Public Health Community Advisory – The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health (UNMC-COPH) Student Association conducted activities on each day of National Public Health Week (NPHW), April 1-5, 2013, to celebrate the achievements and raise awareness of the field.
The college kicked off the week’s events with a This is Public Health Scavenger Hunt. Teams of three to four people that included students, faculty, and staff ventured across campus taking pictures of items that represented public health. Extra points were given for photos that demonstrated the NPHW daily themes, as well as for getting people from outside the team to participate (after educating them about public health!). The portfolios of photos were then posted to the Student Association blog and members of the campus were invited to vote for the collection that best represented public health in a creative and fun way.
On Tuesday, the Student Association offered healthy breakfast items to the rest of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, raising awareness about public health and recruiting participants for the activities during the rest of the week, which included educational, community, and social events.
Two educational grand rounds sessions were featured over lunch during the week. In the first, Dr. Jim Beavers, Dr. Kathy Northrop, and Dr. MeLissa Butler of the Nebraska Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (NE-EHDI) Program in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services highlighted the ROI of their program’s efforts in improving hearing outcomes among children in our state. The second Grand Rounds featured the ROI of preparedness through a fun lens. “Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse or Other Events Slightly More Likely,” presented by Dr. Shawn Gibbs, associate dean of student affairs and associate professor of environmental and agricultural health, was given to a standing-room-only campus-wide audience and viewed across the state through online streaming offered by the Great Plains Public Health Training Center (GPPHTC). Recordings of these grand rounds sessions are still available online from the GPPHTC at http://phtc.unmc.edu/moodle/.
Reaching out to the community was also important to the Student Association during this week. On Tuesday, a group of COPH students visited Saratoga Elementary School during their afterschool program and talked to a K-6 audience about what public health is, why it’s important, and what kind of jobs people do in the field. The students will be returning to the school in a week to provide hands-on activities for the children, including learning to make healthy, delicious snacks and do a few simple yoga poses. On Thursday, in partnership with community partner ModeShift Omaha, participants screened Taken for a Ride, a documentary that discussed the history of public transportation and the growth of the car culture in the United States. After the viewing, a panel of representatives from the city’s Planning Department, the city’s Metro system and Activate Omaha talked to the audience about Omaha’s efforts to diversify transportation options to benefit the public’s health.
Students gathered on Wednesday for the annual NPHW student leadership workshop. This year, the COPH director of career services, Brenda Nickol, MPH, worked with students on effective networking and provided helpful tips on both in-person and online networking using social media. Afterwards, the Student Association welcomed students to practice their new skills at a social event with alumni, faculty, and staff.
Finally, on Friday, April 5, the Student Association closed out NPHW with the second annual PHamily PHeud game. Teams made up of students, faculty, and staff competed to predict the answers to a range of public health related questions, asked not only of those with public health expertise, but of the general public as well. Competition was fierce and fun. Winners of both the PHeud and the Scavenger Hunt were provided with new, long-sleeved COPH t-shirts with the “Top Ten Ways You Know You’re in Public Health” listed on the back. The week concluded on this high note and the college looks forward to next year’s NPHW and the chance once again to highlight and celebrate all we do!
This article was written by Claudine McCarthy, research assistant in the COPH Office of Public Health Practice.