Former Surgeon General Seeks Children’s Perspective on Health Issues

David Satcher Meets with City Sixth-graders to Address Neighborhood Health Concerns

September 10, 2003

"Without their perspective, we cannot see the full scope of community issues that need attention or deal with the unique challenges that they themselves face."

Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, M.D., today hosted a town meeting with sixth-graders from one of Rochester’s most impoverished city schools to discuss their concerns about their own personal health, and the health of their neighborhood.

The meeting occurred at Enrico Fermi School No. 17. Following a discussion on the many facets of personal and community health, each child was given a disposable camera to catalog and record health issues in their neighborhood. All photographs will be developed, and then each student will select one and write an essay about the issue it portrays.

Selected photos and essays will be published in early 2004 in a special issue of Lake Effect Magazine to heighten awareness of neighborhood issues. A special display also will be created and exhibited at the new Museum of Kids Art Gallery slated to open in January 2004. The program is funded by Citibank, Upstate New York.

The University of Rochester Medical Center’s Project Believe, a health initiative launched in 2000 aimed at making Rochester America’s healthiest community by 2020, is sponsoring the event with the help of the Jay-Orchard Street Area Neighborhood Association. The association was formed in 2001 after the shooting death of 10-year-old Tyshaun Lamar Cauldwell. Through the partnership, both groups are working to combat negative influences in the community, and address the many health and safety issues that plague residents.

“Our future lies in the healthy bodies and minds of our children, making their input invaluable to those who have the ability and resources to construct programs that counteract health problems,” Satcher says. “Without their perspective, we cannot see the full scope of community issues that need attention or deal with the unique challenges that they themselves face.”

Satcher joined Project Believe as a consultant in March 2002, after serving as the nation’s 16th Surgeon General. He currently serves as Director, National Center for Primary Care, Morehouse School of Medicine. This will be his second visit to School No. 17, following a trip there last year, when he spoke to students about issues such as fighting obesity, teen smoking, and improving health care access to minority and poor populations. Since that time, School No. 17 has seen its own improvement in health care access, with a community dental center that opened in the school in May 2002.

# # #

For Media Inquiries:
Germaine Reinhardt
(585) 275-6517
Email Germaine Reinhardt