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Community Health & Development
Helping Communities Thrive
Certificate Program Director: Marc Pilisuk, Ph.D.
Communities from inner cities to rural farms are in crisis, often fragmented along ethnic and political lines or buffeted by global economic forces. Learn how to intervene effectively through public health, community based organizations, and education.
This certificate is intended for students seeking work - or already employed - in public health, community-based organizations, or educational institutions, who seek additional skills for deploying and funding community-based tools.
This specialization is also particularly germane for mental health practitioners who would like to connect "inner" mental health concerns to broader social concerns such as violence, political marginalization, and the transformation of organizations.
The certificate in Community Health & Development consists of four three-credit courses, a three-credit practicum, and a one-credit integrative paper under the supervision of the certificate director. Required Courses: STR 6505, STR 7100 or 7110, and two approved electives.
Practicum: A practicum equivalent to one month of full-time effort is required. While each learner is responsible for creating his or her own practicum, the certificate director is available to provide ideas and guidance and will approve your plan.
Integrative Paper or Project: The last activity in the certificate program is writing a final paper that integrates what you've learned from the four courses and the practicum. This culminating assignment also gives you an opportunity to assess your strengths, identify further learning needs, and develop a specific plan for continuing your personal and professional development in the area of community development.
Upon completion of this certificate, you will:
- Be familiar with your community and any community-based health and development initiatives currently under way.
- Be familiar with various approaches to community intervention.
- Be able to design a community intervention that addresses a particular concern to your and your his or her community.
- Be able to provide a critical analysis of community based concerns.
- Be aware of your role in your community.
- Be aware of future professional directions.
You may complete a certificate in Community Health & Development with a team of co-learners who work together on various aspects of the certificate or in an independent study format.
Team Format: Learners in the team format complete the two core courses together in a virtual classroom. For each core course, this entails reading the assigned texts, spending an hour per week online adding to the team conversation, and writing and posting a minimum of one paper for other team members to comment on.
Independent Study Format: In the independent study format, the director of the certificate will work with students to plan their courses and to help guide them in developing a professional practicum. For their courses, students will work one-on-one with instructors on a reading list and will write three essays for each course.
Learners then come together at a Saybrook Residential Conference to work in seminars applicable to their course of study. As part of this Residential Conference, you'll meet in smaller groups with faculty and students who share similar interests. Together this smaller group of students begins the second series of content-specific courses.
Tailored to your professional needs and interests, the practicum provides you with an opportunity to apply the concepts you've learned in courses to problems in the real world. A practicum, which can include volunteer opportunities with community-based organizations that focus on community health and development, must be approved by the director.
The Practical Value of Studying Community Health & Development
As we experience our communities at home, we often see communities fragmented along race, class, political, age, or gender lines, or families alienated from one another or from the larger socio-economic and socio-political structure of the United States. As we look out onto the world of developing and less-developed countries, we see communities violently torn apart by endemic poverty and environmental degradation. Indeed, we can see such communities in our very own backyard.
In a world struggling to build functional communities, there is ample need for the type of teaching and learning that occurs in this certificate. You will learn to identify the spiritual, economic, political, and psychological frameworks that evoke the strengths of individuals, groups, and communities.
The certificate provides you with the skills needed to build consensus about the goals and processes of building healthy communities. Finally, the certificate will help you find your optimum place as a community activist, scholar, or practitioner.
For more information, please fill out the request form on the right.
To enroll in this certificate as a non-degree student, go to Apply Online and select the desired certificate option. This certificate is available to current Saybrook degree students in certain programs as part of, or in addition to, degree classes. Please contact Admissions or your faculty advisor/mentor about enrolling.