Jan. 4, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 7

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    Teens star in mini-series promoting healthy lifestyles

    By William Harms
    News Office


    High school students from the South Side star in a new mini-series promoting healthy lifestyles that will be distributed in DVD format to schools and shown on cable television’s CAN TV, Channel 19, beginning Wednesday, Jan. 3.

    The DVD, “Livin’ in Your Body 4 Life” was prepared with apprentices working with the University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research, which was established to study why breast cancer occurs earlier and is more deadly in African-American women. The National Institutes of Health funds the center’s research.

    CAN TV will air five, half-hour episodes of “Livin’ in Your Body 4 Life” at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 3 and running through March 7, and on Thursdays, beginning Jan. 4, running through March 8. Additionally, the five episodes—Breast Cancer, Stress and Fitness, Your Body, Allergies & Asthma, and Stuck on it? Don’t Let it Stick on You!—will be aired from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

    As part of its community outreach and educational activities, the center solicited volunteers from the South Side to share their opinions by being part of focus groups and attending a daylong South Side Breast Cancer Summit, which was held at the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church in April 2005.

    The group of 250 individuals who gathered for the summit developed an action plan that identified wellness education for 12- to 16-year olds as its top priority. Students from South Side public high schools, who work as apprentices with the center, began work on the DVD project the following summer. In addition to starring in the videos, the high school students did all of the research, conducted interviews and scripted the episodes.

    “We wanted to have a video project that speaks directly to the students we were trying to reach, so we sought ideas from our apprentices in the formatting of the project, in the music and other ways in which the information was presented,” said Sarah Gehlert, Professor in the School of Social Service Administration and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research.

    On the two-and-a-half hour DVD, the apprentices interview experts and survivors of breast cancer, as well as other health experts and fellow teens to explore topics such as stress, fitness, addiction, allergies and asthma.

    The University’s Media Initiatives Group, http://cmig.uchicago.edu, an initiative within the Office of the Provost, recorded and edited the video, and produced the DVD. Church, school and community groups that would like to obtain a free copy may contact the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research at (773) 834-9095, or by writing the center at 940 E. 57th St, Room 125, Chicago, IL 60637.

    The program is described and available as video-on-demand at: http://livin.uchicago.edu.