177210 Public Health Club: A pilot project to engage high school students in public heath

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marija Borjan, MPH , Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Public health, Piscataway, NJ
Chizoba Nwankwo, MPH , Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Public health, Piscataway, NJ
In 2005, the faculty and staff of the UMDNJ-School of Public Health (UMDNJ-SPH) implemented a project called "Impacting Lives Everyday: Careers in Public Health", which was designed to introduce high school students and educators to the field of public health. Feedback from this project indicated that most high school students did not know what public health was and had not considered it as a possible field of study. This highlighted the need to create a more interactive initiative that would increase the awareness and interest of high school students in the field of public health. The Public Health Club (PHC) was formed to serve such a function.

The PHC was launched in the fall of 2006 as a pilot after school program for interested high school students at a local high school in New Jersey. It was developed and staffed by graduate students of the UMDNJ-SPH student service organization.

The PHC has three main objectives, which include the introduction of high school age students to the general concepts of public health through educational presentations, videos and hands-on activities; the integration and application of these public health concepts via a community themed group project; and the introduction of the students to the broader arena of public health at the UMDNJ Annual Public Health Symposium where the students will present their group project and also meet other public health students and professionals.

This presentation will highlight the organization, implementation, successes and future plans for this pilot program.

Learning Objectives:
Learn about the creation, administration and implementation of the Public Health Club, curriculum and group project. Learn about the impact of the club on the high school students through a review of their project and feedback questionnaires. Discuss the merits of using such an approach to reach and educate high school students and highlight possible alternatives.

Keywords: Public Health Education, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a public health doctoral student who already has an MPH.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.