Thursday, November 29, 2012

Final Days in Hong Kong

After nearly two months in Hong Kong, Kevin, Nita, Rachel, and I are back in the United States. Over this period of time, we’ve gotten to experience so many new things, from navigating around the city on the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) to purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at the wet markets. We were also given the opportunity to attend nursing classes and collaborate with the smoking cessation research team at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first heard that we would be collaborating with a research team from the HKU School of Nursing. I was initially very nervous about the project because of my lack of experience with research – I didn’t want to be more of a burden to the team than a help. However, the entire team ended up being very supportive of our project, and they worked hard in ensuring that our course objectives were met. They proposed potential project ideas, and as mentioned earlier by my group members, we decided to focus on Hong Kong’s tobacco control and smoking cessation efforts. We saw this as a major public health issue because although only 11% of Hong Kong’s total population smokes, that is still nearly 770,000 out of 7 million people. In addition, because Hong Kong is so densely populated, it is nearly impossible for people to avoid secondhand smoke (SHS). We decided to focus on project on two aspects of smoking in Hong Kong: 1) SHS exposure during adolescence and its effects on current smoking behaviors and attitudes towards anti-smoking legislation and 2) the effectiveness of web-based resources that are currently being used to help smokers quit. Over the course of these 10 weeks, we took a closer look at HKU student experiences and perceptions of SHS and the use of websites as smoking cessation tools. Before we left, we presented our findings to the research team, who offered valuable feedback on our pilot observational study. The team commented on how the relationship between SHS exposure during adolescence and current attitudes about anti-smoking legislation was never really studied before, and we hope that this could be an area that could be explored more in future research. Had we had more time in Hong Kong, we could have used the data collected from our study to come up with interventions that we could evaluate by the end of our time here.

Presenting our findings to the research team
Along with helping us on our project, the research team also helped organize several site visits, including visits to the Tobacco Control Office Quitline Centre and the Hong Kong Council of Health and Smoking (COSH), which helped give us a better picture of what is being done to combat smoking in Hong Kong. During our last site visit to COSH, we heard about the various interventions being implemented to encourage smoking cessation, including broadcasting announcements for public interest (APIs) on TV and on the radio and providing community education through health talks. A method that I found interesting was the education theatre, which is an interactive show where students and teachers are invited to perform on stage along with the actors. Messages about tobacco control are delivered in a fun and creative manner, with the intent of helping youth better understand the hazards of smoking and the benefits of a smoke-free environment. I thought that this was a very useful way to target younger audiences and encourage them to develop healthy habits early on. I was thankful to see that Hong Kong was placing a huge emphasis on smoking cessation and that they were focusing their efforts on a smoke-free Hong Kong in the near future. Tobacco control is such a huge issue in Hong Kong, and I can see FPB nursing students playing a big part in it in the future.

Visit to the HK Council of Smoking and Health

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shadowing a Sanitarian at CCBH

