Doctor Oz Inspires Coordinators at February Professional Development (PD) Week
It couldn’t have been colder outside, but coordinators warmed up the auditorium at Fashion Institute High School in New York City on February 18th, with their passion and excitement. After all, it isn’t every day you get to meet with Dr. Oz, famed heart surgeon, television host and HealthCorps co-founder, and ask him direct questions.
The late afternoon session started off with Juan Brea, Chief Operating Officer of HealthCorps, sharing some general information about the organization. Board members Jordan Davis and Alex Markowitz offered some insights on how best to maximize the two year coordinator experience, and they also shared their personal reasons for choosing to serve on HealthCorps Board of Directors.
One of the stories that Dr. Oz shared revealed his own teen epiphany moment, and how it helped to shape the HealthCorps model. He relayed that that one of his first lessons with a small group of teens was a simple nutrition lesson– he compared eating white bread to eating a Snickers Bar. The bread converts to sugar, similar to the high sugar peanut chocolate snack, and drastically raises blood sugar, and is then followed by a precipitous fall in blood sugar and energy. The kids immediately understood the health implications, but more importantly, they took the information home to their parents. Dr. Oz told the coordinators that in that moment he realized that teens are going to bug their parents through the next few years of their lives anyway, so why not have those pester-the-parents and butt head moments, over health issues like better nutrition in the home?
Dr. Oz suggested to the coordinators that HealthCorps is about “putting possibilities on the radar.” Since coordinators are somewhat close in age to the teens they teach, they have an opportunity to support the students as they “navigate the tunnel of life, with all its turmoil and challenges.” He also pointed out that it is the coordinators’ role to personalize the HealthCorps curriculum to the circumstances. If a teen is dealing with food deserts, and desperate financial circumstances, nutrition, and fitness may take a back role to a conversation about day-to-day survival.
One major suggestion from Dr. Oz was the power of deputizing students, so they become ambassadors for HealthCorps. He emphasized that the curriculum of HealthCorps offers the building blocks for change, but it’s really “feelings that change minds.” He continued, “Use science first – then ask their opinion – then allow them ownership.”
During the question and answer period there was a robust discussion on a host of topics. The evening ended with a series of group photos, Dr. Oz front and center beaming among the coordinators.
And don’t forget to check out one of the latest “A Day in the Life….” Coordinator videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLY05JxZoSB3sx6yOO7VWXAYxSH4TN4j_V
-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach