Name of the activity: Health Festival – 1st Hellenic Medical Students’ Congress on Public Health

Country/NMO: Greece (HelMSIC)

Program: Healthy Lifestyles & Non-Communicable Diseases

 

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education

 

General description:

Health Festival is a Public Health Congress for medical students in Greece. This year the main focus areas were the NCDs and specifically the prevention of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases, that are 2 major Public Health issues in Greece. The project was carried out in Thessaloniki, the 2nd largest city of Greece.

The project consisted of 2 parts.
The 1st part was a 2-day Congress with speaches about Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases, interactive Workshops and Peer Education Trainings from the Peer Education Trainers of HelMSIC. Medical students had the opportunity to learn about Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases (pathophysiology, pathology, pharmacology and treatment) with emphasis to prevention and dealing with long term patients. Trainings for “Empathy”, “Primary Prevention”, and “Patient – Doctor Relationship” were carried out by HelMSIC’s Peer Education Trainers with external partners.
The 2nd part was a street action carried out in the Central Square of Thessaloniki. In the 3rd day of the project, the medical students that participated had the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gained by informing the general public of Thessaloniki about the prevention of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases. There were 4 kiosks in the street action:
Check-ups kiosk: Medical students were conducting check-ups by measuring the glucose levels and the blood pressure of the public.
The “Dance it out” kiosk: Free lessons of Zumba, Aerobic and Latin Dance were carried out and the public was encouraged to participate. Thus we promoted physical exercise.
The “Healthy Diet” kiosk: Healthy snacks such as salads, fruit-salads and smoothies were distributed to the public and there were also live healthy meal preparations by famous chefs. There was also a quiz in which people were encouraged to test their knowledge on healthy eating.
The questionnaire kiosk: Medical students gathered information about the healthy and unhealthy habits of the public by filling in an anonymous questionnaire from the National Center of Disease Control (external partner).

Both the Congress and the Street Action were covered by the national media (radio, websites and blogs focusing on health and TV).

Students from all the years of studies were able to participate.

Focus area:

Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease

Problem statement:

Health Festival is a congress which is organised to deal with Public Health matters. This year, the topics that we chose to present were Diabetes and Cardiovascular diseases, two major topics on the area of non communicable diseases.
Cardiovascular Diseases are the number one cause of death in Greece accounting the ⅖ of all deaths among women and around ⅓ among men according to a study conducted by the EU in 2017. Based on self-reported data from the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) one in ten people in Greece live with Diabetes. It is necessary for medical students to be well educated and sensitized about these 2 topics and understand the importance of prevention. Medical schools in Greece don’t provide students with the necessary skills to communicate with patients and promote healthy lifestyles. Thus doctors don’t give emphasis on the importance of prevention and patients often visit doctors when it is already too late. It is essential that students become aware of the major problem of NCDs and exercise their future profession for the benefit of public health.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

Target Groups: Medical students, General Public
Beneficiaries: Patients and the general public will be benefited as future doctors will be educated and sensibilized on the prevention of Diabetes & Cardiovascular Diseases.

Objectives and indicators of success:

The main goals of the activity are:
To educate medical students and the general public on the importance of prevention of diabetes & cardiovascular diseases
To raise awareness between medical students and general public for diabetes & cardiovascular diseases
To underline the importance of prevention in dealing with NCDs
To demonstrate the harmful effects of the modern unhealthy lifestyle
To empower medical students and the general public to act against NCDs

The main objectives for medical students are:
To familiarize medical students with the causes of diabetes & cardiovascular diseases
To equip medical students with strategies to promote the prevention of NCDs
To stimulate medical students to act against NCDs
To interact with the healthcare professionals that attended the conference
To gain practical knowledge on providing check ups and dealing with patients
To train in basic behavioural changing techniques for the improvement of the lifestyles of the patients
To underline the impact the modern way of living has to health and to healthcare systems
To define the role of physicians in promoting a healthy lifestyle

The main objectives for the general public are:
Promote healthy nutrition, exercising and a smoke free way of living
To recognize the impact the modern way of living has to their health
To underline the importance of getting regular check-ups
To site examples of healthy ways of cooking, engage in exercising activities

The success indicators were:
The amount of medical students that registered to the activity. (148 medical students)
The participation if medical students (80 participants ) and the willingness of external partners to collaborate (68 external partners including Professors, healthcare professionals, public health experts).
The evaluation of the project. The project was evaluated by the participants and the external partners that came as speakers. We received 35 answers from medical students and 18 answers from external partners.
The participation of the public in the street action
2000 people were informed (according to the number of leaflets that were distributed)
1000 participated in the street action (by measuring their glucose levels, their blood pressure, and the questionnaires)
The willingness of the media to cover the event (the event was covered by many radio stations, local TV channels, the national TV channel “Skai” and many websites and blogs that refer to health such as health-in.gr)

Methodology:

