CLEVELAND, OH - Aviva Aguilar, a third-year student in North East Ohio College of Medicine, is designing a program in English and Spanish to educate Hispanic communities about nutrition labels and overall health. One of the programs includes exercise sessions for kids via Zoom by dancing and singing.
Aguilar was born in Venezuela and is an immigrant Latina student. She was one of 38 students selected for the United Health Foundation National Medical Fellowships Diverse Medical Scholar Program. The program gives students a stipend of $7,000 by spending 200 hours on a self-directed health project in their community.
Aguilar will carry out her community health project and serve families at Proyecto Raices, a local non-profit organization. Proyecto Raices co-director Rita Aggarwal and medicine student Ashley Houston are working with Aguilar to complete the project in spring 2021. Mike Appleman, M.A., Ed., director of Primary Care Education and associate director of the Urban Primary Care Pathway at NEOMED, oversees Aguilar's project.
The motivation for the project was the increasing rates of childhood obesity and the need for a wellness program in English and Spanish. Her goal was to bring care outside traditional practices into the community in an engaging and culturally competent way.
According to Aguilar's letter, the families who participated in the program were highly satisfied and motivated to continue exercising and eating healthy meals.
One of the students, Alex, wrote, "I like coming to every session. I am counting my steps on the pedometer you gave me. I took 121 steps right now! My favorite is the chicken wing song."
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