Lancaster Medical School helps local schoolchildren with healthy lifestyle advice

Year 6 Medical Training Day on campus with the Cathedral Catholic Primary School
Year 6 Medical Training Day on campus with the Cathedral Catholic Primary School

Staff and students from Lancaster Medical School have been teaching health promotion and basic life support to children from five local primary schools.

The five schools included Ellel St John’s Primary, Willow Lane Community Primary and Cathedral Primary School in Lancaster, Kirkland and Catterall St Helen’s Primary in Churchtown and Garstang Community Primary.

Medical students and GP tutors Dr Debbie Clift, Dr Lee Hudson and Dr Pippa Eccles from Lancaster Medical School either visited the schools or else invited the children onto campus with the help of Lancaster University Students’ Union.

Dr Clift said: “Cardiovascular Health is an important public health priority locally and in the North-West. The goal was to give lifestyle advice to encourage young people and their families to adopt healthy lifestyle habits while orientating our students to the importance of health promotion and disease prevention.”

The medical students worked in small groups with the support of GP tutors to prepare presentations on three topics; diet and exercise, drugs and alcohol and the heart and CPR.

Gemma Lewis, Year 6 teacher from Willow Lane Community Primary School, said: The session was fantastic - the interactive quiz starter was great to engage the children with a challenge that got the children thinking about the topic. Brilliant animations and articulate explanations of the complex concepts enabled all the children to engage. The practical activities - learning CPR, learning the functions of the heart through movement and doing exercise to find heart rates - were thoroughly enjoyed by our children.”

Cerys Wilson, Year 2 Medical Student a Lancaster University, said: “It was lovely to see the children have fun and engaging whilst learning about important topics such as drugs, smoking and alcohol. Seeing a difference in their knowledge from the beginning to the end of a short teaching session was very rewarding.”

Finty Royle, Year 2 Medical Student said: “I really enjoyed the health promotion in schools module as it was an opportunity to learn in an alternative way. I loved meeting the children and seeing them enjoy our presentation.”

Dr Clift from Lancaster Medical School said: ”Working with the schools has provided an opportunity to engage in important health discussions with children as they transition into secondary school and encourage them to develop positive relationships with GPs and other health professionals. It has also promoted university education and Medicine as an accessible career for those who may not otherwise consider it, through near-peer role modelling. We look forward to being able to work with more schools in the future.”

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