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KSB Family Health Center Residents Participate in Oregon Middle School Health Jam

During the Health Jam Program, fifth graders visit with professionals as they learn about different aspects of the health world and careers in the health industry. The kick-off event on October 30 included an additional half day where students from the University of Illinois College of Medicine’s Rural Medicine Education (RMED) students presented lessons for the Oregon students.

The program offers eight weeks of lessons and a challenge. Each week, guest speakers, including KSB residents and 4-H educators, teach various lessons and presentations during class. This year’s KSB Residents included Dr. Brian Didier (PGY3), Dr. Chad Martens (PGY2), and Dr. David Cook (PGY2). Dr. John Plescia, Teresa Strum and Melissa Rockwood also presented during the Health Jam kick-off event.

“My favorite part is seeing how much the kids enjoy learning about things that seem simple to us but are so fascinating to them,” says Dr. Didier. “We all enjoy getting out into our community, hanging out with the kids for a day, and teaching them something we find really interesting.”

This year’s challenge placed each student on a team of four and asked them to exercise 30 minutes daily for eight weeks. If successful, students will have exercised enough to say they walked 448 miles or “Walked Across Illinois.” Each successful student earns a t-shirt for their hard work.

“The students seem to enjoy the lessons and get excited about simple stuff,” adds Dr. Didier. “This year, we taught about the digestive tract, and the students learned about the organs and the path food takes in our body. We also showed students a model heart, what it looks like, and how it functions. We went over what goes into a physical exam, including how to listen to heart and lung sounds, how to check reflexes, how to look at eyes with the ophthalmoscope, and how to check vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate.”

The Health Jam Program is offered by the University of Illinois Extension in Boone, DeKalb, and Ogle Counties. Johnna Jennings, Extension Educator, organizes the program as part of the 4-H Youth Development program. This year, KSB Hospital provided financial support.