I am NOT talking about “Obamacare” or anything related to recent issues in health care. I am talking about students from HOSA, the Health Occupation Students of America. They are our future health care providers and my recent experience with them made me so relieved for the future of health care in our country.
Recently, I was asked to be a judge at the state of Texas HOSA Leadership Conference. This conference, held in San Antonio last week, included thousands of students from across the state, competing in many areas of health care debate and service, including prepared and extemporaneous speaking, extemporaneous writing, biomedical debate, skills testing and service projects, to name a few.
The category I participated in was public service announcements. Students had to create a 30 second PSA around the theme “Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet.” In teams of 3-6, they had to conceptualize, research, plan, shoot, edit and show a PSA around this theme. They were required to do target audience research, defend their cinematic approach to the problem AND they had 4 minutes to present it me and my co-judge, Monica Faulkenbery, APR, the assistant communications director for the Northside Independent School District.
Over a four hour period, we watched, listened to and scored 26 student teams from around the state.
Their work was amazing.
These students used sophisticated video techniques, including stop motion, white boards, jump action and Claymation. That’s right, Claymation. One group even used visuals crafted from a complex grid of color-coded sticky notes and, with stop motion camera work created animated visuals. Others used sepia frames or black and white to enhance the drama of their piece.
That’s not even the best part.
The best part is that they thoroughly understood their subject matter and why it’s important to clean out your medicine cabinets. Here’s why:
- Accidental overdoses by young people or old people
- Medicines are dangerous when they lose their shelf life
They also explained, comically and in great detail, how to safely dispose of medicines.
By the 5th presentation, I put a date on my electronic calendar for cleaning out my own medicine cabinet.
What was most impressive to me about this event?
Their professional demeanor. They thanked us for taking the time to judge the event. Each team had clear definition of roles and responsibilities in their presentation. And, with the exception of two college teams, they are all in high school.
If this is the next generation of health care professionals, we will all benefit from their obvious dedication to health and well-being.
The future of health care is bright and it has nothing to do with politics.