Generation Rx heightens awareness of prescription drug abuse.

The Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy has created an outreach program to increase the public's awareness of prescription drug abuse.  Self-named 'Generation Rx' program is make up of Pharmacy students who go out into the community and share their knowledge with a clear message - you can be a part of the solution and learn healthy ways to cope with stress. 

Generation Rx [L to R] Anderson Ho, Gustavo Martinez, and Tracy Zeng.

Generation Rx [L to R] Anderson Ho, Gustavo Martinez, and Tracy Zeng.

Generation Rx recently presented to the Human Body System class at Chino Hills HS. It was very informative. Some of the topics covered included commonly abused prescription drugs, celebrities who suffer from Rx abuse, how to cope with peer pressure and stress through natural highs like hobbies and sports, and proper Rx disposal. 

Linette Choi, who previously job shadowed with a Pharmacist, made this comment after the presentation: "Ultimately...the abuse of prescription drugs is not worth the negative side effects and how it can impact your life and even the lives of others. Though the temptations and the glorification of drugs in the media make it seem safe or okay, the truth is that drugs are not worth it and you should try to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else.”

Thank you Generation Rx for taking the time to speak to our students about this important health topic. 

Human Body System students, Chirichan Tasanont [teacher – bottom left], and GenerationRx  [back row in white coats]

Human Body System students, Chirichan Tasanont [teacher – bottom left], and GenerationRx  [back row in white coats]

IHPC offers youth mental health trainings.

Now, more than ever, teens and young adults are looking for ways to actively address the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse that continues to affect our schools, homes, and communities. The issue of mental health touches all of us in one way or another and IHPC wanted to provide high schoolers the opportunity to learn more about mental health careers, while learning how to stay healthy and offer peer support to others.  

In June, we offered Mental Health First Aid training to area high school students interested in the field of mental health or wishing to learn how to identify and respond to the signs of mental illness. The response was huge. The first workshop filled up so quickly we had to offer a second workshop in August, which also filled up.

Then, OSHPD funded the PEP (Pipeline Enhancement Project) so that we could pilot a mental health pipeline project for the Cajon and Murrieta High Schools. Again, the response from students was overwhelming, with almost 300 students signing up to participate!

Now Corona-Norco Unified has joined the effort by partnering with us to provide a three-day Encompassing Mental Health workshop for STEM students. The workshop is designed to again, provide students an intimate look into mental health careers through the eyes of health professionals. They are also learning about local resources for those needing help, and will receive certification in mental health first aid which teaches students how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness or substance abuse, in an age-appropriate manner. More than 50 students registered for the workshops, which are being held at Riverside University Health System. 

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The first workshop introduced students to the Cup of Happy program at Operation Safe House - Riverside and the Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego which piloted VR technology for use in the treatment of PTSD in military soldiers. The students were captivated by the idea that "gaming" technology could be used by psychologists and research specialists in the field of behavioral health to treat mental health issues. The second workshop was actually a field trip to the Queen of Hearts equestrian center where students were shown how horses are being used in a variety of therapies.  Finally, students will also receive a certificate of completion for Mental Health First Aid on the third and final day this Saturday.

HOSA students visit AMR Riverside

The booming HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) club at Eleanor Roosevelt High School (the club is 75 members strong this year) had a site visit to AMR - Riverside. American Medical Response has been an active IHPC partner working with us to introduce emergency health careers to many as 35 students at a time. Meant to be interactive, students get classroom-style instruction with Q & A, a tour of the dispatch room and ambulance repair shop, CPR training, and of course, the time to climb aboard a fully-functional ambulance and ask any question they like of the Paramedic/EMT on hand. 

The HOSA chapter advisor, Dr. Rachell Auld, really prepared the students for their visit. Not only where they very engaged and eager to participate, the AMR Riverside staff commented that they were "professionally dressed and the best CPR trainees they've had in the last three years"! The students, who are all Freshmen at Eleanor Roosevelt, generously attributed their performance to the hands-only CPR instruction they received from IHPC Outreach Specialist, Gloria Coder, the week prior. (Awwww). 

PS. For more information on hands-only CPR training offered by IHPC, contact Michael Sacoto or Rehman Attar.

Strenghthening the health workforce pipeline, one student at a time...

Public Health student, Maren Keehnan [left] poses with her best friend from high school - both young ladies are Freshmen at BYU. 

Public Health student, Maren Keehnan [left] poses with her best friend from high school - both young ladies are Freshmen at BYU. 

