Student Poster

Community-Engaged Interprofessional Education - Recreational Therapy: Pivotal to learning in community health environments?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 9:45 am - 11:15 am
Northstar Ballroom
Theme: Optimizing the Interprofessional Clinical Learning Environment


Health education programs need to establish interprofessional education (IPE) that optimizes university and community resources. An asset to Arizona State University is its proximity to a large metropolitan health network, lending itself to diverse community partnerships. These relationships enable community-engaged opportunities where students can learn from, with and about each other as they aim to improve health outcomes. The challenge is to assemble students from different disciplines together to practice interprofessional competencies regularly while meeting organizational and client needs.

To explore factors influencing community-engaged IPE and examine a solution, a therapeutic recreation and community health course was designed to teach students how to facilitate therapeutic activity-based interventions with vulnerable populations. The first phases of the study investigated 1) understandings of professional roles and responsibilities, 2) attitudes toward leisure, 3) attitudes toward IPE, and 4) community-engaged learning experiences.


A mixed methods action research design was used to first explore the problem by conducting interviews and secondly build on the findings to inform a survey. The structured interviews gathered information from six students and two faculty. The subsequent preliminary and post survey evaluated attitudes toward leisure and IPE among students who were involved with community-engaged learning.

Results. Three themes emerged from the qualitative analysis; students had 1) limited knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of other professions, 2) positive attitudes toward leisure and IPE, and 3) an enthusiastic outlook toward IPE in community health. The mean scores of the six respondents who completed the preliminary and post survey indicated minimal changes in the student’s attitudes toward leisure and mixed changes in attitude toward IPE.


The initial cycles of this study revealed a need for course enhancements, and alternative strategies for student engagement. Further analysis is needed to gain an understanding of 1) how community-engaged learning impacts attitudinal changes, 2) how the delivery of activity-based interventions impact IPE competencies, and 3) what supports are needed in community-engaged learning environments.


Community-engaged learning with activity-based interventions is a powerful approach to IPE as it challenges student’s perceptions, problem-solving skills, and leadership role negotiation in unpredictable, and psychologically safe learning environments.