Deeper Learning through Service: Evaluation of an Interprofessional Community Service-Learning Program for Pharmacy and Medicine Students

Megan Clark, Meredith McKague, Vivian R. Ramsden, Shari McKay





 This Community Service-Learning Project (CSLP) at the University of Saskatchewan is designed to help students develop patient-centred care practices in urban underserved settings.  First-year medical and pharmacy students partner interprofessionally to both learn and serve, working with community-based organizations (CBOs) that primarily serve either low-income or newcomer residents of Saskatoon.

Since the CSLP’s pilot year in 2005-2006, 98 first-year medical and pharmacy students have participated in the CSLP.    


Methods and Findings

 We evaluated the outcomes and processes of the CSLP since the 2006-2007 year, using mixed methods:

  • end-of-project questionnaires;
  • document analysis looking for key and recurrent themes;
  • end-of-project semi-structured interviews with CBO coordinators and clients.

We examined students’ experiences, including satisfaction, achievement of learning objectives, learning processes, and perceived outcomes.

Students’ main learning outcomes related to client-centered approach, interprofessional attitudes and skills, and personal development. Various learnings related to program processes are reported.



 Our evaluation reinforced findings from the literature on both interprofessional education and community service-learning, as well uncovering some new findings.   Students described a transformative learning experience that helped them begin to develop understanding and skills to work more effectively with clients in urban underserved settings.


Service-learning, interprofessional education, mixed methods, underserved populations, program evaluation

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