Responding to local health challenges

In line with our civic responsibilities, we are committed to improving the health of our community.

Our students, staff, and alumni work to address priority public health challenges in Greater Manchester through their research, engagement activities, teaching and alignment to the city’s strategy.

Service learning

Service learning is a combination of community involvement, academic study and practical experience. It combines two of our core goals  teaching excellence and social responsibility. Service learning aims to connect a university to its local area, strengthening the bond between members of the university and local people. Students go out into the community to groups, organisations and schools to learn as part of their degree while providing necessary services to local people.

Unlike volunteering, service learning is credit-based and built into the curriculum, with students completing activities during their academic study time. It’s a mutually beneficial approach, increasing students’ employability and social awareness and delivering essential healthcare and services to local communities.

Here are just some examples of the work our students are doing as part of service learning.

Humanising dentistry

One example of service learning is the concept of ‘humanising dentistry’. This is where service learning is built into the dental curriculum and united with combating dental health inequalities in Manchester.

Dental health inequality is a major issue in the north-west. Through service learning, dental students are providing essential treatment to those in greatest need as part of their training. The aim is to improve the dental health of some of the most vulnerable members of our communities and create graduates committed to socially responsible practice. This programme was recognised by the MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship and our Making a Difference Awards in 2018.

Health education for young people

Another example of our work in service learning is through the School of Pharmacy, whose students visit local high schools to promote common public health topics. This initiative is an innovative teaching approach to deliver service learning as a practical core curriculum activity, enabled by peer-education between University students and high-school pupils.

Pharmacy undergraduates deliver assessed core curriculum public engagement workshops on public health topics such as antibiotic resistance, alcohol, diabetes, mental health and sexual health awareness. The project has produced outstanding outcomes for both pupils and students, with approximately 3,000 pupils across 14 Manchester schools since 2017 having received these workshops, delivered by 416 undergraduate students.