Group Work – You Know You Love It!

Carrie Rheingans

Carrie Rheingans

In the real world, many public health activities are the result of the hard work of interdisciplinary teams. The educational process at U-M SPH is no different. Some classes, like introductory biostatistics and epidemiology, don’t use formal groups for assignments, but many people find it useful to do homework and study for exams in group settings.

Facilitation Group, December 2008

Facilitation Group, December 2008

Last semester, I took a special topics class on group facilitation in public health practice. Throughout the semester, different students practiced facilitating the whole class through some situation, mostly based on the experiences of members of the groups. Most groups did role-plays and assigned roles to the rest of the class so we knew how to participate. For one of my group’s presentations, we took a news story about some people not getting properly diagnosed with HIV in another country. Our group acted as if we were a group of international facilitators from the U-M School of Public Health going to the Ministry of Health of the country of interest. We decided to get dressed up in nice pants and collared shirts, but to still represent U-M… we had fun with it and the presentation ended up going really well!

For one of the introductory Health Behavior & Health Education classes (651), we work in groups to create a draft funding proposal. This really mirrors the real world, because there are often a variety of health experts, from epidemiologists to biostatisticians, on the team writing the grant proposal. For 651, my4-person group has spent many hours together editing our proposal, from grammar to content to the images used. Going in to the project, we did not anticipate that the work would take so much time – so for next year’s students: plan ahead and prepare to meet together A LOT! The silver lining is that our group gets along really well together and we often meet at each others’ houses – and our team has good cooks! FYI: food makes group work go by more quickly 🙂

What do you think of group work? I like it!