Outreach, Students

‘Passport to Health’ Encourages Children To Be More Active, Healthier

Eight dental and medical students from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University have spent the past month helping area children become more active and make healthier food choices.

In the top row, from left to right, are Nicoleta Agrigoroae-Bolos, Katie Hawn, Jessica Watson, Homa Azargoon, Mrinali Patel and Ashley Schaaf. Brad Perez and Jennifer Blakely are also pictured. Agrigoroae-Bolos, Hawn, Azargoon, Schaaf and Blakely are UNC-Chapel Hill dental students.

North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows recently organized the “Passport to Health” program.

“Passport to Health,” involving third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Durham’s Lakewood Elementary School, has featured interactive lessons focused on nutrition, exercise and oral health. The program is a part of the North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows Program and concludes Dec. 7.

Participating students have also been asked to eat one fruit and vegetable and exercise for 15 minutes each day and brush their teeth well twice a day. Parents then have signed the child’s “passport” next to each accomplished health goal.

On Dec. 7, each participant will receive a T-shirt and jump rope. In addition, one student will be selected from each grade to receive a bicycle and helmet.

The following students and North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows organized “Passport to Health”: Nicoleta Agrigoroae-Bolos, Homa Azargoon, Jennifer Blakely, Katie Hawn and Ashley Schaaf, from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry; Jessica Watson, from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine; and Mrinali Patel and Brad Perez, from the Duke University School of Medicine.

“By providing health education to these young children, we are addressing the root causes of many preventable diseases that could affect them later in their life,” said Agrigoroae-Bolos. “We really hope that all the healthy habits conveyed by our project will bear fruit for decades to come.”

The North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows Program, inspired by the life and ideals of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, serves to strengthen health professional students’ commitment to public service and build their leadership skills.

More information on the North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows Program is atwww.schweitzerfellowship.org