LA Healthy Kids Fair promotes healthcare education

The L.A. Healthy Kids Fair, hosted by WorldMed, promoted healthcare education to elementary school children and their families Sunday in Alumni Park.

The fair aimed to provide a fun and informative day for elementary school children and their families through activities and informational stands.

According to their Facebook page, WorldMed is a student organization based at the Keck School of Medicine dedicated to learning about health issues, raising awareness about these issues in communities in order to enact change.

As the co-director of philanthropy of the graduate division of WorldMed, Briana Shipley, a graduate student in the masters of science in global medicine program, was one of the main coordinators of the event.

“A lot of what we learn in our classes is that a big problem within healthcare isn’t just access, it’s education within access,” Shipley said. “So we wanted to give an opportunity to the community, kids and their families, to learn how to improve their health care as well as have fun.”

Johara Morovati, treasurer for the undergraduate division of WorldMed, also agreed that in helping the graduate part of WorldMed with their events, the USC community can better promote healthcare education in the surrounding community.

“I hope that [participants] gain a better understanding on how to improve their health from various aspects and also know that it’s feasible,” Morovati said.

The fair featured five different stations: nutrition, mental health, diabetes, oral health and myths. Children learned through various activities at each of the booths.

Ada Okoye and Diana Xu, juniors majoring in business administration, volunteered at the nutrition booth, which had boxes of cereal designed to teach children and their families healthy eating.

Okoye, who learned about the event through the Black Alumni Association, volunteered because she thought it was important to educate children about nutrition and exercise as early as possible.

“I thought it was a good opportunity because I’m really into health and fitness,” Okoye said. “It’s really important for children to learn it at a young age because I don’t think I had that until it came to me in college. When you start earlier, it’ll help you live a healthier lifestyle earlier on.”

Xu, who learned about the event through Circle K, agreed, saying she hopes families learned how important it is to be healthy.

“Nowadays, I feel like a lot of kids are on their electronic devices which we never had when we were their age,” Xu said. “It’s especially important to learn nutrition and exercise.”

Okoye and Xu were two of many people who volunteered to work at the various stations. Shipley appreciated the Trojan Family’s enthusiasm for their program.

“It was very nice to have so many volunteers sign up,” Shipley said. “For us, it isn’t just about the community — we also wanted to bring [the Health Sciences Campus] and [the University Park Campus] together and be a more cohesive force.”

In addition to the health education initiatives, WorldMed integrated other activities for the children to promote a healthy lifestyle. The event also included food, raffle prizes, giveaways and a photobooth. Students from the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance explained the benefits of dance and music at their booth, and student-athletes played games with the children.

“If it’s not fun, then people are not going to want to improve and implement what they learn in their own lives,” Shipley said.

To market their inaugural Healthy Kids Fair, WorldMed reached out to local institutions including schools in South and East Los Angeles areas, Boys and Girls Clubs and USC resources such as the JEP house and outreach coordinators at the Health Sciences Campus.

Shipley hopes that at the end of the L.A. Healthy Kids Fair, families take away lessons on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

“We want them to realize that living a healthy lifestyle is very doable,” Shipley said. “It doesn’t matter what your socioeconomic status is or how much time you have. It’s something that you have to make a priority.”