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Healthy fun at NMHM's Teddy Bear Clinic

By Paul Bello, National Museum of Health and Medicine

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Not even dark clouds and rain could wash away the smiles at this year's Teddy Bear Clinic, held Sept. 13, 2014, on the grounds of the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM), in Silver Spring, Md.

The event, which has been a popular program at NMHM since 2009, allows children to don a lab coat and stethoscope and pretend to be a doctor. Along the way, they learn about good health practices and physical fitness from volunteers while using their favorite stuffed companion as a patient.

Among those offering a hand this year was a group of Howard University students from the Pediatric Interest Association and the school's Department of Physical Therapy. They assisted children with everything from giving their teddy bears flu shots to brushing their teeth and offering nutritional and fitness tips.

"This is a nice, informal way of explaining to children and parents all the things you can do to enhance good health," said Bernardine Evans, a professor of physical therapy at Howard University and an NMHM volunteer docent. "We hope to give parents an idea of a fitness schedule and run with it from there."

Latoya Beatty, a second year student at Howard University's College of Medicine, was overjoyed by the interaction she had with the young attendees. She plans on pursuing a career in pediatrics once she has graduated.

"I absolutely love the interaction with children. They're so much fun to be around," Beatty said. "This experience has given me some ideas on how to conduct an exam and how to talk to children. That's an entirely different scenario than dealing with adults."

Jasmine Hughes, another second year medical student, was having a blast talking to kids and helping them look for their teddy bear's heartbeat. Watching them have fun was her biggest takeaway from the day.

"It's fun to see them having fun. If anything, we're asking them questions instead of the other way around," Hughes said. "They're really excited about the topic and have a good understanding on how important it is to be healthy. That's wonderful to see at such a young age."

Lisa Hubbard is no stranger to the NMHM, as she has visited before as part of her Girl Scout troop from Rockville, Md. As a parent, she's pleased to see the museum offering programs like this to the community.

"It's important for children to learn how to eat and exercise properly. That goes a long way in their development," Hubbard said. "We always enjoy outings like this. Plus, it's another way for some of our girls to earn badges and move up in rank. That's an added bonus."

Andrea Schierkolk, NMHM's public programs manager, said the Teddy Bear Clinic not only provides a unique opportunity to introduce good health and fitness practices to a young audience, but that it also supports the Army Medicine's Performance Triad initiative which emphasizes a regimen of healthy eating, sleeping, and movement.

NMHM's public programs connect the mission of the Department of Defense museum with the public. NMHM was founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862 and moved to its new location in Silver Spring, Md. in 2012. Information on upcoming events, including a family program about skulls on November 1, will be posted on www.medicalmuseum.mil. For additional information or any questions, please call 301-319-3300.

 

Caption: Students from the Howard University Pediatric Interest Association and Physical Therapy program volunteered at this year's Teddy Bear Clinic at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM), in Silver Spring, Md. The event, which was held Sept. 13, 2014, allows children to visit the museum with their favorite stuffed animal and learn about healthy habits and physical fitness. NMHM has hosted the Teddy Bear Clinic since 2009.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)
Caption: Juan Bassett, National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) histology technician, demonstrates how to administer a shot on a doll during this year's Teddy Bear Clinic. The event, which was held Sept. 13, 2014, in Silver Spring, Md., allows children to visit the museum with their favorite stuffed animal and learn about healthy habits and physical fitness.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)
Caption: Participants made a doctor's bag at this year's Teddy Bear Clinic, which was held at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Silver Spring, Md., on Sept. 13, 2014. The event allows children to visit the museum with their favorite stuffed animal and learn about healthy habits and physical fitness

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)
Caption: A young boy learns how to check a heartbeat from a Howard University medical student during this year's Teddy Bear Clinic, which was held Sept. 13, 2014, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Silver Spring, Md. The event allows children to visit the museum with their favorite stuffed animal and learn about healthy habits and physical fitness.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)
Caption: Under guidance from a Howard University medical student, a young visitor administers a vaccine to her bear during this year's Teddy Bear Clinic, which was held Sept. 13, 2014, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Silver Spring, Md. The event allows children to visit the museum with their favorite stuffed animal and learn about healthy habits and physical fitness.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)
Caption: Young visitors practice brushing techniques and hear a story about visiting the dentist from Howard University medical students at this year's Teddy Bear Clinic, which was held Sept. 13, 2014, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Silver Spring, Md. The event allows children to visit the museum with their favorite stuffed animal and learn about healthy habits and physical fitness.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)
Caption: A Howard University physical therapy student assists a young girl with an activity that makes physical fitness fun at this year's Teddy Bear Clinic, which was hosted by the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Silver Spring, Md., on Sept. 13, 2014. The event allows children to visit the museum with their favorite stuffed animal and learn about healthy habits and physical fitness.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)
Caption: Young visitors illustrate a plate of healthy food choices during this year's Teddy Bear Clinic, which was held Sept. 13, 2014, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Silver Spring, Md. The event allows children to visit the museum with their favorite stuffed animal and learn about healthy habits and physical fitness.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)
Caption: Children learned about healthy habits and physical fitness at this year's Teddy Bear Clinic, which was held Sept. 13, 2014, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, in Silver Spring, Md.

(Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo / Released)