Welcome back, HSE21 Shorts readers! We begin the new school year with a timely real world connection. A member of our community, Dr. Jerome Adams, was recently confirmed as the new Surgeon General of the United States! Before Dr. Adams is sworn in next week in Washington, D.C., he graciously took time to interact with students at Geist Elementary and HSE High Schools.
At Geist, Dr. Adams spoke with second, third and fourth grade students about components of healthy living. There’s something especially powerful when the nation’s top doctor talks about turning off the TV and getting outside in the sunshine! And if the nation’s Top Doc does push ups…
In the high school setting, Dr. Adams spoke to students from Biomedical Project Lead the Way courses as well as the Black Student Union, We the People, and several government classes. In preparation for his visit, Dr. Adams had teachers and students read this CDC article on recent public health achievements – these achievements, as well as continuing public health challenges, provided the basis for great discussion between Dr. Adams and the students.
HSE21 Shorts asked teachers to describe Dr. Adams’ impact. Here are responses from Biomedical Innovations teacher Ashly Heckly:
Aside from just having a ‘title’, Dr. Adams seems to speak to significant pressing issues. What will you be able to tie in to your curriculum from his talk?
In Biomedical Innovations we are currently studying public health at the local, national, and global levels. We have been discussing the top five health issues of the 21st century, what the solution would be to these issues, and what would have to happen in order to make these solutions a reality. During this unit, we will also be studying the work of epidemiologists and how they analyze patient symptoms, test results, and other clues to successfully pinpoint the specific nature of the disease and the source. Students will end the unit by writing and presenting a grant proposal outlining an intervention plan for a particular disease, illness, or injury. Dr. Adams gave students a ‘from the field’ perspective that help them see how applicable what they are studying is to real life!
What was the reaction of the students to Dr. Adams?
Dr. Adams discussed the opiod epidemic and his conversations with high school students that are addicted to heroin. It shocked the students to hear of high school students being addicted because that is not the face that comes to mind when they think of drug addicts. They also didn’t realize that they could become addicted after only doing a drug one time and that many people are becoming addicted after taking prescription medication prescribed to them by their doctor.
The students appreciated that Dr. Adams offered them multiple view points when discussing different issues. It helped them realize that these issues are very complex and that the answers aren’t always black and white.
The students also admired Dr. Adams’ outstanding character traits. They were so grateful that he stayed to talk and take a picture with each student that waited in line. They were also amazed at how humble he is even though he has many great achievements.
Thank you, Dr. Adams, for your generosity of time and talents in our community. We wish you much success as you lead the charge to find solutions to our nation’s most serious and pressing health issues.