Medical students who volunteer at HPES health screenings (pictured) developed a program in response to the need for medical information for adolescents. The Young Physician Education Program is scheduled to reach more than 2000 youth through presentations at the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, Boys and Girls Club of America, Washington University Bernie Harris Math/Science Camp, College Bound and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Jamboree, where 800 scouts will be reached at one time. Additional venues in North St. Louis have been identified and presentations will be provided, if funding permits.
The goals of the Young Physician Education Program are:
- To increase knowledge of prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes by reaching more than 2,000 St. Louis area youth through interactive presentations
- To build community health education skills in medical students by offering opportunities for interaction with youth in an educational setting.
- To distribute copies of the HPES teen health handbook
- To make students and their families aware of free health screenings provided by HPES
The Young Physician Education Program is offered at community based sites parents are encouraged to attend. Activities include:
- Pre-testing to establish baseline level of participant knowledge.
- Participation in hands-on activities involving presentations by four medical students who each introduce an important subject related to health through hands-on participation.
- Post-testing and program evaluation to assess increase in knowledge level and receive feedback to strengthen future programs.
Specific health content includes:
Cardiovascular disease – Instruction on the importance of having a healthy blood pressure through diet and exercise. Teens learn how blood pressure is measured and the importance of each reading is discussed. To make the topic fun, each teen is given an opportunity to take the blood pressure of another teen participant using a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff.
- Vision testing – Teens are given an actual visual examination, taught to understand how vision works; and, if necessary, are given a recommendation to get further testing.
- Nervous system - The main activity is testing the function of the cranial nerves with simple tests such as following a moving finger with their eyes, moving their tongue, and touch sensation in their face. It is fun to experience deep tendon reflexes (e.g. the knee jerk) and teens are given a reflex hammer to demonstrate reflexes for themselves.
- Pulse – The main activity is the articulation of the pulse in any place that allows an artery to be compressed against a bone, such as at the neck, at the wrist, behind the knee, on the inside of the elbow, and near the ankle joint. The pulse rate can also be determined by having the teens measure the heart beat directly (auscultation), using a stethoscope.
Evaluation results from previous presentations show significant changes in skill level and knowledge as a result of the program.