August 3, 2007
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PA Students

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PA Students

PA students take top national award for tobacco education project

A creative approach to teaching kids about the risks of tobacco use has gained national recognition for the Health Science Center’s Physician Assistant Students Association (PASA). Their presentation won first prize in the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ Project in a Box competition in May.

For their project, PASA members presented facts – and plenty of pictures – about tobacco use to students at Fort Worth’s J.P. Elder Middle School. They focused on the risks of tobacco, the diseases it can cause, peer pressure, how to quit and how much money it can cost. They included lots of visuals to keep the kids interested, like the “jar of tar” – a jar filled with molasses to show how much tar accumulates in the lungs after a year of smoking.

The group based their project on the U.S. surgeon general’s Healthy People 2010 campaign, which lists smoking as one of the leading health indicators in the U.S.

Project coordinator Jackie Beeler said the group’s goal was simply to teach kids about the hazards of tobacco use, and the win came as a nice surprise. Beeler, who is immediate past president of PASA, said they got a good response from students, and teachers at the school were interested in having the group back to give the presentation again.

The Project in a Box award was presented at the AAPA National Conference in Philadelphia. Along with a plaque, PASA received $1,010 for their organization and $1,010 for the charity of their choice. They chose to donate the money to Southwestern Diabetic Foundation Inc., a United Way organization that supports a residential summer camp where diabetic children learn to manage their health.

PASA Project in a Box volunteers:
Jackie Beeler
Elisha Hatfield
Katy Hogan
Cassie Laurence
Sergio Haynes
Darcie Weilbach
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