Any health professional needs to be comfortable working with all different types of people.  So it is important that applicants for professional health programs (Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Dentistry etc) demonstrate that they have had experiences working with people who are not like themselves.  This includes the common notion of diversity addressing race and culture but should also include concepts of age, ability/disability and socio-economic status.  Applicants will be viewed more favorably if they have had significant experience working with:

  • children of any age
  • elderly individuals
  • individuals with physical impairments
  • individuals with cognitive impairment, including mental health disorders
  • individuals with low socioeconomic status

Many different activities are appropriate - they can be volunteer activities or paid employment.  They can be done through campus entities or they can be done through community groups.  Examples include: 

  • coaching or instructing young children
  • volunteering at a nursing home or an assisted living facility
  • working at a camp for disabled adults
  • serving food to homeless people

There are many, many more possibilities – the only requirement is that you engage with the participants and that you learn something from the experience.  Fundraising for a charitable group says a lot about your selflessness but you need to interact with the special populations listed above to truly understand them and be comfortable working with them.

Community Engagement

The Minnesota Department of Health does a wonderful job outlining the benefits of community engagement. "As we face the challenge of building more robust and healthier communities for all [...], success will depend upon the effort invested in bringing people together, building and nurturing long-term relationships." Their article outlines the following ways in which community engagement creates potential to achieve these outcomes:

  • Focuses on social justice
  • Helps shape services
  • Helps build trust
  • Helps with outreach
  • Connects people and resources
  • Develops new leaders
  • Creates an opportunity for critical reflection

These benefits, and skills to achieve these benefits, are not fully realized by staying within the silo of healthcare or research. There are a plethora of ways to be engaged in your community, and you should stay attune to your personal interests to make choices of how to become engaged. This page outlines some examples of ways to be engaged in your community at JMU and beyond.

On-Campus Opportunities

There are so many ways to become engaged in the community at James Madison University. It's impossible to list all of the opportunities, but hopefully this gives you ideas and a scope of the breadth of opportunities at JMU! Many campus leader opportunities listed below want a year commitment, and recruitment occurs in February/March for the following academic year.

Center for Multicultural Student Services
Community Engagement and Volunteer Center (CEVC)
Learning Centers Tutor Opportunities
Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices
Student Activities & Involvement
University Recreation
  • Adventure Trip Leaders
  • Fitness and Group Exercise Instructors
  • Personal Trainers
  • Wellness Instructor
  • View descriptions of these opportunities and more on UREC student positions webpage
Other Peer Advisor/Leadership Roles

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