I was located at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health for my senior Capstone project. I was lucky to be at this location as it provided for many different shadowing opportunities. My favorite experience, by far, throughout my Capstone was the day I got to shadow two sanitarians employed by CCBH.
In the morning, I met with the first employee, Tom, at the city of Euclid’s town hall. He explained that with his job, he was required to conduct many inspections throughout Euclid including lead paint, bed bug, pools and hot tubs, pet stores, and even responds to complaints from city residents. His recent complaints included the Notre Dame College wrestling team getting herpes and a local resident’s apartment smelling of strong cat urine. He’s worked this job for over ten years, so he says he’s not usually surprised by what he comes in contact with anymore. After this talk, we went to a local hotel to inspect the pool and hot tub. I learned that this is not just a typical water test, but also involved inspecting pool equipment, heaters, and signs. It was so detailed that it took over two hours. The most important thing I learned was that if the pool smells very strongly of chlorine, the chemical balance is not right and it is not up to standards. 
After the pool, we went to a pet store. Pet store inspections are not required, but CCBH feels that they are worthwhile. He looked for signs informing customers about hand washing and diseases that could be spread through animals. The store had some but he gave them even more. He also looked for a separate room that was specifically for people to play with the animals and hand sanitizers throughout the store. In the end, the pet store met requirements and passed inspection.
In the afternoon, I met with Suzanne.  She is in charge in charge of inspecting all restaurants in Euclid twice a year. She wanted to make sure that I saw good inspections, bad inspections, and everything in between.  We were able to make it to six restaurants in the afternoon. Our first stop was at a restaurant that is known for having awesome food, but is also a hole in the wall. It was her fourth visit there. If the owner did not make the necessary changes soon, unfortunately, Suzanne would have to take him to court. In my opinion, the cooking area was pretty gross, but apparently is drastically better compared to the first time she was there. The next visit was in great condition and Suzanne gave it a rave review. For the next three visits, Suzanne let me type the reports and tell the owners about the necessary changes. It was awesome that she had so much confidence in me after only knowing me for a few hours. The last visit failed miserably. Their food preparation needed a ton of work; they were cutting raw chicken in the sink where dishes were washed. There was also a big communication barrier, as the owners spoke mostly Mandarin. While Suzanne was a pro at inspections, I could see that this made her job even harder to do. Luckily, she had an upcoming food safety class that was presented in Mandarin.
At the end of the day, I learned a lot. I've worked at many different restaurants, but never knew about this inspection process. The food safety I learned will even help me in my own home. Unfortunately, I will now look at restaurants and pools very differently. I will definitely be more cautious when ordering food and going into hotel pools.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wrapping Up at CCBH

            In our final weeks at CCBH, we spent most of our time out of the office doing community outreach. Our main activity in our project was to advertise for both Family Planning Medicaid and CCBH’s Family Planning Clinic. Though the clinic already had a professionally made flyer, we were able to create our own flyer for Family Planning Medicaid. No one in our group had ever gone business to business advertising something before, so I don’t think we realized how much work it required. We wanted to stick to western Cuyahoga County, as that is where the majority of clients at the clinic live. We utilized Google Maps, looking at areas with many businesses. We also learned that it is best to go to businesses with clients that are in our targeted age group. There is no sense is going to a sewing store that has a clientele of mostly women over sixty, as they probably will not take advantage of Family Planning Medicaid or the clinic. Once we were out in the community, I felt like we were driving around a lot. It was easiest to stop at shopping centers, so we could walk to many stores at once, but then we would have to get in the car again to find another shopping center.
It was tiring talking to people about the same thing and constantly getting in and out of the car. Spending entire days doing this was incredibly monotonous. I had to constantly remind myself that it was for a greater good, making all of our efforts worth it. More outreach meant that more people were informed about the clinic and Family Planning Medicaid. People with this type of Medicaid can get all of their birth control and STD tests covered by insurance. The clinic is great because it bases all prices off of income, making a lot of services free. Because both Family Planning Medicaid and the clinic are newer, our advertising is really necessary. Once I remembered the importance of our work, I was happy to be involved in our outreach efforts. In total, we hung about 300 flyers throughout the western county. So far, we are seeing positive results in our research, causing me believe that our flyers did help.

Back to sailing and swimming with the turtles, USVI

My time here in Cleveland went by very quickly. I cannot believe 4 months went by already.  I really enjoyed my time here and all the people that have made the experience memorable. The staff at Startler Arms Apartment and my recent buddies from Apt 1219. Now its time for me to return home and I must say I will miss Cleveland. I will miss my roommate, my friend Loni and all our adventures. If it wasn't for Loni, I think I would have been lost everyday. We truly had a wonderful time and have many stories to share with our classmates back home.
My time at the Otis Moss Jr. Health Center was well spent. We accomplished a lot with our capstone project and had numerous support from other health care providers with the project. Our three diabetes classes had a good turn out. Even though it rained every time our class was held, the participants still came. I am happy that our project entailed interacting with members from the community because we were able to learn from them. I enjoyed learning from them and also hearing about the difficulties they experience with their health conditions. In all, I enjoyed my Capstone experience and everything that had to be done to complete the project.
Well Cleveland, it was a pleasure being part of your community and I will never forget this experience. I will truly miss you.

