Approximately 300,000 U.S residents die each year because of preventable weight-related health problems. This is of particular concern to residents of northwest Indiana since more than two-thirds are overweight. Moreover, approximately one-fourth of children in northwest Indiana, ages 6-17, are overweight. Fortunately, help is on the way—the Northwest Indiana United Way organizations, assisted by a matching grant from the Lilly Endowment have awarded an obesity education grant of $15,000 to the long-standing Mini-Medical School program run by Indiana University.
For the last 10 years, Indiana University School of Medicine Northwest Center for Medical Education has sponsored the Mini-Medical School, a series of free public lectures aimed at providing medical and health information to the citizens of northwest Indiana.
According to Patrick Bankston, Ph.D., assistant dean and director of the Indiana University School of Medicine Northwest Center for Medical Education, “This United Way-Lilly educational grant allows us to enhance our community service by collaboration with the School of Nursing on the IU Northwest campus and with the Methodist Hospitals of Northwest Indiana. We believe that this unique partnership of educators and health-care providers will help residents of Northwest Indiana to better understand the health risks associated with obesity and will empower them to get control over their own health with proper exercise and diet.”
Linda Rooda, Ph.D., dean of the IU Northwest School of Nursing and Health Professions, is the project director of this funded Mini-Medical School series. “This obesity Mini-Medical School series consists of four consecutive weekly evening sessions, held on the IU Northwest campus. The four sessions will address separate health aspects related to obesity. This grant will allow us to hold two separate Mini-Medical Schools, one in the month of October and one in the following spring,” Rooda said.
The free Mini-Medical school sessions will address multiple health concerns related to obesity: the role of diet and exercise in preventing heart disease, and in the development of diabetes and metabolic syndrome in affected individuals. Also, sessions will include lectures from Methodist Hospitals dietitians on proper nutrition, as well as healthy cooking demonstrations by chefs from Methodist Hospitals Food and Medical Nutrition Department.
For more information, please contact Laura Keithley at (219) 981-5655.