By Wendy Sarubbi | October 28, 2011 2:52 pm

Sharing the bounty of their knowledge, students from the UCF College of Medicine recently dished out advice to Osceola County seniors about healthful snacking.

Using a $300 grant from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the College of Medicine chapter organized the healthful snacking talk as part of National Primary Care Week (October 10-14), an annual event sponsored by AMSA to raise awareness of primary care. M.D. students Ashley Curry and Lena Ning applied for the grant.

“This benefits students and benefits seniors,” said Lena, an M-2 student, who added that the idea grew out of students’ participation in the Adopt-a-Senior program with the Osceola Council on Aging and Meals on Wheels.

About 40 participants from the Osceola Seniors Day Care Program listened as students talked about the virtues of nutritionally rich foods. On display were items such as avocados, blueberries, garlic and pomegranate juice. A poster summed up the benefits of these powerhouses, along with explaining each nutritional component of a food label. Healthful snacks were provided by the Osceola Council on Aging.

“We thought it would be a good idea to integrate the knowledge we are acquiring from our medical education at the UCF COM into the community,” said M-2 Reid Green, who organized the event.

“Elderly individuals, especially, need to be very aware of the foods they are eating,” he said. “With chronic and degenerative diseases, like osteoporosis or diabetes, it is important to maintain proper nutrition and to be aware of the ingredients in prepared food.” Along with Reid, medical students Christina Hsu, Mertelaine Mulatre, Regan Wong and Elizabeth John also met with the seniors.

Ashley said the students’ vision was “to serve the local community in an effective and meaningful manner, while simultaneously improving medical education in the context of an aging population.”

In addition to the nutrition program, students participated in other events during Primary Care Week:

  • A discussion of the article “Research on the Provider Contribution to Race and Ethnicity Disparities in Medical Care,” with the Student National Medical Association.
  • A discussion of what makes the ideal health-care system.
  • A panel of primary-care physicians from UCF discussing innovations in primary care.
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