Signing Off

CCFHC blog#2

Tracy and I recently finished our capstone experience at Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center (CCFHC) in Pittsburgh, PA. It was a great experience that really brought out the concept of how important working as a collaborative health care team is. To provide optimal medical care, physicians, pharmacists, and registered nurses must work hand in hand. That is exactly how the flow of CCFHC worked. Firsthand, I used the resources that CCFHC provided to medically serve the uninsured population of the greater Allegheny County.
            On our last day at CCFHC, they were holding an activity called “Hearts to Soles”. The picture below was the poster we had up on our windows telling patients of the activity. Patients needed to sign up in advance to fill the 75 slots we had available so they could receive their foot examination, free pair of socks, and free pair of brand new shoes. Refreshments were also provided. I thought this was such a wonderful activity and many attended.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wuhan, China (Blog #2)

Erika and I recently finished our Capstone project. We learned about traditional Chinese medicine and were able to perform the treatments independently on students and patients at the Community Health Center in Wuhan, China. Erika and I really appreciate everything that the students and faculty from the HOPE School of Nursing have done to make us feel at home in Wuhan, China. We could not have completed our project without their help. Many of the students hope to visit the United States and have expressed that they are looking forward to meeting the next group of Case students that visit Wuhan University for their Capstone experience. I hope that Case maintains their relationship with Wuhan University so that more students can have the amazing opportunity I was given.
During our final week in Wuhan the students took us to popular tourist attractions before we left and returned to the United States.  We visited the Yangtze River and Yellow Crane Tower. On our last night in China, the students took Erika and I out to eat and we shared a huge family style meal together.  The students and faculty gave Erika and I hand painted paper fans and traditional Chinese paper cutting artwork.  After dinner, the students taught us how to play games they grew up playing and we all went out for ice cream.  Erika and I will definitely miss the friends we made in Wuhan! 

Southwest General Health Center Blog 1

     My name is Brandon and I am a senior BSN student at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. For my capstone site, I am at Southwest General Health Center (SWGHC), which is located in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. SWGHC is a 300 bed community hospital. I am enjoying my time hear and find it very interesting because it is such a different experience than being at the Cleveland Clinic, UH, or Metro, which are larger hospitals in comparison. The other thing that is interesting about SWGHC is the diverse programs they have under the community nursing section, which Melissa and I are in for the semester. In the community nurse section, they do a lot of various screenings, which include cholesterol, glucose, BMI, osteoporosis, blood pressure, and several others. They also participate in working with patients recently discharged with congestive heart failure, and also with the elderly population in the hospitals' taxing district.

     My favorite thing about the first half of capstone was actually during our first week, when one of the community nurses took us along with her to the General Motors Factory to participate in a GM health fair. It was very hands on for us, as we got to screen employees and retired GM employees for blood glucose levels and measure their body mass index. It was also a great experience because we were able to go around at the health fair and see what other community hospitals and caregivers were offering at the event. It was enjoyable being out in the community and participating in a different community based experience than we have been exposed to.

     Melissa and I have also figured the direction in which we are going for out Capstone project. We are going to be working with the Transition Nursing Program (TNP) that SWGHC already has established with adding our own spin on it. The TNP was established to decrease readmissions within 30 days of discharge for congestive heart failure (CHF). This is because starting this past October, Medicare began penalizing hospitals who had readmission rates of CHF higher than the national average, by refusing reimbursements throughout the whole hospital by 1%, which is a lot of money. The TNP program piloted through its first year and was deemed successful, so they continued again for a second year. What Melissa and I were curious about however, was is this a short term plan to make sure the hospital does not get penalized, or is this something that can work for a long term intervention. In order to do this, we decided to look at readmissions with CHF within a 30-60 day period, along with a 60-90 day period. We also decided that we were going to conduct a patient satisfaction survey in order to see how the patients who are enrolled within this program feel about it, and if they feel it was helpful or not. We are hoping to get good information back to report to the community nurses to see if there are any weakness in their program that could be improved.

