Saturday, December 1, 2012

Halloween at the Cleveland Department of Public Health

Instead of trick or treating, some
 patients at the clinic, had "Trich" 
and treatment. A plush toy 
of Trichomonas vaginalis, also 
known as "Trich", made sad 
face after we told him the 
pharmacology of metronidazole 

         For our Capstone, Elana, Leah, and I partnered with the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) and a master of public health student at CWRU to organize a Halloween event for teenagers to promote reproductive health. From the first day of Capstone at CDPH, the agency noted low teenage attendance at their reproductive health clinics. They expressed concern over the lack of teenage presence not correlating to the high numbers from reports of local teenagers contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and having unplanned pregnancies. Accordingly, the agency proposed a teen Halloween event to address these concerns. Our main responsibility as nursing students became the patient education component of the Halloween event.  
            We identified areas of reproductive knowledge to section off into three education rooms. Elana’s experience and devotion for pediatric nursing created a fun and enlightening way to teach about STIs and their symptoms with her “Wheel of Misfortune”. While Leah's L&D experience and passion for women's health naturally gravitated to educating teenage girls about birth control methods. My activity called, “Sweet Transmission”, used the simple exchange of candy among participants’ boxes to signify sexual intercourse. Certain candies represented STIs to show its prevalence and demonstrate the link between multiple sexual contacts and STI incidence. After disclosing the underlying meaning of the activity, the participants recognized how easily STIs can be transmitted, especially with asymptomatic persons.            

As adorable as this plush toy of 
Chlamydia trachomatis may appear,
 it is more of a nuisance than a friend.
            Additionally, one of the participant boxes was previously marked with a “C” to signify the use of a condom during each time there was sexual intercourse. Thus, reducing their risk of contracting a STI and pregnancy. With that in mind, participants were directed to the station with a penis and vagina model to be shown correct application of male and female condoms. Participants were encouraged to return the demonstration and educated on other aspects of proper condom use. We also gave out goodie bags with candy and condoms!
            Furthermore, some participants wished to come back to the clinic for STI testing. On the other hand, some teenagers I have worked with do not understand the gravity and consequences of their sexual behavior due to a lack of education. As hush-hush as these topics may be to some, at a transitional period between childhood and adulthood, I acknowledge adolescents' need to learn and talk about safe sex. Located at the reproductive clinic, the Halloween event also included prizes (see top right and middle left picture above), food, and music with the essential line dancing in costumes. Hopefully, welcoming teenagers in an entertaining way, while teaching them about STIs, birth control, and the services available to them at the clinic, the teens will return as well as promote better health behaviors among their age group in the community.

At the Halloween event, Elana, Leah, and I are happy to educate teens
about STIs, prevention, and birth control. I dressed with protection in mind!

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