[box]Heather Dimock, a physician assistant student at Quinnipiac University, leads a yoga class at ACES Mill Road School in North Haven as part of the Quinnipiac physician assistant students’ program to teach students about the importance of health literacy and physical fitness. Photo by Jamie DeLoma.[/box]
Quinnipiac University physician assistant students are spending the academic year teaching health literacy and innovative physical fitness techniques to students at ACES Mill Road School in North Haven.
During a recent visit, the 65 Quinnipiac students challenged the elementary school students to a half-dozen physical fitness activities – ranging from relay races and basketball drills to hula-hooping and dance competitions.
“It’s a great opportunity to teach the ACES Mill Road School students about health, wellness and literacy,” said Cynthia Lord, clinical associate professor and director of the physician assistant program in the School of Health Sciences at Quinnipiac.
Over the past eight years, she said she has watched the students make better health decisions while encouraging their families to do the same as a result of the Quinnipiac students’ weekly visits. During each visit, the students read with the children.
“Hopefully this year-long experience gives our students the ‘ah-ha’ moment that their relationship with patients can extend well beyond the office and hospital,” Lord said. “Understanding how people live their lives gives physician assistants a better understanding of how they could help them.”
Kerin Berger, a first-year physician assistant student, said she enjoys reading with the students and teaching health and wellness skills.
“It’s nice for us to experience working with the children,” she said. “So much of our job is interacting with people, and it’s important for us to do things like this to better grasp the big picture.”
Jesse Oliver, a fourth-grade student at the elementary school, said he loves working with the Quinnipiac students.
“I am really learning a lot,” he said. “They are fun to be around.”