Fiona Geier, Gospel Salem Ministry Church

While taking my Health Promotion Program Planning class with Professor Free, I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to get involved with the center for community engagement and service. I have always had an interest in community service, and I was excited to find out that I would be able to create a health promotion program for a community center in need. Last year, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Martha’s Table on 14th Street for my Issues in Women’s Health class. For this class, my group’s program was created to teach prevention and treatment for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer for the Gospel Salem Ministry Church in Silver Spring Maryland. This church is multi-functional and serves as a community center because it houses not only multiple different church services, but is also home to a daycare, school, and karate center.

It was a great experience to create surveys, collect data and establish a program to further inform the members of this community about cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. This program was created to mainly focus on the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, but to also teach ways on how to treat these diseases. The reason why my group chose to focus more on the prevention of these diseases rather than the treatment is because these community members where primarily from Africa and from the survey, we gathered that they had little to no knowledge on these diseases.

The program we created will take three weeks to complete and will take place on Sundays after the church service. Each Sunday will be focus on a different disease, and once the church service is over, there will be an introductory presentation and a group activity to enhance the knowledge of the diseases. Many of the members of this community are not accustomed to the American culture, and my group thought it would be a good idea to create activities that could enlighten them on the American health culture.

After creating this program and almost completing this class, I have a much greater appreciation for health promotion program planners. It takes a lot of time and effort when it comes to finding a target audience, picking a topic in which they need help learning about, and creating a program to benefit them. I have learned that many theories, models and marketing tactics that are incorporated into creating health promotion programs. When originally taking this class, I had no idea how in-depth health promotion programs had to be. Overall, I had a great experience creating this program for the Salem Gospel Ministry Church. Taking this class has given me a glimpse of what I could be doing once I graduate. I now have a greater appreciation and I am even more excited to start my career after college. It has been such a pleasure volunteering for the Salem Gospel Ministry Church and finding ways to further enhance the knowledge on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

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