Advocacy Project: Day 6 - Final Touches

Today was a really productive day. The students at Canyon Springs presented their topics as practice for the “Advocacy in Action” day. I am continually humbled by the amount of work they've accomplished in such a short time period. The students were fairly confident in their presentations and had good background knowledge of their subject. Some of the groups were presenting better than most college-level presentations I've seen! They made good eye-contact, engaged the audience, spoke clearly and most importantly conveyed their passion about these health issues. We were able to provide supportive feedback and small changes of improvement. 

And the best news of all: The Moreno Valley City Council's Emerging Leaders Council has granted our request for time to present at their next meeting in two weeks! How cool is that?! The students were so excited, and pretty nervous, when I told them the good news. 


Advocacy Project: Day 5 - Almost there!

Can you feel it? No it's not a Phil Collins song... it's advocacy work in action! 

Some of the groups are already done with their projects. Wow! I am so impressed. And they are very high quality, as well. And the students who were struggling with finding research last time are all up-to-speed now. 

 Now we start to focus on ways of engaging the community and raising awareness for the students' work.  Two students approached me about setting up space in their campus main area to present all the advocacy work at lunch time. I think that is a great idea! 

And two others students from Canyon Springs expressed their interest in presenting their work and policy changes to the school board or city council. I am THRILLED that they are already pushing to voice their projects at the community level; I will do whatever it takes to make that happen for them! I think it would be a strong learning experience for both of us.



Advocacy Project: Day 4.5 - A Quick Check-In

My residency program affords us one half-day of dedicated research time per block. I used that time this week to stop by the third high school (Vista Del Lago) where I had not met any of the students yet. My schedule so far has only had me at Canyon Springs and Valley View on our high school days, and so I feel that I've been missing out on connecting with these students and their advocacy work. 

I was really impressed with the range of topics this particular class chose: from prescription drug abuse to mental health awareness to driving safety. They were having a few technical difficulties with navigating their projects, as it seems most all of the groups are doing some sort of PSA/video. Their teacher is doing a wonderful job of giving them enough support and class time to get their projects perfected. 

The students were excited to learn that I was a part of HOSA (formerly "Health Occupations Students of America," now just HOSA-Future Health Professionals) when I was in high school, and even competed (and failed) at the regional events! 

I hope I can continue to follow with these students, even if only via e-mail, to help grow their project ideas further. I'm really pumped to to see what they have to share with the community.


Advocacy Project: Day 4 - End of Semester

Christmas is around the corner and everyone is almost winter break mode!

We sat down with the students to assess the progress of the research on their projects. Their creativity continues to astound me, between the videos and posters and PowerPoints. However, there are over a handful of students that are also lagging behind. Some of them have very little supportive evidence for their health issues, and others are using unreliable source information.

As I reflect further, I realize I could have done a stronger part in guiding and preparing them for the depth of research required for these advocacy projects. I think we can emphasize the importance of this earlier in the curriculum next year.

I have no doubt that all of them will catch up to the work. To be fair, they also have final exams next week, so they are all a little stressed. Luckily, two of the teachers made the research for the advocacy projects as part of their final exams – one benefit of stakeholder buy-in!


Advocacy Project: Day 3 - By The Numbers

After today's session with the students, a co-resident and I were discussing the highs and lows and I had a quirky realization about our health advocacy project: it is as if we are building the plane and learning to fly at the same time! I suppose it's fitting that my last post dealt with air travel.

The students were introduced to Healthy People 2020's Leading Health Indicators today. The majority of students used that as inspiration for their advocacy projects. But right now, they need to continue gathering as much focused information as possible in order to put together a meaningful presentation.

It is really exciting to see how passionate the students are about their projects! On the flip side of it, though, as a self-proclaimed public health statistics nerd, I am dismayed at how unexcited they seem about researching pertinent statistics for their projects. What's cooler than a good old paired T-test?!