HealthCorps Proven Effective in Preventing Obesity in Children

Last month, HealthCorps founder Dr. Mehmet Oz (author and heart surgeon) presented findings of a recent study on the impact of HealthCorps Coordinators in their communities.

Dr. Oz, HealthCorps Founder

Dr. Oz, HealthCorps Founder

A new study on HealthCorps—a school-based educational and mentoring program modeled after the Peace Corps—shows that its students are “reducing soda consumption, exercising more and developing a better understanding of healthy behaviors.” The study looked at 971 high school students enrolled in 11 New York City high schools (although HealthCorps operates in 50 schools in nine states across the United States).

The two-year study was conducted by Professor John Cawley, Ph.D., in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. Cawley’s research includes a range of topics connected to the “economics of obesity” like the “effect of body weight on labor market outcomes such as wage rates, unemployment, employment disability, and the transition from welfare to work, and  “the role of body weight in adolescent behavior, such as smoking and sexual activity.”

Dr. Oz said, who presented the study’s findings in June, said:

“These findings underscore the effectiveness of our peer mentoring program in our mission to stem child Continue reading

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HealthCorps Holds Annual Gala, April 30 in NYC

Green Garden GalaHealthCorps — the national service corps founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz that brings health mentoring and education into public schools across the United States — is holding its Green Garden Gala, an annual black (and green) tie fundraiser, tomorrow night at the World Financial Center in Manhattan.

The Gala aims to raise funds to establish HealthCorps’s curriculum in more schools and to honor actor and dancer Ben Vereenan advocate of diabetes awareness, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and New York Philanthropist and CEO of the Red Apple Group John Catsimatidis for their  considerable contributions to the health and well-being of American youth. Check out this video about the event.

HealthCorps will also grant its first Music for a Better Life award to music legend Quincy Jones. The night will also feature performances from Wyclef Jean, Stepp Stewart, and Eturnity Band. Hip-hop mogul and vegan Russell Simmons will attend, among 500 other supporters.

In addition to the entertainment, the Gala will also incorporate elements of HealthCorps’s Mental Resilience curriculum into the evening’s activities, with booths set up to offer tastings of healthy foods, and to teach guests about reading food labels, for example.

The fundraiser (individual tickets to attend cost $1000) goes to support the activities of HealthCorps which currently places health coordinators in 44 public schools across the country to educate teens about healthy diet and lifestyle through tailored peer-mentoring and activism. The two-year term of service offers a stipend and benefits to coordinators, who are often recent college grads heading for a career in medicine or public health. (Note that HealthCorps isn’t currently affiliated with AmeriCorps, so the benefits structure is different from AmeriCorps service.)

HealthCorps is currently recruiting — check out the elegibility requirements and consider applying.

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Dr. Oz’s Day of Zumba Action

Dr. Oz on Oprah

Dr. Oz on The Oprah Winfrey Show

Yeah, I know, this isn’t a competition.

But I challenge anyone to come up with a more imaginative, more entertaining way to highlight the national service movement and health issues than a zumba Latin dance-off for diabetes.

That’s how Dr. Mehmet Oz—heart surgeon, author, frequent Oprah guest, and HealthCorps founder—is participating in the Day of Action, Sept. 27. In doing so, he will join over 2,500 other community service projects taking place all over the United States as part of Service Nation, the campaign for more citizen service and community activism.

Dr. Oz will lead a zumba Latin dance demonstration of his own with over 200 participants as part of the American Diabetes Association‘s Diabetes Expo at the Javits Center in Manhattan. The effort aims to highlight the impact of national service and HealthCorps’s commitment to fighting diabetes and childhood obesity.

Dr. Oz says, “We can’t remedy our country’s health crisis by legislating solutions. I created HealthCorps to send volunteers to our nation’s high schools to mentor their adopted brothers and sisters. They’re making health cool and hip. Besides eating smart and exercising wisely, they’re teaching mental resilience and addressing underserved communities.”

HealthCorps is a school-based peer mentoring and community outreach program that deploys recent college graduates to empower teens to become educated consumers and health activists.

