Today@Sam Article

Student Doctors Teach Elementary Students Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Feb. 16, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd


By Luanne Brownd

Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (SHSU-COM) Health Explorers conduct a monthly outreach program for third grade students at Reaves Elementary in Conroe Independent School District.

By incorporating active, educational games, the SHSU-COM team of student doctors teach the importance of establishing and maintaining healthy habits and lifestyles. In addition to increasing health education and awareness for the children, the extracurricular outreach effort creates an educational opportunity with a pediatric population. 

“From this program, we have seen that children are willing to learn about healthy living if we just take the time to teach and encourage,” said Dr. Natasha Shah, faculty advisor and assistant professor of pediatrics. “Health Explorers has been a great way to get kids active, get SHSU-COM student doctors excited about pediatrics and provide quality health education and prevention for our local community.”  


The educational idea was born from Shah’s conversations with student doctors who had an interest in teaching healthy eating and lifestyle habits to benefit the future generation.  

Joyce McCauley, executive director of the SHSU Center for Community Engagement connected the group to Reaves Elementary’s nurse Mary Jo Gillam, who made connections for communicating with the school’s principal and providing curriculum guidance for teaching the students.   

“We love working with this population and teaching young minds for the benefit of their future. As student doctors, we enjoy taking a break from studying and being active with these students. It is fulfilling to see young students learn, and they get excited when we are here to teach them,” said student doctor Christina Fidone. 

In keeping with SHSU-COM's mission of providing health care workers for rural East Texas, Shah said the program could potentially expand to rotating between a few elementary schools in rural areas.  

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