     I feel very lucky to be at this site because it has been a very beneficial experience thus far. Look forward to the update on our results of our capstone!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm going back home to St. Thomas, USVI

My time at the Otis Moss Jr. Health Center went by very quickly. Overall I must say that I enjoyed my entire experience from waking up in the morning, waiting and catching the health-line bus and making transfers, taking the rapid, and walking in a few blocks in all day drizzling rain was funny. It was nice walking through the neighborhood to see all the similarities and differences of my home town. Our 3 session education classes on diabetes went well and had a great turnout. I had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with an older Cleveland generation. They shared historical information about the Fairfax neighborhood, the city of Cleveland, and Ohio. I really enjoyed hearing the stories of Karamu House, which is the Nations first African American theater.
Now as I sit here looking out my bedroom window I see light snow flurries slowly making it's way to land on the cold ground. Its actually winter! I hope it ends quickly and the temperature rises. I just remind myself of our warm weather, the noise of waves crashing, and the tranquil smell of the beach to keep me warm..:-) I can not forget my my friend, roomy, classmate, little sister, Toia. We had a ball from the beginning until the end. We never had a cold or any flu like symptoms until now. I can not talk, taking NyQuil every 6 hours, rubbing shiling oil (google it) on my skin and she's feeling under the It was real, it was fun, signing out from Euclid Ave. One Love - Loni

Finishing up in CMSD

Everything is coming to a close.  The project that my group did, and are completing, is a teacher resource for health education.  We created six lesson plans for kindergarten through second graders that correlate with the health curriculum designed by the CMSD.  Our lessons are on hand-washing, bullying, self-esteem, exercise, nutrition and weather safety.  We are hoping that these ready-made lesson plans will make it easier and more conducive for teachers to teach health to their classrooms. We are now trying to have them evaluated and put up on schoolnet, the CMSD's teacher resource website. 
This is our last week of screening, which is exciting. Afterwards we have the task of sending home all of the children's information to their parents.
I hope that we were able to help a lot of children in the district this semester and hopefully impact their future lives positively.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Emergency Preparedness Class

As my semester continued, I began working on my project and intervention. It was forming to involve an emergency preparedness class. The Health Department holds a grant for emergency preparedness within the community and had not performed a class or intervention in a year or so. I created a class to instruct to parents of small children. Then I was finally able to secure a date and a location for this project. It was to be at the Shaker Family Connections in Shaker Heights. I prepared the presentation and myself. I arrived that day to find out I would be presenting in a small room--a playroom. Dozens of kids will be running around while I teach this. This was my first personal experience with public health. The venue is here, and I must learn to adapt to the situation. In the end, I was able to hold the participants attention without getting in the way of the children. The intervention was completed and went off as a success. I learned the ability to think outside the box and be flexible in any situation is key to public health nursing.

Fire Department Open House

Working in the Shaker Heights Health Department has been an amazing experience. I have been able to help with everything from flu vaccine clinics to blood pressure screenings. One of the biggest events I was able to help put together this semester was the flu clinic at the Fire Department open house. My preceptor said once, "you can sit in your office all day, but you can't be a public health nurse unless you go to the people". The open house gave us that opportunity. The Fire Department put on an open house for fire safety and the like, and the health department set up shop giving out vaccines. The prep we had for this was crazy. We ensured it emulated the disaster response in case there was a pandemic flu, therefore it acted as an emergency preparedness drill. In the end, it was a lot of fun and we were able to vaccinate almost 100 parents and children. It also gave me a view into the life of a public health nurse rather quickly.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Good-bye Wuhan