The project consists of 2 parts:

The 1st part is a 2-day Congress that educates Medical Students about Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases. The Congress consists of:
Speeches: 2 parallel speeches are carried out in 2 different conference rooms (the one focuses on preclinical knowledge for preclinical students and the other focuses on clinical knowledge for clinical students)
Interactive Workshops: Medical students are divided into small working groups and work on case studies with the coordination of Professors. In this way, medical students can test their knowledge and take part in the therapeutic decisions.
Peer Education Trainings: Peer education trainings aim to provide all the necessary skills for communication with patients and the public and advanced skills in dealing with patients. Most of the Trainings are carried out by both external partners (familiarized with peer education methods) and peer education trainers of HelMSIC. Some of the topics are: “Motivational Interview and Health Behaviour Change”, “Treating patients with Empathy”, “How to stay Up to Date”, “ How to deal with chronic patients”, “Advocating for changes in the health system for the benefit of NCDs”

The 2nd part was a street action at the 3rd day of the project. Τhe methodology is:
Medical students informing the general public and distributing leaflets for the prevention of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases
Check-ups kiosk: Medical students were conducting check-ups by measuring the glucose levels and the blood pressure of the public.
The “Dance it out” kiosk: Free lessons of Zumba, Aerobic and Latin Dance were carried out and the public was encouraged to participate, thus promoting physical exercise.
The “Healthy Diet” kiosk: Healthy snacks such as salads, fruit-salads and smoothies were distributed to the public. In this kiosk there there were also live healthy meal preparations by famous chefs. There was also a quiz in which people were encouraged to test their knowledge on healthy eating.
The questionnaire kiosk: Medical students gathered information about the healthy lifestyle awareness of the public by filling in an anonymous questionnaire from the National Center of Disease Control. Currently a team leaded by the deputy vice president the National Center of Disease Control is working on this information and the relation between health awareness status and the appearance of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Plans for evaluation:

After the project was completed evaluation forms were sent to all the participants and the external partners for the evaluation of the project. The answers were gathered and analysed in order to improve the congress in the future. The statistics are noted above:

Participants:
General Impression of the Project: 5/5 : 60% , 4/5 : 34.3% , 3/5 : 5,7%
Speaches:
general impression: 5/5 : 57.1% , 4/5 :37.1% , 3/5 : 5,7%
speakers: 5/5 : 31.4% , 4/5 : 48.6% , 3/5 : 20%
information: 5/5 : 45.7% , 4/5 : 37.1% , 3/5 : 14.3% , 2/5 : 2.9%
duration: 5/5 : 31.4% , 4/5 : 40% , 3/5 : 20% , 2/5 : 8.9%
holistic approach of the subject: 5/5 : 40% , 4/5 : 45.7% , 3/5 :11.4% , 2/5 : 2.9%
Evaluation of the organization:
venue: 5/5 : 91.5% , 4/5 : 8.5%
lunch: 5/5 : 51.4% , 4/5 : 28.6% , 3/5 : 14.3% , 2/5 : 5.7%
coffee breaks: 5/5 : 57.1% , 4/5 : 31.4% , 3/5 : 11.5%
registration: 5/5 : 59.5% , 4/5 : 28.6% , 3/5 : 2.9% , 2/5 : 5.7%
fee in relation to benefits: 5/5 : 39.5% , 4/5 : 31.4% , 3/5 : 20% , 2/5 : 11.4%
street action: 5/5 : 54.3% , 4/5 : 34.3% , 3/5 : 5.7% , 2/5 : 5.7%
Evaluation of the street action:
general impression: 5/5 : 68.6% , 4/5 : 25.7% , 3/5 :2.9%
preparation: 5/5 : 37.1% , 4/5 : 34.3% , 3/5 : 11.4% , 2/5 :14.3%
participation: 5/5 : 57.1% , 4/5 : 28.6% , 3/5 : 11.4%
interaction with the public: 5/5 : 65.7% , 4/5 : 25.7% , 3/5 : 5.7%
duration: 5/5 : 48.6% , 4/5 : 28.6% , 3/5 : 17.6% , 2/5 : 2.9%

Externals:
Cooperation with HelMSIC:
general impression: 5/5 : 44.4% , 4/5 : 55.6%
project managment: 5/5 : 44.4% , 4/5 : 55.6%
consistency: 5/5 : 55.6% , 4/5 : 44.4%
availability: 5/5 : 77.8% , 4/5 : 22.2%
communication: 5/5 : 66.7% , 4/5 : 33.3%
Regarding the congress:
content: 5/5 : 55.6% , 4/5 : 44.4%
duration: 5/5 : 55.6% , 4/5 : 22.2% , 3/4 : 22.2%
preparation: 5/5 : 55.6% , 4/5 :33.3% , 3/4 : 11.1%
holistic approach: 5/5 : 44.4% , 4/5 : 44.4% , 3/4 : 11.1%