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Jensen's CIS anatomy students show public health expertise

How can teens become advocates for healthy living? Students in a University of Minnesota, Twin Cities College in the Schools (CIS) Anatomy and Physiology course have produced videos and designed multimedia displays that can be used to educate their friends, families, and communities about healthy eating, obesity reduction, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. More than 400 students representing 15 high schools across Minnesota gathered April 18 at the U of M to compete for the most engaging and educational kiosk. The winners will take home the coveted Golden Femur award.

Murray Jensen"Our goal for the kiosks is to put the students' knowledge into action, to show that there is more to anatomy and physiology than learning the names of bones and muscles," says Murray Jensen, associate professor in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning. "Many of these CIS students will become health care leaders who will be interacting with the public, helping people stay healthy. The kiosks give students an opportunity to be health care advocates."

The kiosk competition is the culmination of the yearlong Smart and Healthy Students, Smart and Healthy Families program, funded by the UCare Fund. Using concepts from Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food, high school students learned about healthy eating and also studied the digestive system, obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

This fall, the students produced videos that feature an interview with an elder (preferably a grandparent) about their diet at age 18, compared with what 18-year-olds eat today. The videos are an integral part of the student kiosks and can spur conversations about healthy diets, the importance of exercise and diseases associated with obesity. The kiosks may be used at school events such as parent-teacher conferences, athletic competitions and even in the school lunchroom.

Jensen developed the Smart and Healthy Students, Smart and Healthy Families program as faculty coordinator for the U of M course "Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology" offered through CIS.

College in the Schools at the University of Minnesota develops partnerships between the University of Minnesota and high school teachers and administrators. Students get firsthand experience with a faster pace of study and increased academic rigor while earning university credits.

This year students produced exceptional kiosks about disease, lifestyle, exercise, eating right, and the connections among them. Competition was stiff, but when all the votes were cast the 2011 winners were Wabasha-Kellogg, Bronze Ulna; Eagan, Silver Scapula; and St. Clair, the Golden Femur (see St. Clair group photo below).


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