I can’t believe I am already leaving Wuhan. My time in Wuhan was a once in a lifetime experience. Sophie and I made so many great nursing friends that have been so helpful and kind to us throughout our stay. During our final days in Wuhan, we had a good-bye dinner with our friends and enjoyed ice cream at Han Street. We visited some last minute sights like the famous Huang he lo also known as the Crane Tower; and shopped around Wuhan’s streets for souvenirs to take home to our friends and families. The opportunity to travel to Wuhan and to have the opportunity to learn and see traditional Chinese medicine will be unforgettable. The full immersion into the Chinese culture was such a good chance to better improve my Chinese speaking skills. Overall, immersion in Wuhan for 10 weeks gave me a whole new perspective in treatments, meet new friends, and a capstone of a lifetime.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Goodbye St. Thomas

I can't believe I leave St. Thomas in two days. The past three and a half months have flown by! I've swam with turtles, been to the Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico, and was at the Paradise Jam Basketball tournament at UVI. (Check CBS tomorrow at 9 to see me and Katie on TV!)

One of my favorite experiences was visiting the Baths on Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Island). Huge boulders line the beach which I had to crawl through to get to the other side. It took a lot of persuasion to get on top of this rock, but after seeing the view and jumping off the rock into the water it was completely worth it!

It was sad saying my goodbyes to my Hospice patient's family - doing home visits really allows family members to open up professionally to you. I have also completed my six week teaching session at the Family Planning Clinic. I taught men and women of all different ages about risk factors for domestic violence. It was truly amazing to see how passionate some of these women were about the issues, such as STDs and teenage pregnancy, and how they wanted to see change on the island. I have learned so much about the Virgin Islands culture from both of these experiences and how much it truly differs from the states.

Although I am looking forward to trading cafeteria meals for turkey and stuffing, I am sad to leave St. Thomas. I feel I have found a home here for the past semester, which you will know if you ever hear anyone call me a tourist! I recommend all juniors to have the experience Katie and I did. Until next time!

CMSD Screenings

Being a "senior leader" for the CMSD height, weight and BMI screenings has been a completely different experience from participating in the screenings as a junior. I was completely unaware of all the work that goes into pre and post screening and all of the data management that is required to ensure the data is accurate. It has been an interesting experience screening all of the 70+ schools in CMSD and seeing the environmental differences and the behavioral differences in the children among different schools. At some screenings, the senior leaders just oversee everything and make sure everything is running smoothly, and some days the seven of us will go do screenings on our own, which seems to be way less chaotic. For the most part the screenings run pretty smoothly, although we have encountered many problems and obstacles along the way. Things as simple as improperly uploading the ipads for schools or having all the wrong paperwork for your school and having nothing to work with. We all have learned from our mistakes and we were able to problem solve and figure something out when we do run into technical issues.
It has also been a different experience dealing with the kindergarten and third grade students this year. I think because we screen so often and have dealt with so many children, I've noticed myself becoming a lot more comfortable around kids and am learning how to interact appropriately with them. Being an only child and the youngest cousin on either side of the family, I never really had to learn how to deal with young kids until nursing school. Even in my pediatric rotation I just could not seem to grasp how to interact with certain age groups. It is interesting that I have become so much more comfortable with children throughout this experience and it is one of the main things that I think I will take away from this capstone.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wrapping it up at Otis Moss

The past weeks at Otis Moss have been a great experience for me.  I went in to the experience excited about reaching out to the Cleveland community in ways that I hadn't before, and now that my experience is coming to a close, I can say that I will leave equally excited for what the future at Otis Moss holds.

Today was the last day of the three-part diabetes class "Diabetes and You" that my Capstone group organized along with the help of a Certified Diabetes Educator and a Registered Dietitian, and this class provided a wonderful end to a very successful series.  Today, the FPB students opened the class with a segment on foot care before moving on to discussing diabetes medications.

The biggest hurdle we faced when planning these classes was recruiting patients.  Classes like this had been held at Otis Moss before, but with very poor turn outs.  When we set out to do this project, we considered the best way to motivate patients to attend the classes.  We utilized a system of posting flyers in neighborhood churches and convenience stores as well as in newsletters, but we also pinpointed specific patients who had consistently elevated Hemoglobin A1C readings.  Patients we couldn't reach by phone were sent a letter explaining their A1C results and their meanings, and then inviting them to the class.  Many patients confirmed their attendance via phone in the weeks ahead of the class.

