When Americans hear global health concerns, they often interpret them as distant problems. Seldom considered are public health problems in their own community. Such is the case with hunger in this country, a topic Georgetown Professor Heidi Elmendorf engaged with her Biology of Global Health class.
Dr. Elmendorf, co-director of Georgetown’s Biology of Global Health major, teaches students that ‘global’ issues are also ‘local.’ In an introductory course to the major, Dr. Elmendorf chooses a specific health issue affecting Washington metro area residents and has her students use multimedia to inform the public about the problem and solution. This year, they tackled hunger and identified the Capital Area Food Bank as a resource to help curb the problem.
Students are assigned to create public service announcements (PSA) for the food bank highlighting the needs and struggles of hungry people. Why PSAs in a biology class? The class compliments its scientific research by training students to effectively communicate complex issues with the public. In an era where scientists are targeted for being wonks, this is a talent that researchers and scientists must possess as they enter the workforce.
At the PSA premiere, students expressed challenges of distilling the subject and its correlating factors into a one minute video. There were urges to cram more into the allotted timeframe. But, when trying to do so, the message was muddied. In a lot of cases students learned less is sometimes more.
The results of their hard work paid off. In creative work that that rivals the quality of major PR firms, the students succinctly visualized issues of child hunger, food deserts, and malnourishment as well as informed the public about manners to help. Below are their PSAs for your enjoyment.
Food for Kids
Grow a Row
Share the Harvest
It is great to know that the scientific community is attentive to the effects of hunger in our community and seeks innovative solutions to communicate the message to the public. Dr. Elmendorf and her students are true hunger champions! We are proud to be the recipient of these videos and look forward to further collaborate with her and her students.