Decreasing the number of uninsured Californians is a top priority for health educators at CSUN.
The College of Health and Human Development at CSUN informs students about affordable health care through an outreach project called Student Health Outreach to the Uninsured Teens, Twenties and Thirty Somethings (S.H.O.U.T.). It informs students about healthcare plans that are available and what to look for based on individual needs.
Dr. Wanda Carole Shepherd, part-time lecturer in’ the department of health sciences, proposed the project last summer along with the Health Program Director and Assistant Professor of health science, Dr. Louis Rubino.
‘We wanted to educate students that there is affordable health insurance out there and where to find it,’ Shepherd said.
Shepherd along with Rubino took two of the health science classes, 412 and 413, and combined them into one made up of what she called the ‘leaders’ and the ‘members.’ Students in both classes were visited by four health care professionals varying from a health care insurance broker to a CSUN health educator, who taught students about different insurances in California and how each one functions.
Students in return go to different classrooms throughout the semester and give presentations to their fellow peers on what they learned.
‘The leaders and members put on the presentation then blog about their experiences, how the presentation went and what they can do to improve the next one,’ Shepherd said.
Shepherd said the largest groups of uninsured people are within the 19 to 24 age group.
Frankie Augustin, professor of health science leadership and direction and health administration (413), said she felt the project helps students from the community and outside do their part in informing California residents of the many affordable health insurance.
‘We are doing our part in helping the community fix of the problem,’ Augustin said. ‘We might help to decrease the number of students that don’t have access to health care.’
California has the highest proportion of uninsured people, according to Augustin.
‘About 47 million people are uninsured in this country,’ Augustin said. ‘By word of mouth, we hope it help the campus community and the community at large.’
Augustin mentioned students blog about their experiences on WebCT as well as on their own personal blogs.
‘They are honest and appreciate the exposure,’ Augustin said. ‘In these presentations they are able to administrate health information as students to students.’
Mary Ann Yezadzhyan, a leadership student in the HSCI 413 class and health administration major, said in an e-mail, ‘The project is extremely beneficial for students, faculty, and family because we are trying to raise awareness within the CSUN community.
‘The main idea is to get students involved and understand the importance of insurance, both for everyday and in case of a catastrophic emergency,’ Yezadzhyan said in the same e-mail. ‘The students in the HSCI 412 class present the different options to get their fellow classmates insured, as well as teach them about the variety of options available to them on and off campus.”
Sharon Aronoff, a health educator at CSUN’s Klotz Student Center, said students are lucky to have a health center available and urges students to take advantage of the low cost facility.
‘We are a benefit program that provides currently enrolled students get the care they need at a low cost or sometimes free of charge,’ Aronoff said.
Some of the health care services provided by the center are sexual and reproductive health including, annual exams such as pap smears, instruction for breast self-exams, testicular self-exams, birth control options, and testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Men’s and women’s health specialists are also available as well as alcohol and substance abuse counseling.
Dental and optometry services including X-rays and examinations, glasses and contact fitting are available as well at the center.
Aronoff said the center works with two clinics, the UCLA dental association and UC Berkeley’s optometry clinic.
‘Our hope is to teach students to take care of themselves and be wise health care consumers,’ said Aronoff.