Calvin in the neighborhood

Burton Heights neighborhood is strong in community resources, like schools, clinics and pantries. It has a large Spanish-speaking population, so you will have to chance to work on your language skills.

Students learn about the struggles of communication and various social determinants of health, like transportation, safe neighborhoods, employment, education and legal status.

Survey results

Calvin Nursing students conducted community-based participatory research in 2002 with focus groups, community leaders and in door-to-door surveys. It identified neighborhood strengths, areas of growth and solutions to resident's health concerns and how they thought Calvin Nursing students could partner with them to promote health in their areas of concern. The research was done again in 2009 and 2016.

Research demonstrated:

  • 27% of participants stated that they have had to choose between paying for items like food/rent or buying medical care
  • 32% agree that lack of health insurance prevents them from receiving the health care that they need
  • 65% are Spanish-speaking 
  • 37% visited the ER in the last year (2008)
  • The top five neighborhood health issues addressed were lack of access to health care, mental health asthma, diabetes and  hypertension
  • Family, education and faith are important in day-to-day life


You'll have opportunities to work in a variety of community settings. Work in clinics, food pantries, schools (with home care and public health nurses) and client homes.

One hallmark of the program involves working with trained Community Health Workers. You will have the chance to team up with Community Health Workers and other students to bring health education and information about health services to people rather than waiting on people to approach health care providers. They bring education and information to parent groups in schools and churches, to public spaces like laundromats, food pantries, exercise classes and they go door to door. You'll see how to provide care in culturally sensitive and linguistically compatible ways.

The variety of experiences combined with the diversity of individuals and the complex community needs will provide you with valuable learning, challenge your Christian ethics and serve one of Christ's vulnerable populations.