University of Queensland Medical School students are giving back to the New Orleans community, promoting health wellness to a New Orleans High School and helped build a home in the New Orleans community.
The unique cohort of American University of Queensland Medical School students, who spend the first two years of their degree in Australia and final two in the US, created its own student association in 2011 and recently organized two outreach projects.
The first project was volunteering to build a new home in New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity.
The students worked on constructing the banister for the porch and shingled the roof.
For some, using power tools for the first time was a real learning experience.
“It was a great way to help out in the community and get to know my neighborhood a little bit better,” Mel Lam, fourth-year University of Queensland Medical School student said.
“I think knowing that the house we were working on was near where I was living was pretty special,” she said.
Another project was to participate in Wellness Week at Bonnabel High School in New Orleans.
The medical students set up a booth in the high school courtyard during the lunch hour to speak with students about topics ranging from diet and exercise to substance abuse and sexual health.
“A big draw card was the set of actual human lungs we had,” Jennifer Lee, a third-year University of Queensland Medical School student said. “Students stopped to examine the lungs which gave us the opportunity to start discussions about the consequences of smoking.”
Models were also used to compare the sugar contents of foods – such as chicken nuggets versus grilled chicken breast and french fries versus baked potato – as a starting point for explaining the pathogenesis of diabetes.
Jose Feliberti, a third-year University of Queensland Medical School student said the kids were keen to learn about nutrition and interested in the evolution of disease with unhealthy eating practices.
Pedometers were handed to students jumping double dutch to see how many steps they could reach before getting caught in the rope and demonstrated how fun exercises can meet daily activity goals.
“I had no idea what to expect,” Dan Henbest, a third-year University of Queensland Medical School student said.
“I was really pleased with how well we were received by the students and how much they already seemed to know about things like lung disease.”
These students plan to participate in Bonnabel’s Wellness Week annually and also hope to continue their relationship with the high school students by starting a monthly Wellness Club.
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