by Jerry Rothstein
A recent initiative by United Family Medicine’s (UFM) Family Practice Residency Program is leading to some efforts to improve communication, connection and collaboration among individuals and groups concerned about specific community health issues.
Each Resident physician has been involved over their three-year residency in a community oriented primary care project (COPC). Until this year it was the residents’ responsibility to design a project and then see whether they could gather community interest and participation.
This year, with the class of 2022, the process has been reversed. Community nonprofits and agencies were invited to submit ideas to involve the Residents in projects that the community developed, on topics that concern them the most — ones that would benefit, of course, from a doctor’s involvement.
Many good responses were received, and UFM is in the process of connecting Residents with projects so that things can proceed.
One of the proposals came in from the West 7th Community Center’s Community Kids After School Program, a remarkable educational resource often generating creative learning opportunities.
Community Kids proposal
Community Kids overall program goals include promoting the development of the whole youth/child including healthy physical development, as well as college and career readiness. The Community Kids target population consists of youth from low income households attending schools in St. Paul and attending the Community Kids after school program.
Project goals for K-4 students
• To learn the benefits of physical fitness/regular exercise and healthy nutrition.
• To learn about being a doctor.
• To lessen fear and anxiety regarding regular visits to the doctor.
Project goals for students (grades 5-10)
• To learn about career pathways into the medical profession.
• To participate in medical related STEM activities.
• Increased knowledge regarding benefits of exercise and nutrition.
• Increased knowledge of the medical profession and possible careers.
• Increased comfort level around doctors.
In addition, Community Kids teachers and STEM Specialist will gain knowledge and activity ideas that they can continue to share with students in the future. These may include the benefits of physical fitness/regular exercise and healthy nutrition followed by active sports and games and healthy cooking projects; discussions about why we make regular visits to the doctor, how immunizations help us; question and answer sessions about being a doctor and learning about career pathways into the medical profession; medical related, hands-on STEM activities conducted jointly between the doctor and Community Kids teachers. Also, the Resident could do a parent education session for program parents regarding regular wellness visits, immunizations, and healthy lifestyle choices.
The kids came up with a few important ideas about who would be good for the program: (a) A doctor that enjoys spending time with children and teens; (b) A doctor that enjoys physical activity/sports and games/healthy nutrition; (c) A person of color to be a role model for our students (86% are students of color, 50% are from East African immigrant families).
Two Residents have responded to the invitation: Drs. Jené Carter and Natalie Hemmerich.
In future issues, Community Reporter will present information on the other projects being launched under this initiative. Any time you are interested in becoming involved you can contact Editor Jerry Rothstein, 651-587-8859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Jerry Rothstein