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Feature:
High School Students Using MedlinePlus

Kids Create Healthy Comics

Fresh, innovative approach to health literacy

Teaching children how to find and understand good health information will help them make informed healthy lifestyle decisions that will carry into adulthood.

To that end, students from three South Carolina high schools are experimenting with imaginative ways to engage and increase health information among high school and middle school students, especially where the need is greatest, in the minority and economically disadvantaged communities in the state.

This project helped young people gain insight into health topics that are relevant to them, learn how to identify reliable health information resources, and educate their peers.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is supporting this new "Health Information Literacy Project," developed by the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

A sample comic book page from Choosing the Way on reducing childhood obesity
All photos courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Thompson, MUSC

"The South Carolina AHEC is always looking for creative, innovative, and fun ways for our students to learn," says Angelica Ellman Christie, Director, Health Careers Program, Medical University of South Carolina. "This opportunity allowed the participating students to gain insight into topics that are relevant to them while strengthening their personal understanding and use of reliable health information resources."

The Four Comic Books Are:

  • The Expert Investigator explores the impact of prevention and infection control during the threat of an Ebola outbreak.
  • Coast in Crisis 72-hour Aftermath tells about the importance of personal disaster preparedness and the role of local emergency response teams following a large-scale natural disaster.
  • Choosing the Way is a frank discussion of the childhood obesity problem and the role that choices in diet and exercise play in reducing risks related to obesity, heart disease, and other associated illnesses.
  • Prescription Strength addresses the risks associated with anabolic steroid use in athletes.
Comic Books

Downloadable copies of the four comic books are available at http://www.scahec.net/hcp/comic/currenteditions.html along with links to information resources and learning supplements that will be utilized by teachers working with middle-school children in the fall semester.

The students learned to use the health information resources of the NLM to create the comic book contents, and gained valuable experience accessing these tools to continually improve their health literacy and answer other health-related questions they or their parents will have in the future.

Creating the comic books was not only a fun exercise, but with the help of faculty advisors, the students also developed new verbal and writing skills, critical thinking, teamwork communication, and leadership abilities.

The student teams came from three high schools: Lowcountry Leadership Charter School, North Charleston High School, and Colleton County High School. They worked this past academic year on creating unique comic books that are visually appealing, tell the stories of students like them in words and pictures that are easily understandable, and that educate student readers about important health experiences they confront in their daily lives or that have recently been in the news.

Students from the Lowcountry AHEC Health Careers Program at Colleton County High School.

The student teams researched their topics, conducted investigative interviews with health professionals, developed the characters and storyline for their comic books, and compiled photos and videos to create the final products using a commercial software product.

Find Out More

Fall 2015 Issue: Volume 10 Number 3 Page 26-27