Collaboration Between a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and a Community High School: Promotion of Health and Wellness Programming

Background & Purpose : Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) is an evidence-based government initiative that seeks to foster Òa society in which all people live long, healthy lives.Ó HP2020 has newly identified adolescent health behavior as a target population in need of intervention. Addressing issues like hydration, physical activity and mental health during adolescence can produce short- and long-term benefits in the individual and community health status. Health behaviors developed during this pivotal stage can be influenced by family, peers, and societal cues, shaping immediate perceptions of individual health and consequential development of chronic disease in adulthood. Collaboration with these influential groups provides a unique opportunity to provide salient information and involvement in activities promoting positive choices, which may empower teens to make positive changes in targeted areas of health.Case Description : Second-year Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students at Franklin Pierce University (FPU) utilized the PRECEDE-PROCEED model of health program planning to create an evidence- based program of six interactive stations for a Health Fair at Milford High School (MHS) in Milford, NH. MHS students participated in the Fair and completed a Likert-scale survey at the conclusion of the event to assess perceived relevance and benefit of each station attended. Surveys were also completed by the MHS Health and Wellness committee and administration. A follow-up survey was sent to MHS students three months later to see if any lasting, positive changes in health behaviors had occurred.Outcomes : Up to 283 initial surveys were returned, varying by activity station. Juniors and seniors were more likely than underclassmen to report they learned something new, helpful or relevant at a station. Presentations on diabetes, hydration and stress management drew the highest average rankings. Follow up surveys were sent out in May 2013 and responses will be analyzed to share at CSM. DPT students and faculty/administration at both FPU and MHS reported benefit from the collaborative process. The DPT students observed how students of different ages participated in the activities, and the need to tailor patient education accordingly. MHS Health and Wellness Committee and administration reported significant student excitement both pre and post event and requested more extensive collaboration in the future.Discussion : PT educators are always searching for meaningful application of didactic instruction. DPT students, most of whom are young adults, can effect change for the next generation by reaching out to fellow youth. Collaboration between a DPT program and a local high school may facilitate positive changes in adolescent understanding and attitudes related to their health. Inclusion of community outreach as an extension of classroom learning can be used to foster a deeper understanding of material by DPT students and may encourage continuation of involvement into professional behaviors post-graduation.

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  • Control #: 1726730
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Jennifer Parent-Nichols, Olga L. McSorley, Ann W. Greiner
  • Keywords: Healthy People 2020|Students|Collaboration

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