Student-doctors lead heart awareness event at local school

Shelley Andrews :: LUCOM Marketing and PR | Feb 16, 2016

A group of student-doctors from Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) traded their medical school lecture halls for third grade classrooms, part of a community service event intended to make children aware of how to take care of their hearts.

Students sign red balloons to LUCOM-Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) hosted an interactive lesson at Tomahawk Elementary School in Campbell County on Feb. 5, which is also “National Wear Red Day” across the U.S.

“This event is truly a reflection of the mission here at LUCOM. It takes a true servant’s heart to set aside the stress and the demanding schedule of medical school and take the time to go out into the community and invest in the lives of others,” said Shayna Burdeaux, class of 2018, LUCOM-SOMA Membership Coordinator.

Student-doctors divided into five groups to rotate around each of the five third-grade classrooms. They talked to the children about how the heart works, the importance of exercise, how to find their pulse, and healthy food choices. The final group helped the children create a fun heart-related craft.

“The kids absolutely loved it! They told us all kinds of stories about all the healthy foods they like and their favorite exercises and sports. And they love to ask questions. I remember being asked about where blood came from and being stumped on just how I would explain that to a child,” laughed Burdeaux.

At the end of the lesson, all of the children were asked to “pledge” to keep their heart healthy and sign their name on a red balloon.

Part of the heart healthy lesson included a craft.Teacher Heather Morrison says the young students were excited about the visit from student-doctors and were talking about what they learned after the LUCOM group left.

“Students hear a lot about how good exercise is and how they should eat healthy from their parents and teachers. To hear it from [future] doctors and people they don't know as well really made a lot of difference,” said Morrison.

Morrison also says the student-doctors’ lesson was not just contained to those five classrooms.

“Students went home to tell their parents what they learned. And they were spreading the word to other students what they got to do at school,” said Morrison.

This is the second year of the Tomahawk event. Due to its success, Burdeaux is confident that next year’s LUCOM-SOMA’s leaders will continue the tradition.

“It’s our goal to promote healthy lifestyles in our community by making an impact on the young people,” said Burdeaux. “In a small way, I believe we made a huge impact.

Liberty University and the College of Osteopathic Medicine are sponsoring HeartChase in Lynchburg on Saturday, April 16, from 8-11 a.m., at LU's Demoss Hall. Teams race to complete heart healthy challenges for a chance to win incredible prizes. Proceeds benefit the local American Heart Association. Visit to register.