Taipei Medical University students engaging in service learning in a mountain indigenous township

Source: College of Nutrition

Published on 2021-02-02

The College of Nutrition, the Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine and the School of Pharmacy work together to lead students in service learning in Jianshi Township (尖石鄉), a mountain indigenous township in Hsinchu County in northern Taiwan, despite epidemic and storm.


In this service-learning trip, the trio led students to the Atayal Tribe in Jianshi Township in May and June of 2020. Students assisted local farmers with pesticide-rapid-screening in crops and helped the locals understand the nutritional value of crops, and their physically nutritional and health status. In the professional service courses on nutrition and aging, students were guided to help the locals with their nutritional knowledge and skills, empowering them to tackle real-life issues with their practical trainings and expertise.

Students conducting two kinds of pesticide screening


Dean Jane C-J Chao (趙振瑞) (middle front row) with the student team at an itinerary briefing

The number of students going up to the mountain indigenous township had to be limited and batched due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The students were challenged by the bumpy ride on the mountain roads; on their second trip, they were hit with thick fog and heavy rain. Nevertheless, the students were undefeated, and, in fact, enjoyed the experience of being immersed in nature.

The kindness and enthusiasm of the indigenous people also warmed the tired hearts. The students not only involved in the natural cycle of farming and poultry raising but learned to incorporate local ingredients into a balanced diet that successfully integrated the indigenous food culture with health and nutrition. These learning trips incorporated education and practice while allowing the students to properly convey nutritional sense to the elderly and children in Jianshi. Their learning journey was seasoned with the hue of nature and humanities.

Dean Jane C-J Chao (front row, 2nd from the left) and Associate Professor Lin Yih-Ren (front row, 1st on the left) leading TMU students to farm in Jianshi to harvest crops and conduct pesticide screening

 Did you know?

Dean Jane C-J Chao of the College of Nutrition, Associate Professor Yih-Ren Lin (林益仁) of the Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine, and Honorary Professor Ling-Ling Yang of the School of Pharmacy collaborated on the University Social Responsibility Project—“TEN, on Food: From mountains to plains (Territory), from source to table (Enterprise), and from school children to the elderly (Net).” Combining expertise in nutrition, medical humanities and medicated diet, the project aims to promote a culture of healthy and nutritious diet in local communities by connecting food source and culture integration, developing healthy living and nutritionally balanced instant meal packs, advocating food safety training & education, and strengthening the development of nutrition medicine through industry-academia exchanges.

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