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Editor’s Note: This summer, Exploring Health will feature posts from students within the Health 1,2,3,4 program’s Health 497 course — Community Health Education Strategies. This piece is an introduction to student blog posts about their experiences participating in the course.

Health 1,2,3,4 is an academic program housed within the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University. The four-course series aims to provide students with strategies and resources to play an active role in their own health, while also equipping them with the skills to promote the health of their peers.  In addition to growing their knowledge of the science of health and strategies for health promotion, students who complete courses within the Health 1,2,3,4 program walk away with tangible skills that prepare them for a wide range of careers or educational programs after graduation.

Recognizing the need for students to translate the skills and knowledge acquired in the Human Health courses, the Health 1,2,3,4 program introduced a new course for the 2020-2021 academic year: Health 497 — Community Health Education Strategies.  In this two-part course (Fall and Spring semesters), students apply their understanding of health education principles and strategies to develop and facilitate the delivery of health education with collaborative partners in the Atlanta and Emory communities. Students who participate in the course are provided with the opportunity to develop professional skills, including leadership, discussion facilitation, communication, and more.  This year, Health 497 offered two paths for the students to pursue: group coaching to support Healthy Emory’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and health education lessons for Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.

Healthy Emory’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) Group Coaching Path

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Emory’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) enables Emory employees with pre-diabetes to modify their behaviors to prevent the progression of the disease. Partnering with Healthy Emory, Health 497 provided optional, student-led group coaching sessions to support DPP participants in maintaining healthy behaviors and reaching their health goals. Students within the Health 497 DPP path trained to become student health coaches, developing and facilitating group coaching support sessions on four different topics: food logging, physical activity, embracing a problem-solving mindset, and overcoming social obstacles to healthful nutrition. By participating in the group coaching support sessions, DPP participants revisited key components of the DPP curriculum, discussed personal health barriers, and developed specific goals to promote well-being.

Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School Health Education Path

The Health 1,2,3,4 program maintains a collaborative partnership with Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School to provide health education to its 6th-8th grade student population. Students who pursued the Health 497 King Middle School path developed and facilitated lesson plans on several health-related topics, including nutrition, positive mental health, and time and energy management. The middle school students who participated in the health lessons expanded their understanding of health and health-promoting behaviors.

It is with great pleasure that we share the personal experiences and reflections of our Health 497 students within their specific paths to highlight the impact this course has had on their academic and professional growth. Stay tuned for the student pieces as they are posted in the Exploring Health blog this summer.

To learn more about the Health 1,2,3,4 program, visit the program webpage.  For more information about collaborative partnership opportunities, contact program director Lisa DuPree at