Monday, May 23, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Julizza Canales

I am Julizza Canales, a sophomore at George Mason, and I am working on the CHEW Program, which stands for Child Health Exercise and Wellness Program. It is an intervention study led by Dr. Sina Gallo RD, PhD, to help Latino/Hispanic children from grades 1 to 4 in the Fairfax area who are obese. The program lasts six weeks in which the children and their parents will come to seven office visits in which they will receive lessons from a nutrition educator so that they can learn healthy eating and activity practices. 

Currently, I have been working on translating the documents needed for the study. Because we are working with the Latino population, we have to have Spanish versions of all the documents we will be using during the study. Recruiting participants has also been something I have been able to help with. It has been difficult to get the necessary number of participants needed to start the study so we have had to brainstorm outlets in which we can use to get people interested in participating in the study. I have also helped with gathering recipes that we thought our population will enjoy. Once we get all the participants and start the study, I will be helping with the lessons and also being available for the parent of the participants in case they do not understand something or would rather speak in Spanish.

This week I have had to translate documents that are needed for the lessons we will be teaching the children. Reading all the lessons has made me realize how much work and thought truly goes into putting these lessons together. You need to know your population well and know what is the best way to portray the information you want to teach and how will your participants learn best.

I aspire to be a physician’s assistant so being able to assist with this research study will help me improve my skills with interacting with patients and also learning how to educate others on health topics. As physician’s assistant I will be treating patients but I also want to be able to educate them so they can make healthier choices and live a healthy lifestyle. Through the months I have been working on this study I have learned many skills that I will carry with me into my career.