Health officials, educators, friends and family gathered at the Merion Tribute House in Merion Station to celebrate the launch of “Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities”, a book of profiles of local leaders in public and children’s health. The book is authored by students participating in the Healthy NewsWorks program. Students interviewed a dozen leaders in the fields of public and children’s health. Interviews were conducted via Skype, during press conferences and in one on one sessions.
The student journalists, who attend area elementary schools, signed books and posed for photos. Doctor Walter Tsou, former health commissioner of Philadelphia and a past president of the American Public Health Association, spoke to the audience and commended the students’ contribution to public health advocacy. “This is what public health is about. All these kids really are special”.
Marian Uhlman, a former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, founded Healthy NewsWorks in 2003 with elementary school teacher Susan Spencer. They wanted to create a program where student journalists could address issues of health, nutrition and fitness that affect young people and their communities. “Our goal was to have students work towards healthy eating and living while reporting on it”, explained Uhlman.
Healthy NewsWorks has grown to include programs at over a dozen elementary and middle schools in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania.