Steven’s Boys and Girls Club

This summer I had the privilege to volunteer at a local Boys and Girls Club in Chattanooga. My group worked with middle school aged kids once a week. Our goal each time was to educate them on various health and nutrition concepts. This is a passion of mine and I was very excited to have this opportunity. The group of kids each week consisted of around 20-30 students. This opportunity was both challenging but rewarding.

Each week we started each session with a lesson in order to educate the kids on the particular concept of the day. Then, we would follow that up with reinforcing activities to help put the concepts they learned into practice. Many times the group of kids could get very loud, so it would become hard to settle them down. Therefore, the more activities helped us reinforce our lesson. This was extremely helpful for many kids who had trouble understanding the lesson. I remember one week in particular when our lesson was over healthy plates. We talked about eating a diet that contains all of the food groups in it. After the lesson we gave students the chance to make a healthy plate by choosing a food from each food group. It became very clear by the end of the activity that many students had grasped the lesson! This was very encouraging to see students learning.

Overall, these students were engaged and learned many valuable health and nutrition concepts this summer. To see middle schoolers learning important truths about their health and diet is awesome. This is encouraging because they are young, therefore, what they learned this summer they can apply for the rest of their life! I am very thankful for this opportunity and for all of the kids that we helped at the Boys and Girls Club!

Amy Boys and Girls Club

I had the opportunity to work with a group of 6th-8th graders on health education through a COMPASS grant during my summer semester. This experience was at the Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga on June 16, 2015. The group of adolescents was quite lively and rambunctious but was also bright and receptive to the lesson plan. We discussed the importance of eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables everyday, what a serving size actually is, and to not be afraid to try new fruits and vegetables. The adolescents were quite interactive, openly discussed their favorite and least favorite fruits and vegetables. We played several games including bingo, and a team relay game for a physically active game. Most of the children seemed to enjoy the opportunity and were admittedly surprised how easy it can be to incorporate 5 fruits and vegetables into their daily diets. The long-standing dilemma of whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable was debated and one adolescent found an article on his phone and read it aloud to the group. It was a challenging educational setting with the level of energy and the large size of the group; however, the once the energy was used in an interactive forum it was more useful than distracting. This opportunity was educational to me as a nurse practitioner student to have an experience to share a teaching curriculum with other UTC students and disciplines. We had to work as an interdisciplinary team to engage this group at a level to successfully deliver the learning curriculum. It was a tremendous example of how each discipline must work together to reach a common goal.

Cadina Boys and Girls Club

I’m very passionate about being involved in the community and I love working with youth. However, it was always challenging for me to volunteer at the Boy’s & Girl’s Club due to my class and work schedule each semester. I was automatically onboard when Dr. Howard-Baptiste informed me there would be an opportunity to volunteer during the summer.

One of the highlights of my volunteer experience at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club would have to be when one of the young men decided to google why a tomato is considered a fruit instead of a vegetable. The fact he wanted to further his research on his own showed we’re here for a reason. We might not think we’re making an impact but they really enjoy all of the hands on activities.

They are always eager to learn each week which makes volunteering worthwhile. The past few weeks have been an absolutely blast and brought back so many memories from my own childhood. If I could do it all over again I would. I look forward to volunteering at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club in the future

Alyssa Boys and Girls Club

My name is Alyssa Allen and I am a graduate student studying Physical Activity and Public Health at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Over the past few months, our department has been working in collaboration with Master’s of Athletic Training students, Nursing students, and others on the COMPASS Grant Program. COMPASS stands for Combating Obesity’s Multiple chronic conditions through Preparation Activities Shared among Students. As a student in the department, I have been given the opportunity to promote physical activity in different environments in the Chattanooga community. Our hope is to use physical activity and nutrition to combat obesity and the chronic health conditions that are associated.

A few weeks ago, I attended the first session at the Boys and Girls Club at Highland Park. The Boys and Girls Club offers summer activities and programming for school-aged children. Our group that day had about 35-40 energy-filled kids! For each session at the Boys and Girls Club, there is a theme. For this initial session, the theme was “Be Sugar Smart” and there were two components of the lesson: nutrition and physical activity. We started with an introduction explaining what sugar is and how it can affect the body. Next, we taught the kids the importance of choosing certain drinks or foods over others. For example, we encouraged the kids to choose water over soda, sports drinks, and even fruit juices. Although juices appear healthier, many times these drinks contain excess sugar. The majority of the children did not understand how excess sugar can affect the body and how it is eventually stored as fat. Within our education, we are taught how excess adipose tissue from unused nutritional components can lead to obesity and increase the probability of developing chronic medical conditions. A few examples include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. To emphasize the grandiose amounts of sugar in foods and beverages, we used a display board with small bags containing the amount of sugar in each product. Then we played a game where the kids guessed how many tablespoons were in different items on the board. To reiterate the act of ‘choosing’ a better beverage, we played a bowling game where the kids rolled a tennis ball to knock bottles over. Each bottle was labeled with a beverage and a number of points. Some bottles were labeled ‘soda’ or ‘sports drink’ and they were worth zero points. Of course water was worth the most points! After the nutrition lesson and games, we moved on to physical activity. An observation I made early on in my experience with kids, which proved true at the Boys and Girls Club, is that kids want to be active. They simply need space and free time. So when we gave them a game and a task, almost all of the kids were standing up and excited. We began with the human knot game, which involves physical activity with movement and problem-solving skills. Then we made a relay race where the kids bounced on physio balls through a series of cones. Besides being fun, bouncing on physio balls can help increase coordination and core stability. At the conclusion of the session, we gave the kids some tips for choosing sugars wisely and in moderation.

Overall, my experience at the Boys and Girls Club was great! Not only was it fun to play with the kids, but it was rewarding to teach them about nutrition and the importance of physical activity. I hope to have more opportunities in the future to share my passions with others in the community so that we can continue to combat obesity one activity at a time!


Creating a New Norm

It seems that every few months, regardless of what industry you work in, we are bombarded with a new set of buzzwords or key phrases that some how seem to “revolutionize” the industry.  Phrases like “think outside the box”….”it is what it is”…. and “synergy” are used to the point of ad nauseam and often times fail to actually communicate anything meaningful.


If you work in any of the Health Profession areas you may have heard a relatively new buzzword being used…..”Inter-professional Collaboration”.  Inter-professional Collaboration is a “partnership between a team of health providers and a client in a participatory collaborative and coordinated approach to shared decision making around health and social issues” (1).  The  goal of Inter-professional Collaboration is to create and ensure a patient centered environment and approach to health care.

Inter-professional Collaboration has become so important, that many educational institutions have adopted a philosophy of Inter-professional Education.  Inter-professional Education curriculum is designed to teach students  not only the importance of Inter-professional collaboration, but also how to most effectively utilize and implement this collaboration to ensure the highest quality of patient care possible.

At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, our goal is to help move Inter-professional Collaboration away from overused “buzzword” status and help make it the new norm.


(1) Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative. A national interprofessional competency framework. February 2010. Available from:


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50th Anniversary of FNP

This week marks the 50th Anniversary for FNPs.  Click on the link below to watch a special message from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

2014 Cultural Competency Workshop

A YouTube video featuring Dr. Guo speaking about professional cultures.