Classroom on wheels
Central Valley bus tour deepens connection
California’s Central Valley is home to 6.5 million people, provides more than half of the fruits, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States and features some of the state’s most productive vineyards. Yet, those living in this 400-mile stretch of land down the middle of the state face the worst air quality in the country, diabetes rates above the national average and rampant food insecurity. That doesn’t sit well with physician and School of Nursing Associate Clinical Professor Jann Murray-García.
“We think we have an idea of what this land rich in history and diversity is all about, but I sensed we, as current and future health providers, could have a better sense,” Murray-García says. “If we’re going to build a health care system that serves everyone as well as it can, we need to understand the social and public policy determinants of health for those we serve.”
Murray-García’s desire to deepen future health care professionals’ understanding grew into an interprofessional bus tour down Highway 99. Since 2017, five groups of students and faculty from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis and the UC Davis School of Medicine made the overnight trip, which includes stops at community centers and health organizations, as well as historical sites. Murray-García’s classroom on wheels, narrated in real time by Central Valley historian David Hosley, teaches social determinants of health, health inequities, population health and cultural humility.
“We know of no other opportunity at UC Davis or in the nation that establishes an interprofessional mobile classroom, where every traveler is a learner, including students, faculty, staff and community members,” Murray-García dds.
Participants experience these complex concepts through their own eyes, ears and hearts and walk off the bus profoundly changed by the experience.
“When my husband and I got off the bus, we went to get a burger. I remember thinking about the tomatoes — if they came from the Central Valley and who picked them,” recalls Trudee Murray, a master’s- degree leadership alumna and UC Davis Health nurse. “After this experience, I no longer just see what’s in front of me, but the whole picture of my patients.”
Murray-García hopes to make more connections and have more UC Davis alumni from across the university’s degree programs meet along the way on Highway 99 during future trips.
What people Say
Comments from post-event surveys