IHPC is committed to addressing the need for a culturally-diverse health workforce in the Inland Southern California Region. It is our mission and our passion. Everyday our team works hard to bring opportunities to students that (we hope) will change or strengthen their life trajectory to serve their communities in a health-related field. There are obstacles, to be sure, and sometimes we wonder, are we making a difference??

Then a letter like the one we received from a former Chino Hills High School student, reassures us that indeed, our work is changing lives...

 

My name is Maren Keehan and I am currently attending BYU-Idaho University in Rexburg. Through the IHPC program at Reach Out, I was able to attend a Public Health seminar at the University of La Verne, which influenced me to choose my major in Public Health! While at Public Health 101, I found it fascinating at how many people around the world are so unaware of how easy it is to prevent disease and stay sanitary, even in their own homes. Public Health professionals have the task of reaching out to communities [who have] very little knowledge of prevention, and informing them on how to improve their daily lives.

I was inspired to reach out to the school that I attend now [to find out] what steps to take to pursue a career in that field. I am not 100% set on what I want to do with a degree in Public Health, but I do know that I am extremely interested in helping others around me and utilizing the skills that I gain from classes I take to push myself forward in my own community and help out in any way possible.

Three years ago, I would not have been able to say that, but because I took risks and did something I wasn’t so sure about, I found a passion for it and now I am ecstatic to pursue that passion. I urge anyone who even has a slight interest in a medical or public health profession to keep going, ask questions, and set goals for themselves because it will all be worth it in the end!
— Maren Keehan

Students Get a Cup of Happy

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When I first heard 'Cup of Happy', my mind went to that first cup of joe in the morning! Maybe that's what inspired Operation Safe House - Riversides' riff on our morning ritual. Whatever the inspiration, this youth depression prevention program is tackling the stigma of mental health issues head on with a theme that is meant to put a smile on your face. The Cup of Happy team recently introduced their services to CNUSD students during IHPC's Encompassing Mental Health training series.  This is a valuable resource for kids 16 - 25 years of age. They "focus on providing healthy lifestyles and emotional wellness through a number of different programs that include creative writing courses, open mic nights, youth leadership classes and LGBTQ support groups." Cup of Happy promotes these activities through health fairs, school campuses, school clubs, Youth Opportunity Centers, like the one in Jurupa Valley,  and local youth “hangouts”.  Their message is clear: 

We get your challenges and want to help prevent additional crisis in your life! Our goal is to get you back on track and living the life you deserve…safe, happy, and healthy enjoying your teen years instead of feeling crushed, abused, or lost in the world. Our emergency shelter, youth events, and programs provide you with the opportunity to be you, let out your frustrations and fears, and learn how to deal with the pressures and enjoy the triumphs of being a teen.
All Smiles! Encompassing Mental Health students from CNUSD embrace Cup of Happy! 

All Smiles! Encompassing Mental Health students from CNUSD embrace Cup of Happy! 

We'd like to thank the Cup of Happy team for being a part of Encompassing Mental Health and being and important resource in our local community. Click here for more information about the Riverside Operation Safe House and the Cup of Happy program. 

Murrieta Mesa PEP Rally is not just hype!

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Students from Mr. Russ Welch's AP Psychology class at Murrieta Mesa High School, proudly raise their new PEP (Pipeline Enhancement Project) back packs during a recent mental health rally. IHPC outreach specialist, Marwa Mohamed, brought the rally to the school to introduce students to behavioral and mental health careers. The students were pumped up to learn that the new pilot project will include high school level trainings on SAFE Talk, teen suicide prevention, mental health first aid, cultural competency, and QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer). The class heard from Jacqualine Ebule from the Riverside County Department of Mental Health who told the students that there is a huge demand for mental health providers in our region and therefore great job possibilities! 

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No rally is complete without games and prizes. Students participated in an online game called Khaoot! which is a trivia-style game. They answered questions about mental illness and different personality disorders. Students had the option to sign up to be a part of the PEP project and participate in the trainings and educational materials that will be provided. The goal is to move these students into college-level mental health pipeline programs and, eventually, the workforce! 

During the rally students indicated which mental health careers they are interested in and their plans to go to pursue a two or four-year college program. The numbers were very promising.  

Top 5 Careers By Interest

48 - Forensic Psychology

26 - Psychiatry

20 -Sports Psychology

20 - Child Psychology

21 - Behavioral Therapy

We are so excited that 163 Murrieta Mesa students signed up for PEP proving that students are connecting with the message of mental health!

Public Health 101 goes to Pacific High School.

Student attendees and their parents pose for a group shot at PHS gym.

Student attendees and their parents pose for a group shot at PHS gym.

