Wednesday, April 3, 2013
This Week's News
Week of events puts wellness, healthy living at the forefront
Citizens in Cincinnati who lack access to primary care are getting a helping hand today courtesy of medical students at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, who are helping local health and community organizations provide blood pressure and cholesterol checks, blood glucose tests and other screenings.
The screenings, coordinated by the University of Cincinnati medical students, are just one of the many events taking place across the nation this week as part of the AMA's fourth annual Week of Wellness. Coordinated by the AMA Medical Student Section (MSS) in conjunction with its National Service Project, the annual observance runs through Saturday and focuses on improving patient health and wellness.
All week AMA medical students at medical schools throughout the nation are implementing projects and holding events aimed at promoting four key health behaviors to improve health outcomes: healthy diet, increasing physical activity, reducing risky alcohol consumption and quitting smoking. These behaviors are the pillars of the AMA's Healthier Life Steps® program, a physician-patient partnership for healthy living.
Various events feature medical students helping local youths improve their health. In Iowa, students at the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine are finalizing the details for a health fair this Saturday that will explain to elementary schoolchildren and their parents the importance of healthy eating, physical activity and avoiding such risky lifestyle behaviors as smoking and alcohol use.
Also on Saturday, students at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore will prepare healthy lunches at a local community arts-based after-school program for at-risk youths. The medical students will teach kids how to make healthy food and dietary choices by balancing calories, limiting their sodium intake and eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
"The Week of Wellness underscores the commitment of our future physicians to encourage healthy lifestyles in their communities," AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said. "We commend our medical students for working to motivate and encourage their neighbors to take an active role in improving their own health and wellness."
Events stretch beyond just this week. For example, students at Morehouse School of Medicine recently planned a month's worth of activities aimed at promoting the importance of nutrition and physical activity. Events included weekly kickboxing classes, individual appointments with a registered dietitian and a luncheon with a nutritionist.
AMA-sponsored wellness events occur year-round. Christopher Jaeger (pictured, above), a second-year medical student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, was among those working with students at Kaewai Elementary School in Hawaii during an event before last year's Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates.
It's not too late for local AMA medical student sections to get involved in the Week of Wellness. Review an event-planning guide for ideas and learn about resources, including grants, available to help students organize and implement a successful event—not only this week but at any time during the year.
Medical students' efforts to improve the health of those in their own communities through the Week of Wellness supports the AMA's initiative to improve health outcomes, one of its three strategic focus areas.