Cavities, Candy, and Costumes; LUCOM Students-Doctors Conquer the Crowds at Local YMCA
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) Nutrition and Preventative Medicine Interest Group (NaPMIG) hosted a health information booth at the Jamerson Family YMCA on Saturday, Oct. 29. Every year the YMCA hosts an annual Halloween Party which is open to the community, providing a fun, family event for everyone. The event consists of inflatables, crafts, a haunted hallway, fall foods, a magic show, a photo booth, informational booths, and face painting. This year’s event was sponsored by MedExpress and Dodson Brothers Pest Control.
LUCOM-NaPMIG’s information booth consisted of a germ station, a true and false game, a sugar measurement station, and tips for a healthy plate station. “This event allowed us to step away from the books and see the people who we will be treating someday soon,” said Stevie Vetter, Class of 2019. “This also gave us an opportunity to be able to teach people about the detriments of sugar, which really ingrains that knowledge into our own learning.” Nine student-doctors from LUCOM attended the Halloween Party and were able educate the Lynchburg community and over 100 children on the impact sugar has on their life and alternatives for a healthier lifestyle. This opportunity provided exposure of LUCOM to the Lynchburg community and gave student-doctors the opportunity to talk with parents about the values and mission of LUCOM. “They may not realize it now, but I believe this event impacted all the children that went through our stations and down the road they’ll remember because of our interactions and from providing hands-on experiences,” Vetter added.
The nutritional interest group focused on educational facts about food and snacks while also making it fun and interactive for the kids. “The advantage to an event like this is being able to interact with kids and also teach them important facts about what they are eating,” said Abigail Krueger, Class of 2019, Vice Chair of NaPMIG. “What was surprising was that the kids were actually pretty good at guessing how much sugar was in different items, but it was their parents that were surprised.” Student-doctors were able to make an impact on parents through their children while also learning how to approach and interact with children. “I have a lot of things I would like to achieve by becoming a doctor, one of which would be promoting health awareness and preventing chronic disease which is part of the reason I helped start the Nutrition and Preventive Medicine Interest Group,” added Krueger.
The children attending last month’s event were not the only ones dressed up, as LUCOM student-doctors joined in on the festivities and dressed in costumes as well. “It makes the community more aware of LUCOM,” said Tom Ilustrisimo, Class of 2019. “It also provides a fun atmosphere to learn various aspects of healthcare.” Student-doctors were able to educate children of all ages about the importance of both hygiene and nutrition.