Lessons learned from Boston University School of Public Health Peer Coach Writing Program
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Citation (published version)Montiero R, Beard J, Price M, Murphy-Phillips. Lessons Learned from Boston University School of Public Health Peer Coach Writing Program. Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health Annual Meeting. Poster. March 20, 2018.
BACKGROUND: Public health is only as effective as its communication. The ability to convey information in an engaging, insightful, and concise manner often heavily influences stakeholder engagement. It is the backbone of program and policy development, organization, and implementation. To help MPH students adapt their writing skills to these specialized demands, Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) launched a Peer Coach Writing Program (PCWP) in 2010. To our knowledge, ours is the first and currently the only peer writing program to be developed within a school of public health staffed by public health students. We will present information about the history, theoretical foundation, goals, management, logistics, challenges and adaptations of the program. PROGRAM LOGISTICS: The PCWP is open to all SPH students and they can schedule up to two appointments per assignment, whether it be an individual or team writing assignment. Appointments are scheduled through WCONLINE, a scheduling software that collects program data including appointment request forms; client report forms submitted by the peer coaches after each session; and trends in appointments. STUDENT USE & OUTCOMES: Student use of the program has increased from 117 appointments in 2012 to 712 during the 2017-2018 academic year. Sixty percent of students who utilize the resource request an appointment for assistance with organization & synthesizing, and 68% request help with making their prose more clear and concise. Three-quarters of students who have worked with a peer coach reported feeling more confident about their assignment. CHALLENGES & ADAPTATIONS: Creating an open communication channel between instructors and the program manager has been a key priority. Sharing and making available course schedules, and assignment instructions, and feedback has been critical in the organization and scheduling of the program. In response to the high demand for appointments, virtual appointments were made available in Fall of 2018.
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