Pharmacy Student Speaks to Harlem Youth on Nutrition
Director of Communications
Lecture Part of National Initiative on Wellness
New York, N.Y. – Steven Elrod (third from left), a PharmD candidate at Touro College of Pharmacy, spoke recently to elementary school students and their parents at P.S. 7 in Harlem about nutrition and wellness.
The presentation was part of a national initiative organized by the educational reform group Education for a Better America (EBA), the civil rights organization National Action Network (NAN), and the New York City Department of Education (NYCBOE).
Also on the program were Dominique Sharpton, board president of EBA; Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN founder and president; Dennis Walcott, chancellor of the NYCBOE; and Dr. Charles Platkin, distinguished lecturer of public health, CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College.
Following an interactive activity with the children, Elrod provided statistics from the government showing the percentage of residents living below the poverty level in East and Central Harlem is higher than in Manhattan and New York City overall; that residents are younger; and that residents 25 years and older have less education.
Elrod also gave an overview of daily nutritional requirements for elementary and middle school students and provided tips on how adults can set good examples for children when it comes to healthy eating. He shared research that showed the easy access children have to unhealthy food around their schools, and the promotion by grocery stores of processed food and sweetened beverages over fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We showed the children that there are other options out there besides eating junk food, and let them know that it’s ok to eat healthy and there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Elrod. “Some students don’t understand that while it’s easy to grab a juice box with a slice of pizza, that as a habit, it can lead to health problems later in life.”
Other wellness topics touched on were the higher rates of hospitalization of children with asthma in Central and East Harlem compared with Manhattan and New York City overall, and the gap between high and low income neighborhoods when it comes to providing quality housing without lead poisoning and safe streets and playgrounds.
The gathering was part of a national initiative organized by EBA and NAN, announced on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Washington D.C. earlier this year, involving visits to 10 cities with a healthy living program geared towards low-income and minority school children and their parents.
Touro College of Pharmacy is committed to offering increased educational opportunities through programs in pharmacy education, research and scholarship, and through service to the community and the profession. The school’s unique “2+2” educational model provides two years of instruction followed by two years of full-time experiential education. The College has established significant affiliations for students including at pharmacies, hospitals, community-based organizations, public agencies and health insurance organizations. Additionally, the school and its students have won significant awards and recognition, including from the United States Public Health Service, the New York State Council of Health-System Pharmacists and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.