June 26, 2017

Community Projects

The following community projects are sponsored by the Learning Together Program. Read about each of the projects and programs, and see which ones spark your interest!


"Medi-Sweep" is a community-based outreach project that allows learners to interact with many different members of the Durham community, including elementary-aged students and their parents. Before participating in this project, learners are trained to complete a two-page Medicaid form that will allow an uninsured individual to obtain health insurance if they qualify. The project takes place at elementary schools during school-related functions that cater to parents, per the school's request. Providing information at a school-related event allows the parents to inquire about and obtain services at a time that fits their schedule. During this outreach, learners may also help enroll the parents' children in a school-based clinic. Learners who speak Spanish will also be needed for this outreach effort. Look for future Medi-Sweep projects at the beginning of the Durham Public School year and contact the Learning Together Program if you are interested.

Senior Sweep for Nutrition

"Senior Sweep" is a community-based outreach project that allows learners to have intergenerational experiences with populations of low socio-economic status. The learners are trained to go into a senior housing facility in the Durham area on a Friday afternoon and/or Saturday morning to help seniors complete Food Stamp applications. The assistance with this 16-page application helps the seniors get access to the resources they need even when barriers such as literacy and transportation might have impeded the process before. The coordinator of this outreach project works closely with the Durham County Department of Social Services and the Durham Housing Authority to know when and where these efforts would be most beneficial. Contact the Learning Together Program if you are interested.

Health Literacy Education

Knowing how to talk to your medical provider and the right questions to ask is often hard when a person with limited literacy (both English speakers and those for whom English is a second language) goes to visit their medical provider. A few years ago, a group of Accelerated Bachelor of Science Nursing students assisted with our health literacy curriculum development. Learners created patient friendly handouts and brochures and were trained to educate community members on how to talk to their medical provider, and what questions to ask. This is important, especially given the growing Latino population in the Durham community. Upon community member request, learners who speak Spanish are usually needed for this educational effort. Workshops take place at various community sites. Contact the Learning Together Program if you are interested.

Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership Afterschool Partners

At the heart of our Durham neighborhoods are community centers that serve as resource hubs and gathering places for local children, adolescents, and adults. Beginning in 2002, Duke has provided student tutors to serve in the Crest St., West End and Walltown community centers. With a sustainable academic tutoring program in place, the community center staff have been able to identify other program needs and want to better serve their children. Current service opportunities are in the areas of: academic tutoring, mentoring, health education and recreational activities. The scheduling of activities at the afterschool sites is flexible. Contact the Learning Together Program if you are interested.

Caregiver Education

Caregivers throughout Durham are thirsty for information that will help them take better care of their loved ones. Learners are trained to teach caregivers using web-based modules in workshop settings. This allows the caregiver to learn about providing care and teaches them how technology can help them access resources. Workshops take place at various community sites when requested (senior centers, community centers). The start-up of this project depends upon community need and learner interest. Contact the Learning Together Program if you are interested.

Learners Teaching Learners

Learners Teaching Learners is a campus-community partnership that links learners from health professional and other academic programs with area public elementary schools. Linking with local elementary schools to deliver health education enables learners to provide their communities with a valuable service while simultaneously teaching them key skills in population needs assessment, intervention, and evaluation. Currently, pediatric residents are developing health education lessons and preparing to teach sessions to students at Glenn Elementary and at Watts Schools. Connecting elementary students with learners gives them an introduction to health careers and provides motivation for pursuing these careers. Learners provide health education to their students in a variety of areas from general hygiene to nutrition. If you and your cohort (or a small group of students from within your same discipline) are interested in adopting a school, you need a qualified faculty member who will be your "Learner Leader." Please contact the Learning Together Program for information on the next steps.

Youth Science Enrichment Program (YSEP) Success!

Some students have an interest in developing their own community projects. However, there is a required Community Health Approval process. An example of a successful student endeavor was the Youth Science Enrichment Program (YSEP). This six-week program was created by the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) from Duke University Medical School in October 2004. This program was designed to motivate young students from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in the health careers to think seriously about science. The YSEP did this by providing a teaching model of science that was fun, engaging, and interesting. The YSEP was also designed to help improve student performance in science courses and introduce students to positive role models in the science field. The first two educational programs took place at the Lyon Park Community Family Life and Recreation Center. In 2010, the SNMA students launched this program at Healthy Start Academy Charter School. Currently, SNMA students are making plans to host this program at The Durham Nativity School in 2011. All SNMA members involved attended the Community Training Workshop, completed two on-line training modules and received guidance and support from the Learning Together office. What a successful program!

HEY Durham

Interactive health and sexuality education has been shown in prior studies to enhance knowledge and safe behaviors in adolescents. HEY-Durham is a twelve-week health/sexuality education program intended for 9th grade students who participate in the traditional health and physical education curriculum. Twelve classes are taught and staffed by medical students during the regular fifty-minute class periods in participating classrooms. Individual teams of medical students meet prior to each classroom session to review health education material and to finalize lesson plans. However, teams are given the flexibility to select topics within the HEY Durham curriculum. This freedom within the curriculum allows each team to tailor lessons to fit the needs of the students being taught. For more information contact Dr. David Mellinger (MD) at david.mellinger@duke.edu.

For more information on the Learning Together Program,
call us at (919) 681-8365.

Learning Together
Division of Community Health
DUMC 2914
Durham, NC 27710

View all the community project dates through our online calendar.

Sign up for the community project that you are interested in using our S.E.L.E.C.T. Tool.