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The Office of Public Health Practice & Training

Service-Learning–A Real-World Lesson 

LevinTen years ago, the School of Public Health hired Mindi Levin, MS, CHES, to oversee its student volunteer programs. The idea was to take volunteer experience up a notch by integrating volunteering with academics. The early projects went so well that soon students from the schools of Nursing and Medicine were knocking at Levin’s door. Levin realized Hopkins needed an office to support the three schools and organizations. Thus was founded SOURCE, the Student Outreach Resource Center that today partners with close to 100 non-profits.

In this month’s Public Health: On the Inside podcast with Tom Burke, Associate Dean for Public Health and Training, Levin discusses the merits of service learning, the courses that support SOURCE across schools, including one on Baltimore’s food programs, and the relationship between Hopkins and the community.



Levin, who holds faculty appointments in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management and the School of Nursing’s Department of Community Public Health Nursing, along with SOURCE associate director Elizabeth Doerr, oversee approximately 20 courses taught across the three schools that prepare students for the program. “Service-learning goes beyond volunteerism in that it’s a very structured program that includes preparation and reflection,” Levin recounts. She also notes that SOURCE sometimes changes the course of students’ careers.

SOURCE helps students understand the city of Baltimore, by getting to know its neighborhoods and communities. “When you go into one of our local non-profits,” Levin tells Burke, “oftentimes they don’t extend their hands, but they greet you with a hug. It’s very warm and welcoming.”

Learn more about SOURCE.

Each month, Public Health: On the Inside takes listeners to the frontlines of public health to meet interesting people working in the field. Check back next month for new episodes or visit our archive.

Media contact for Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or