Influencing Student Beliefs about Poverty and Health through Interprofessional Community-Based Educational Experiences

Peggy Proctor, Deborah Lake, Lisa Jewell, Louise Racine, Marcel D'Eon, Bruce Reeder


Background: Pre-licensure students from medicine, physical therapy, kinesiology, nursing, and social work participated in a population health project at the University of Saskatchewan. We assessed the effect of this interactive, interprofessional, community-based educational experience on students’ attitudes and beliefs about poverty and health.

Methods and Findings: Participants (N = 119) completed two measures at the beginning and end of the five-week project: the 37-item Attitudes toward Poverty Scale (APS) and the 8-item Beliefs about the Relationship between Poverty and Health (BRPH). APS scores showed a modest significant increase toward more positive attitudes over time (F(1, 110) = 7.97, p < .01). On the BRPH, participants agreed significantly less at Week 5 with two behavioral explanations (F(1, 114) = 5.07, p < .05; F(1, 114) = 11.00, p < .01) and one structural explanation (F(1, 112) = 11.09, p < .01) about relationships between poverty and health. There was some evidence that face-to-face interactions with community members had more impact than a simulation exercise. Students gave positive evaluations of the interprofessional format of the project. Attrition effects may limit the interpretation of these results.

Conclusions: Results demonstrate that brief interprofessional community-based learning experiences can positively influence students’ attitudes and beliefs about the relationship between poverty and health.


ofessional education; Population health; Poverty

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