Teens get an education on health at Touro

The students were taken by bus to the Mare Island campus to learn about all things health-related, from nutrition to quitting smoking to sex education.

The Touro gym was changed into an informational health fair, along with a number of interactive areas where students can participate in yoga, climb a rock wall or learn how to put on condoms.

Kathi Hill, program manager at ET Squared, was on the campus with Planned Parenthood to talk to teens about Chlamydia and Gonorrhea — according to 2012 statistics, Solano County youth were among the highest rates of contracting the two sexually transmitted diseases. 

“Protection is what we say (to teens). Abstinence is number one, but it’s not the only way,” Hill said.

“If those kids are smart enough to come in and ask (about safe sex practices), we should be adult enough to answer those questions for them and that’s what it comes down to,” Hill added. “Either we care about the kids or we don’t. And sending them away with no resources and no education, is not a way to do it for them. We can’t keep them safe if they don’t know what to do.”

Conference organizer and student, Brittany Napier, said that she wanted the students to interact with the content. 

“Last year, we had quite a few presentations and we really wanted teens to be doing things this year,” Napier said. “We wanted them to be hands-on with things: To be planting things, to be putting on condoms and be active with the weight-lifting. ... I think they like the chance to have some variety (at the conference).”

Students, along with outside organizations, worked together to create informative booths for the teenagers. Winnie Trieu, a student with the pharmacy school, put together an anti-smoking booth, focusing on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a disease that affects the lungs and can make it difficult to breathe. Trieu had a mini-lung display, showing the issues with smoking and its effects on the lungs.  

“I think that a lot of kids in high school, they’re starting to smoke but they don’t realize (what can happen),” Trieu said. “Everyone is like, ‘Oh, you can get lung cancer,’ but a lot of things can come from smoking. Smoking can aggravate asthma, smoking can cause COPD by making your lungs less malleable and so it becomes harder to breathe as you get older. (COPD) is a gradual thing and a lot of people don’t notice it and it’s a big problem — it’s not just cancer.

“Hopefully that gets them thinking about reasons they shouldn’t smoke,” Trieu added.

Teens get an education on health at Touro

Anselm Duchaussee, left, and Cherish Surrell, center, both 16 and juniors at Jesse Bethel High, attempt to perform an ‘eagle pose’ during a yoga instruction session Wednesday at Touro University. The yoga demonstration, conducted by volunteer Bay Area yoga instructor Dana Capps, was part of Touro’s Teen Life Conference. MIKE JORY — VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD