Health education and promotion programs provide educational resources or opportunities for promoting preventive lifestyle behaviors and the self-management of disease.
Student volunteers facilitate classes with Chicago Public High School students from the near West side. Volunteers educate students on the five most prevalent diseases in their communities and build the student’s capacity to be health promoters on their prevention strategies among neighbors, family, and friends. Course materials are prepared for volunteers and include each disease’s diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and context in public health.
The concept of ‘wellness’ is measured against standards spelled out by the World Health Organization: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. With that definition as a guide, the team from Rush University and a Wellness Advisory Council comprised of residents, have planned events that address the complex factors at play in the social determinants of health. Together Rush students and Oakley residents are working to find original strategies to confront barriers preventing health and wellness, and to creatively make demands and take action that solves these problems. Every Monday, presentations and activities take place in the Community Kitchen (near the Sue Gin Clinic) from 6-7:30pm. The first Monday of every month the scheduled activity includes a community dinner provided by RCSIP. To date, activities have included presentations from doctors, nurses, community organizers, film screenings and discussions, self-defense and gardening workshops. Oakley Square is located at 2333 West Jackson Blvd.
The Kidney Task Force aims to increase education and advocacy among community members regarding chronic kidney disease (CKD). Volunteers work with Rush staff and local stakeholders to assist in free health screenings, including blood pressure monitoring, blood glucose readings and urinalysis. Student leaders work with Rush staff to distribute health information including what CKD looks like, what you can do to help prevent it or address it and the impact nutrition has on kidney health. The Kidney Task Force works with existing support networks to help ensure the reach of the program is as effective as possible.
RU Caring has three main goals:
- Serving the uninsured and underserved population of the city of Chicago.
- Providing educational clinical experience with underserved populations for members of the Rush community
- Creating a forum for interdisciplinary interaction by combining the talents of students from across the university, impacting the community through diverse initiatives.
A major component of RU Caring is its annual Back to School Health Fair which provides basic vitals checks; physical exams; dental, vision, and hearing screenings; immunizations; disease screenings; health and nutrition education; health benefits enrollment; and referrals for follow-up care. Additionally, RU Caring provides a platform for new community initiatives based on need and that are sustainable.