Last Saturday, students and parents from area schools spent the morning in school. While the parents attended a special seminar on diet and healthy eating, the more than 70 students explored the broad field of public health - what that is, and how it impacts the overall wellbeing of our communities. 

Amanda Madrid, RN, MSN,-Ph, PHN, Assistant Professor of Nursing @ CBU.

Amanda Madrid, RN, MSN,-Ph, PHN, Assistant Professor of Nursing @ CBU.

Our keynote speaker was Ms. Amanda Madrid from California Baptist University, is a public health nurse who was happy to educate the students on the role of a public health nurse in the community. She shared stories from the field and gave the students a real look into the every day life of a public health nurse.

Guest speaker, Ms. Marbella Mejia-Carmargo from the San Bernardino Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Services, was our second presenter who talked to the students about the importance of health inspections and what a career in environmental health looks like. 

 

Here, students participate in an activity where they must stare into each other's eyes but not speak, and then share how the experience made them feel. 

Here, students participate in an activity where they must stare into each other's eyes but not speak, and then share how the experience made them feel. 

Public Health workers play an important role in building and sustaining health communities. We are so glad that we could promote this vital field to students from Pacific, Cajon, Chaffey, Arroyo Valley, and Eleanor Roosevelt High Schools as well as undergrads from San Bernardino Valley College. Thank you to the committed team at PHS: Ms. Angela Quinlan, Ms. Judith Greenfield, and Ms. Candelaria Garcia, as well as the Friday Night Live Bio Med Club who volunteered their time to assure a successful seminar on their campus. 

Friday Night Live Bio Med Club members with PHS faculty: [Front row L to R: Judith Greenfield, Angela Quinlan, and Candelaria Garcia].

Friday Night Live Bio Med Club members with PHS faculty: [Front row L to R: Judith Greenfield, Angela Quinlan, and Candelaria Garcia].

"Stayin alive" with hands-only CPR.

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Dr. Rachell Auld's freshman bio classes at Eleanor Roosevelt High School took advantage of the hands-only compression CPR training offered by IHPC. All 151 students recevied certification! The training taught the students to recognize the signs of a person who may be in cardiac arrest, delegate someone to call 911 with the location, proper placement of the hands on the center of the chest and most importantly, why compression-only CPR could save someone's life. They soon realized that it takes a little singing (to "Stayin' Alive" for rhythm) and a whole lot of sweat to achieve proper depth in their chest compression -s and do it at 120 beats per minute! They were also shown the proper placement of an AED (automated external difibrillator). We were so happy that the students were engaged and excited to learn that you are never to young to save a life! 

Pop Quiz: Do you know where your school or office AED is stored? Dr. Auld arranged for a walk-through of the school campus to show the students where all nine of Roosevelt's AEDs are located. 

"I hear voices in my head."

I definitely feel empathy for those who deal with this serious illness.
— student participant
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In another important workshop to expose and sensitize high school students to real mental health issues, Chris Peters Psych 101 class at Cajon High School participated in an activity facilitated by Sue Abito, Volunteer Services Coordinator at the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health. The Hearing Voices activity has one student place a brown paper bag over their head while four more students simultaneously deliver scripted messages into their ear, over the bag. The exercise is meant to simulate the experience of those with schizophrenia.  The student reaction to this exercise was interesting. Some of the students who were wearing the bags on their heads found it pretty tough to answer basic questions because the "voices" were so distracting. Others found it so annoying that they developed immediate empathy for those who live with voices every day. One student was observed editing the scripted message because they didn't want to say unkind things in someones ear. Overall it was a very eye-opening experience for these young minds and brought home some of the realities of mental health illness in a tangible way. 

This activity made me feel terrible, even after the activity was over I felt like I was still hearing voices and it was annoying. Now I understand how horrible this feels to hear voices, and this was only an activity. I can only imagine what it is in real life.
— student participant

Students get certified in mental health first aid.

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IHPC hosted its second Mental Health First Aid Training and Certification workshop with TriCity Wellness Center to accomodate the students who weren't able to attend the June seminar. We had 38 students from all over the region, train and work through scenarios in preparation to assist other students in need. Here, students listen to first-hand testimony from the keynote speaker Jean Hamilton (pictured below), a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Education Coordinator. They were also introduced to the wide variety of classes that NAMI offers including Family to Family, Homefront, Peer to Peer, and Provider Education courses. Students received certification upon completion of this two-day training. We'd like to thank our partnersTriCity Wellness Center and their staff of peer advocates, clinical staff, and others who provide a range of culturally competent, person and family centered groups, workshops and socialization activities designed to promote increasing independence and wellness for people of all ages.