There is a consistent 50% "no-show" rate in the area, so we were slightly apprehensive about what kind of a turn out we would get.  Combining that with heavy rain on two of the three class days, prospects did not look promising. Our preceptor also warned us to only expect half of the people we had confirmed for each class.  We were pleasantly surprised when we had over 15 patients attend each class!

The classes sparked great discussion between the patients and healthcare providers about how to manage their diabetes, and after collecting the evaluations at the end of each class, we had many positive reviews, including "This is the best class I've ever taken" and "Please have more of these [classes]".  I think that through these classes patients were motivated to take charge of their healthcare and make lifestyle changes.  Today we asked patients what they had been doing differently since the first class, and many said that they had started reading food labels more frequently and were counting carbohydrates at each meal.  One patient said that he had started a daily jogging routine!

Through these classes, we have provided the staff at Otis Moss a template about how to host and plan a diabetes class like this in the future, so that the Fairfax neighborhood can continue to have better outcomes regarding diabetes management.  I have also learned a great deal about planning large projects and utilizing multiple resources to educate patients.  I have really enjoyed my time at Otis Moss and will be able to look back and use what I have learned to impact my future practice in a positive way.

Contraceptive Education at CDPH

Ever since completing OB class and clinical last fall, I have known that I want to work in women's health. I was fortunate enough this summer to intern on a labor & delivery unit, and was very excited to find out that my Capstone was in a reproductive health clinic. While at the clinic we mostly work with patients coming in for STI testing and treatment, we are funded for providing certain birth control, as well. I enjoy teaching women of all ages about the different contraception options they may be interested in, as well as counseling them on their final choice. Not surprisingly, the main focus of our Capstone project has been about reproductive health, primarily in the teenage population.
One component of said project was the creation of a bulletin board geared towards adolescents about long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs), specifically intra-uterine devices (ParaGard and Mirena), "the implant" (Implanon), and "the shot" (DepoProvera). While another member of my group served as the creative genius behind the aesthetic design of the board, I appreciated taking part in researching the content. Though at the time I was pretty familiar with how each contraception method worked, I was able to apply my nursing skills even further when helping to create the patient information sheets. Especially because our target population is so young, we had to rephrase or explain all the medical terminology and word all the educational components in a manner that would be understandable by teens. The bulletin board is now complete and serves as an eye-catching attraction in the waiting room of the clinic.
The biggest part of our Capstone was a Halloween party to teach teenagers about reproductive health. At the party were booths, each with a different theme. I gladly created an interactive way to teach teenage girls about their options of birth control. The participants took turns pulling a model of a contraceptive out of a bag; with each one, they told the group what they knew about it, and I filled in the rest. At this time, I was also able to dispel any myths about different kinds of contraception and counsel on the impact of each kind of contraception on one's life. Teaching these young teens about something I am very passionate about was so fulfilling. I was happy to see their faces light up when they learned something new or made a new insight.
As we are coming to an end of our Capstone experience here at the Cleveland Department of Public Health,  I am able to look back fondly at the differences I have made in others and the knowledge and wisdom I have gained from them, too.
Teen Halloween at CDPH

When we had our very first meeting with the staff here at CDPH, they already had an idea of what they were interested in having us do for our capstone project.  We were to work with a Masters of Public Health student on a Teen Halloween educational program.  It would be a party with food, music, prizes, but also a healthy dose of reproductive health education.
All semester we planned our educational activities.  We determined that each FPB student would focus on a different area of reproductive health and have an activity about it.  Leah focused on different forms of birth control.  AJ focused on condom use and STI prevention, while I focused on teaching about the actual STIs. For my activity I had a "wheel of misfortune", where the participant would spin and if they landed on an STI we would discuss it.  If they landed on "got tested" or "used a condom" they got another raffle ticket for our prize drawing at the end.  The activity actually went pretty well and the teens actually seemed pretty interested.  They were really interested in the gross pictures of STIs.
All in all the event turned out to be more successful than I thought it was going to be.   Though we didn't get a huge number of participants, the ones we did have were very interested and receptive to our education efforts.  The most interesting participant we had was an 18 year old who already had two children.  She was really interested in talking to Leah about contraceptive methods and I feel like our event really helped her make decisions for her reproductive health.  Though we may not have made a radical change in public health with our project, we did make a small impact in the lives of a few teens, which to me was very rewarding. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

