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Promoting healthy and active communities: Medical students and the built environment

Jan K Carney, MD MPH1, Lynn Zanardi Blevins, MD MPH2, and Kelly Huynh1. (1) General Internal Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine, 371 Pearl St., Burlington, VT 05401, 802 847-8268, jan.carney@med.uvm.edu, (2) Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Vermont Department of Health, 108 Cherry Street, PO Box 70, Burlington, VT 05402

There is increased interest in the role of the built environment and health, including promoting healthy and active communities. Medical students would benefit from an increased understanding of the relationship of the environment in health. We describe an innovative project to educate medical students about the environment and health, engage community planners, and share and promote best practices to promote healthy and active communities. Public health projects will be a requirement in the new Vermont Integrated Curriculum at the University of Vermont College of Medicine in fall 2004. Projects will be undertaken in local Vermont communities, address public health issues (using Healthy People 2010), utilize scientific methods, and demonstrate a health benefit. In this project, students will review available literature and information from the CDC and NIEHS and develop a master questionnaire/checklist of community factors that promote physical activity. Students will implement the tool by making observations in interested towns in Vermont's largest county and through interviews with town staff and/or local government officials. The extent to which promoting healthy and active communities is considered in future development will be assessed. Students will work in close cooperation with town officals to identify best practices, emphasize positive examples, and identify potential barriers. Best practices will be shared with other local communities. The goals of this project are to educate medical students about the environment and health, develop a tool to gather information, promote and share positive practices, and facilitate public health and community planning collaborative work to promote active communities.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session wil be able to

Keywords: Environment, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Handout (.ppt format, 1031.0 kb)

Built Environment Institute VI: Discussions on Direct and Indirect Influences of a School’s Built Environment on Health and Physical Activity

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA