BU Nursing Students Provide Community Health Education

For Immediate Release

November 18, 2005

BLOOMSBURG – A group of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania nursing students is getting first-hand experience in public health while educating residents of two local communities.

The students will hold two healthy heart fairs this weekend, both open to the public free of charge. On Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., nursing students will give blood pressure screenings and provide information on cardiovascular disease at the Sunbury Market House. On Sunday, Nov. 20, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., students will provide blood pressure and body mass index screenings at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Danville. In Danville, participants will receive report cards to record results and a healthy brunch will be served.

Earlier this semester, two groups of 20 nursing students assessed specific health risks in Sunbury and Danville as part of the community health nursing course. Monica Masemer of East Berlin and Kristy Nariskus of Bloomsburg are team leaders for the Danville project; Kasie Taylor of Red Lion and Jennifer Armstrong of Doylestown are team leaders for Sunbury.

The Danville team found that heart disease and childhood obesity were the biggest health concerns in that area. As part of their educational program, they participated in the Danville Halloween Parade where they provided information on childhood obesity and created educational games to teach children the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods.

The Sunbury team learned that cardiovascular disease and teen-age issues, such as alcohol use and suicide, were the leading health problems in the community. On Nov. 14, the team held a health fair at the Sunbury Youth Center focused on teen health issues.

Masemer said that the experience of working within the community has been valuable. “These projects allow us to get out into the community, to interact with people and bring attention to an issue that we have researched and feel needs to be addressed,” she said.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students and offers 65 bachelor’s, 18 master’s and one doctoral degree.