One Sight and Cooking Demonstration in CMSD

     This semester has gone very quickly and I have had a great time in the CMSD. One of my favorite moments was helping at the One Site Vision Center. The One Sight program provides glasses to all student is the Cleveland school district that need them. In the first few weeks of the semester we screened students to see if they qualified to go to the vision center. At the vision center we screened students for vision acuity as well as for glaucoma.  Besides screening we made glasses by cutting out lenses on machines, assembling and cleaning the glasses. It was very fun being able to see what all of our hard work had accomplished as we made hundreds of glasses for students. Besides the One Sight vision center we have been working on our project at Michael R. White Stem School. Next week we will be having a healthy cooking demonstration for the parents at Michael R. White.  I am really excited for this demonstration because no matter how much education the kids receive on healthy food without parents at home providing them with healthy choices the children’s choices will not improve. I am excited for the rest of the semester and I hope our project turns out successful. 

OneSight Vision Clinic

One of my favorite things that we have done so far this semester was spending several days in the OneSight Vision Clinic. Since we spent so much time in the CMSD schools doing prescreenings for this clinic, it was a very cool experience to be able to be with the students when they completed the process. When we would see them at the schools we would tell them how exciting the vision clinic was and how great the glasses are that they would be receiving, but we only said this because we had been told by others. So when we actually got to go and see for ourselves, we could say these things with more certainty. The first day we were there, the OneSight staff, which was composed of people employed at various optical commercial shops from around the nation, was slightly wary of us. We had been told that they had worked with volunteers previously that were not extremely helpful, and mostly sat around and took up space. However, it didn't take long for us to prove that we were much better than that. We helped in all sections of the workshop, both on the clinic side, where the students were given a string of different eye exams, and on the lab side, where the glasses were actually made. I have been to the eye doctor only a few times, so everything was pretty foreign to me. And of course I had never worked in a lab making glasses before, so that was all new. Once we made it clear that we wanted to help and were willing to learn something new and do any job, the staff really opened up to us. I spent several of the days working in the tonometry station, which is where every student is tested for increased intraocular pressure (IOP). An increased IOP can be a warning sign for glaucoma, and would need a doctor's attention. I was able to meet many of the people working for OneSight, and just really enjoyed being a part of the process in the clinic. I am glad we were able to have this opportunity, and was so impressed by what we helped accomplish in the two weeks that we took part in the program.

