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Jamming their way to good health

Published: Friday, March 15, 2013 2:24 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, March 16, 2013 10:09 p.m. CDT
(BCR photos/Donna Barker)
Cael Davis of Princeton (right) takes a leap of faith by placing his hand and arm into a fluidotherapy bag under the supervision of Jereen Mercer (left), a certified occupational therapist assistant at Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton. The fluidotherapy bag is used at Perry Memorial in the physical/occupational therapy department to help with fine motor skills. Cael and his fourth-grade classmates from Reagan Middle School in Tiskilwa toured six different hospital stations as part of Thursday's Health Jam event.

PRINCETON — One hundred thirty students from Reagan Middle School in Tiskilwa filled the halls of Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton on Thursday for Health Jam, a first-hand look at some of the many varied careers in the medical field.

Organizing the Health Jam event was Ancilla Parducci with the University of Illinois Extension in partnership with Perry Memorial Hospital, along with several area agencies including, in part, the Bureau/Putnam County Health Department, Main Street Dance Academy, Tiskilwa Fire Department, and the American Red Cross. The program was funded by Walmart.

Thursday’s learning stations at Perry Memorial Hospital included the radiology department, laboratory, infection control, pharmacy, physical/occupational therapy and medical surgery. Through meeting with hospital staff, the students learned about fine and gross motor skills, different blood types, medication safety, X-rays, the different organs in the body, germs, bacteria, and the importance of handwashing for 20 seconds with running water.

Parducci said the two-day Health Jam looks not only at careers in the medical fields but also helps young people learn ways to develop healthy lifestyles. While Thursday’s activities centered at Perry Memorial Hospital, Friday’s activities for the two-day event were held at the YMCA in Peru where the students would take part in different physical activities. Following the two-day health jam, there will be eight follow-up sessions in the school, Parducci said.

Representing Perry Memorial Hospital, Marcia Hartwig said the goal of Health Jam is not only to help young people learn about health field careers and how exciting they can be, but also that hospitals are not scary places but great places to learn and to have medical needs met.

Health Jam is a national, multi-tiered program founded in 1995.

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