One of the greatest assets a community has are its schools. With the ever-increasing rising costs of healthcare, Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School Medical Careers and Dental Assisting students wanted to help the community to find and be aware of the many medical resources that are available to them. The students sought to foster participation in the community through a community-wide health promotion called, Tri-County Take Care, so members could educate themselves in finding the answers to concerns they may have regarding their health.
The students in the Dental Assisting and Medical Careers vocational programs were challenged with working in each of their individual vocation to create and research healthcare opportunities to educate the larger Tri-County Community. The goal of the initiative is to provide their Tri-County classmates, their families and the community with health information, tips, and resources to be better informed leading to a healthier community. The Computer Information Systems (CIS) career vocation was then brought in to create the website that would house the information.
Under the supervision of licensed vocational teachers, students acted as the project managers in order to ensure the website met certain specifications. “Tri-County students were really the driving force behind this project,” said Ariel Dagan, Library Media Specialist at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School. “We were there to provide support as needed, but they were able to use their prior knowledge, research skills, collaboration techniques, creative thinking and personal investment to come up with an informative website that the members in our community can benefit from basic health information.”
To assess the community’s health needs, knowledge and comfort level on the subject matter, the students began the project by conducting a community-wide survey. The assessment provided data on which topics to address health concerns. Through interpreting the data, Medical Careers focused on the topic of flu and prevention as well as heart health. Dental Assisting opted to look at how periodontal disease can affect the entire body and how some systemic diseases, such as diabetes, can impact the oral cavity.
Once all the information was compiled, CIS coded/designed the Tri-County Take Care website that provides interactive information to the community. The website also contains demonstration videos and fact sheets with the relevant health topics. To access the websitego to https://tricountytakecare.wixsite.com/takecare.
“The support and nurture of the students by the Tri-County instructors provides these types of initiatives to come together and help our students understand how the education they are getting directly impacts the people within their community,” said Dagan. “In addition, a project like this provides the students a window to see the opportunities that have a direct relationship on future careers that serve the people who live in our greater Tri County community and beyond (through online impact)”.
The students are excited about the possibility of influencing the community with their knowledge. In fact, this year Dental Assisting students are engaged with Early Education preschoolers and their families to train them on oral health. Forthcoming, a brochure is being designed that will be distributed throughout the school and in the community to spread awareness.
Opportunities presented by communities offer Tri-County students valuable real-world experience that plays a part in their career-focused technical education. Students are able to see the relevance of their academic and career skills that they learn in school and use these skills throughout their career.