape following Hurricane Katrina while providing opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning. Students in the project could gain skills in program planning and community assessment, as well as leadership and communications. Twenty-three students worked on the project during its 2 years, developing data collection tools, organizing and conducting key informant interviews, facilitating focus groups and community forums, managing data, and summarizing project findings for community presentations. Participation in this project allowed our students to grow as public health leaders and researchers while gaining a greater appreciation for community collaboration.