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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 357-365

Teaching Children about Health: An Example of Secondary Gain in an Academic–Community Partnership

The Center for Educational Outcomes at the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth College, Dartmouth College, and Dartmouth Medical School, USA

Correspondence Address:
Virginia A Reed
Center for Educational Outcomes at the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth, HB 6207, Hanover, NH 03755
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Context: The Partners in Health Education (PHE) program is an elective that pairs . rst and second year medical students with local classroom teachers to promote health messages to students in kindergarten through grade eight. Designed with the primary goal of helping medical students improve their communication skills through the process of teaching children about health, the PHE program has secondary goals of supporting community teachers in their efforts to promote health and of teaching children about health and the prevention of disease and injury. This report contains the results of the assessment of program impact on the school children. Methods: A total of 327 elementary grade students in 14 experimental classrooms and 13 comparison classrooms comprised the participants for the study. Students were individually interviewed twice over an eight-week period using a structured interview form designed to capture self-report information about health and healthy living. Repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted. The effect of interest in each case was the treatment × time interaction. Results: There were signi. cant treatment × time interactions for several measures of children's reported knowledge and attitudes about health. Discussion: Although designed primarily to help medical students improve their communication skills, the PHE program produced a secondary gain such that elementary students in participating classrooms reported learning more about health than did students in comparison classrooms. Programs such as PHE can provide ways to meet the goal of helping children become empowered to take charge of their own health and to make healthy choices.

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