Harlem Youth Participate in Halloween-Inspired “Skeletons, Bones and Joints” Program at Touro College’s Fourth Annual “Project Aspire” Event

Date: November 04, 2010
Greg Wagner, a student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem, shows P.S. 197 students an X-ray of a hand.
Greg Wagner, a student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem, shows P.S. 197 students an X-ray of a hand.
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Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Health Sciences, and College of Pharmacy Teach Students About Bone Health, Nutrition, and Anatomy.

New York, N.Y. – Students and faculty from three schools within Touro College visited elementary school students at P.S. 197 in Harlem just days before Halloween to teach the children about bone health, candy safety, and healthy eating habits. More than 200 students, pre-Kindergarten through third grade, wore their own white lab coats and had hands-on access to life-sized skeleton models that are used in medical schools at Touro’s Fourth Annual Project Aspire - “Skeletons, Bones and Joints.”

Through a display and interactive exercise, the students learned about the importance of Vitamin D for building healthy bones and the dangers of too much sugar from Touro College of Pharmacy faculty in Harlem. Project Aspire partner, the Natural Gourmet Institute, which teaches aspiring chefs and individuals to prepare healthy food, had professionally-trained chefs on hand who provided healthy seasonal foods, including homemade gluten-free treats. The Institute’s participation in the event was sponsored by The Palette Fund, a foundation that supports education about the role good nutrition plays in healthy lifestyles.

“Now in our fourth year, Project Aspire has grown exponentially. We see new and returning children who express incredible curiosity and interest in their own health, such as the importance of good nutrition and exercise,” said Nicholas A. Aiello, Ph.D., education director of Project Aspire. “The students are more enthusiastic each year, and we are committed to working with these future healthcare professionals who one day will give back to the Harlem community and society in general.”

Touro graduate students in the School of Health Sciences and the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem taught the children about human anatomy using skeleton models provided by the medical school. P.S. 197 students learned how the skeleton protects vital organs, and how to maintain a healthy, calcium-rich diet to maintain healthy bones.

The Touro schools actively reach out to children in Harlem, beginning in elementary school, in order to spark interest in health science-related careers. As part of their mission, Touro’s schools encourage students to embrace science education at an early age as part of an effort to improve diversity in high-level health care professions and to provide youngsters with the educational tools necessary to achieve their health and career goals.