Interactive Health Workshops
This community engagement project, delivered by medical student volunteers, aimed to teach primary school children aged 9-11 about the human body and healthy living.
During May and June 2016, two groups of medical students visited 31 primary schools in Cardiff, Caerphilly and Merthyr Tydfil. They developed and presented workshops to more than 1,000 children from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
The workshops were designed to be fun and used life-sized plastic models, fuzzy felt organ tunics and quizzes to encourage learning. The children also used stethoscopes and other devices to monitor blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels.
Since obesity and heart disease are major health problems for Wales, the workshops focused on the heart and lungs and the importance of exercise, and on digestion and the importance of diet. The workshops were designed to complement the existing school syllabus.
The 31 schools represented populations spanning the entire spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds, and included two specialist schools which catered for pupils with additional learning needs.
In this pilot stage, the project has produced some notable positive outcomes:
- Teachers reported their pupils to have been 'inspired and motivated' by the workshop, and to have taken part in further independent study to find out more about the human body.
- Pupils showed a significant interest in careers in medicine, and were able to quiz the student volunteers about their own experiences.
- The medical students gained valuable experience of working with children, including the delivery of age-appropriate information, and of the diverse communities of south-east Wales.
Building on these successes, and to maintain impetus and ensure that links with partner schools are sustained, a second round of workshops has been scheduled for spring 2017. This will engage a new cohort of medical students, and is intended also to expand to include additional primary schools in Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly.
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