Michael R. White & the Case Farm

It’s so crazy to know that the semester and our capstone experience are coming to a close. I feel like we got started on our capstones forever ago, so it’s weird to imagine them ending and how our lives will be afterward. This semester has been so different than any other semester at Case so far.
During the third and fourth weeks of October, we went to the vision clinic for which we had been screening so many CMSD kids (our CMSD contact estimates we screened over 1,000 kids) all throughout the semester. The clinic was set up in a community center near Tremont and the first thing we saw when we drove up every day was the huge OneSight bus, which is very distinctive because it’s white and blue and green and plastered with their logo and pictures of smiling children wearing their brand new glasses that were provided by the organization.
On days that we walked into the building after the first round of CMSD kids had already gone through the full gamut of eye tests (muscle control, glaucoma, dilation, visual acuity, color and depth perception, and autorefraction) is a hallway chockfull of kids sitting with the funny black glasses you get after having your eyes dilated. There were OneSight people running all over the place because every day was just a tiny bit understaffed. The main exam room was an absolute madhouse, and was lit with weird orange lighting that you eventually got used to but which was very jarring when you first walked into the room. It was very cool to see kids get shuffled through the entire eye testing process (some were super nervous and uncertain, some could barely contain their excitement about getting glasses) and pick out their frames, especially since we had screened so many beforehand. It was awesome to see the final product. We helped out in the lab a lot as well, especially in the afternoons. OneSight had all of the materials with them right there every day, and we all got to learn and do one or two steps in the process of physically making the glasses. The last thing was boxing them up to send to the schools, which had a nice sense of finality to it.  
Our second farm trip with the Michael R. White 6th graders (we’re going once more at the end of this month with the 5th graders) was today and we had so much fun preparing for it and carrying it out. The kids were even better behaved today than they were last time, so the whole thing went off without a hitch. Because it’s starting to get very chilly out in Cleveland and we’re well into November, we decided that a lesson about growing winter crops with some Thanksgiving tie-ins would be fun, appropriate, and educational for the kids.
The first time the 6th graders came to the farm, they seemed excited to be there. There was minimal misbehaving and a large number of the students were enthusiastically actively participating in the lessons and activities. Because we ended up with some extra time during the last field trip, we planned and created a bingo game based on today’s and our previous lesson plans, in order to serve the dual purpose of keeping the kids engaged and occupied and also reviewing the material with them.  
Like last time at the farm, we brought a healthy snack for them to try that pertained to the day’s lesson. The last time we came (at the end of October) we fed them apples and honey, because part of that day’s lesson was about honey. Today we gave them carrots and hummus, because carrots are a cold-weather crop and we wanted to introduce them to a vegetable dip that is healthier than ranch dressing since our project is about healthy eating. They also got to tour the hoop house, mushroom cellar, and greenhouse, and even help harvest some sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions! The kids had a great time and everybody left the farm on a good note.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Michael R. White and the CWRU Farm

My time in the Cleveland Public Schools is flying by. We have continued our work in Michael R. White’s with the 5th and 6th grade students. A few weeks ago we gave the 6th graders their pre-test for our evaluation piece of our capstone paper. Last Friday we had our first Farm field trip with the 6th graders. The lesson plan was on MyPlate nutrition information, honey, sugar, and bees. Once the kids arrived we gave three presentations and they all went very well. Although some kids were getting fidgety and distracted, they were very easy to redirect. After the presentations we split the kids into two groups and began our hands on activities.  Half of the kids went to tour the honey bee hive to see how honey is made and the other half of the class stayed with us and had the chance to taste test apples dipped in honey and have a discussion about nutrition.  Overall, I feel that the field trip with the 6th grade class went very well and I am very excited to have our second field trip and see the post test results this week.
Tomorrow we will be having our final 6th grade field trip of the semester. We will be presenting cold weather crops and the different ways they are grown at the farm. We also created a fun BINGO game for the kids to test their knowledge. I am very excited for this presentation because it has a Thanksgiving theme that I think the kids will really enjoy!
Unfortunately, with the bad weather we had last week the University Farm lost power and we had to cancel the 5th grade field trip. After throwing some dates around we finally arrived at a date that would work for us and the 5th graders and the trip is rescheduled for November 30th. According to the teacher of the class there are many behavior problems within this group of kids. After hearing this information, it made me a little nervous about the trip. So look out for an update about this trip next time!
The other project we were able to work on right after fall break was the One Sight Eye Clinic.  This was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The first day we worked in the eye glasses lab.  Here we were able to cut the lenses, help measure frames, and also assemble the glasses.  This was awesome to see because after screening a lot of these kids it was nice to see what the clinic had to offer them. Another volunteer day I was placed at the auto-refraction station. At first, I was in charge of holding the kids heads in the auto-refractor.  After a few classes got through the station, I was given the opportunity to run the auto-refractor. The auto-refractor was like a video game and was a lot of fun to operate. It really felt like we were needed at this clinic and people seemed to be very grateful for our help.