Medical, nursing and pharmacy students team up to share healthy living tips with youth

July 17, 2014 College News - The Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation brought together a coalition of medical, nursing and pharmacy students July 16 to lead healthy living activities at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee site on West North Avenue in Milwaukee. One hundred twenty-five youth aged 7-13 participated in the “Prescription for a Healthy You” program.

Students from the Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing and Concordia University Wisconsin School of Pharmacy planned and led activities, which were aimed at educating and empowering kids to make healthy choices.

MCW students who participated include Adrian Anthony, Lisa Godhardt, Jay Luthar, Matthew Perkovich, Aric Runzheimer, Mac Weninger, and Kennedy Wirtz.

Michael Gutzeit, MD, chief medical officer of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, welcomed participants and kicked off the afternoon’s activities by getting the kids up and moving. They then rotated through four different hands-on sessions focused on physical activity, healthy eating habits, heart health and the destructive effects of drugs and alcohol. The afternoon culminated with a career exploration panel allowing them to ask questions of the medical, nursing and pharmacy students with the goal of encouraging them to consider careers in medicine or related health careers.

“The goals of the Prescription for a Healthy You program are three-fold,” said Eileen Wilson, the Foundation’s executive director. “First, it provides practical tips for children and their families on making healthy living choices. Second, it encourages cooperation between future doctors, nurses and pharmacists and offers them a meaningful volunteer opportunity. Third, and perhaps most important, it exposes the children to young people pursuing health care careers who can serve as role models and encourage the children to think that they, too, could go to school to become a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.”

According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, there is evidence to suggest that “greater workforce diversity may lead to improved public health, primarily through better interactions between patients and health care professionals.” Working with the Boys & Girls Club program allows the Foundation to reach children from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and expose them to some of the career possibilities in health care.

Each participant received a string backpack filled with a water bottle, granola bar and healthy living tips to share with his or her family.

The program was made possible by donations from physicians across the state and others who support the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation, including support from Humana.

Photos from the program will be posted on the Foundation's Facebook page.

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