Health Summits Were Back in 2023!

Community and University Partners judging 7th grader community action projects
January 10, 2023










For the first time since January 2019, Health in Our Hands Health Summits were held in-person.  Seventh and eighth graders from Holmes STEM Academy Middle School (Flint Community Schools) and Atherton Junior High completed the “Health in Our Hands” curriculum in science class.  The middle school curriculum consists of two units which focus on the concept of gene-environment interactions and natural selection through two community health concerns relevant to students, Type 2 diabetes (“What controls my health?") and Substance Use Disorder (“How can looking for thrills make me miserable?”). Health in Our Hands units culminate in a final project. Middle school students conducted an action research project to improve their school or neighborhood to help prevent or reduce disease. Students presented the results and recommendations at a Youth Health Summit to their peers, family and community onTuesday, January 10th and Tuesday, January 24th. Both events were hosted at the Genesee Career Institute (GCI) in Flint, Michigan.

During the  two health summits organized with community partners, 207 students presented to peers and about 50 adults.
Congratulations to our six teachers who enacted the curriculum and their students who participated:

  • Teacher: Ms. Felicia Johnson - Holmes STEM Academy Middle School   
    Class Question: How does social media and tv affect children’s food and exercise choice?
  • Teacher: Ms. Darlene Calvert  - Holmes STEM Academy Middle School 
    Class Question: How does the type of exercise affect our well-being?
  • Teacher: Ms. Lauren Jones - Atherton Jr/Sr High School                         
    Class Question: How does knowledge about nutrition affect school lunch choices?
  • Teacher: Ms. Terri Jones - Holmes STEM Academy Middle School
    Class Question: How does technology affect my well-being?
  • Teacher: Ms. Erin Sage - Holmes STEM Academy Middle School
    Class Question: How does technology affect my well-being?
  • Teacher: Ms. Joanie Rusinek - Atherton Jr/Sr High School
    Class Question: How do cell phones affect your daily life? 

Students from GCI videographed the health summit and also interviewed community partners. Tarnesa  Martin “Nurse T” with Hurley Medical Center shared “the health summit gives the students the opportunity to connect. Community is very important and one of the things about community is engagement. So when the students come here (GCI) they are able to connect with community leads and facilitators so when they do go out in the community they feel comfortable and familiar  with the education to be able to connect.”

Not only did our students present to community partners and their peers, Atherton Jr/Sr High School took their community action research project to the next level. The 8th grade students presented to their Board of Education on February 13th about “How do cell phones affect your daily life.”  The decision to create this research question came from the Atherton Community School cell phone ban November 2022. Students collected survey data from middle school, high school students and staff. The conclusion from their board presentation, “They (cellphones) are a major  factor in students, emotional and physical states. We can conclude that all of students do not feel they are addicted to their cellphones, their reactions (crying, skipping class, transferring schools etc.) indicate their addiction since they cannot be without cellphones. Teacher and staff data support this conclusion.” Read more about their interview with the Genesee County View.