HealthCorps seeks to expand its 45-school program to serve more states, develop even more of an emphasis on consumer education, and encourage all Americans to prioritize prevention and personal responsibility.

HealthCorps members typically go on to attend medical school or engage in other public health careers.

Dr. Oz fans will be glad to hear that in September 2009 he’s set to host “The Dr. Oz Show,” a syndicated talk show produced by Oprah’s Harpo Productions.

In a week, communities all over the United States will answer the call to serve on Service Nation’s Day of Action, Sept. 27th. Idealist.org staff are organizing our first-ever Youth Action Fair in New York.

Find a project to participate in, in your community.

But…what is zumba? This is the shortest (and cutest) demo I could find on Youtube:

Watch Dr. Oz speak (not dance) during the Day of Action event:

Here is the Zumba class that took place that day:

Service Nation Summit the Finale

BetheChangeInc and RocchiJulia are tweeting.

Also see this post from Future Leaders in Philanthropy (FLiP).

Jean Case of the Case Foundation: bring the sectors together to change the conversation about national service and sustain the energy we’ve felt here. Introducing the CEO Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs. “It says something when one of the most powerful companies in the world works so hard to eliminate inequalities.”

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs: Staff of Goldman Sachs are expected to volunteer with organizations they care about. People already come with a strong sense of service. People leaving the firm often go on to public service, so the corporate volunteer program at Goldman Sachs must be strong. One corporate engagement program, 10,000 Woman, is a program that enables business and management education for women in developing countries and the United States who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. Alligns with fundamental business of Goldman Sachs. Program develop curricula, works with professors, increases accessibility of business education. Includes Goldman Staff employees through its mentor-match connections to the women seeking business education. Another Goldman Sachs outreach area includes helping nonprofits through the Capacity Building Initiative and is launching a new enterprise, Leadership in Service, a daylong conference for nonprofit executives. Coming Spring 2009, with Case Foundation. Sessions on specific areas like board development, financial management, staff development, and program evaluation.

Rick Stengel, Managing Editor of TIME. Great speaker. Educate the governed, essential for a democracy. He’s just doing his job.

Anne S. Moore, Chairman and CEO of TIME Inc. Doesn’t play favorites among staff and sees amazing work come across her desk. It’s hard to knock her socks off. Occasionally her breath is taken away. “If you want to be happy for a lifetime, help other people” — quoting from a Rabbi’s advice to a newly married couple. Says Rick is her favorite editor today. Will support him in escalating the call to serve. Introduces Hillary Clinton.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Each of us can serve in a way that suits our talents and interests. Service Nation can make sure that the table of service in the United States can be big enough so that everyone can find a place. Many problems in the United States but with Service Nation’s leadership, we “can turn what is an American phenomenon and turn it into a great and growing movement.” AmeriCorps members turn a one-or-two year commitment into a lifetime of service. Bill Clinton says AmeriCorps is “one of his favorite accomplishments.” Clinton is proud to join the co-sponsorship on the Serve America Act. Also working on the U.S. Public Service Academy bill with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA). Need more youth to consider public service. She says she was taught the importance of service in church and school as a youth, that she owed something back. She says she has been in service her entire life, and it has taught her a lot about herself. “A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting other candles” – quoting from Fr. James Keller. “What we are doing is going out and igniting tens of millions of other candles.” Every year her staff volunteers on 9/11 and helped kick off MyGoodDeed.org, founded by Jay Winuk in the spirit of his brother Glenn Winuk who lost his life when he went into a tower as a volunteer firefighter on 9/11 to help. Clinton says we are the beneficiaries of the American experiment and struggle against enemy forces. “I think it takes a village, and now it takes a nation….Service Nation, we are ready…”

Followed by…Jon Bon Jovi…”How am I supposed to follow that?” The rocker is optimistic that candidates are going to meet and exceed goals of Service Nation, with the help and support of Service Nation and its partners. Proud that his oldest daughter was present to hear Hillary Clinton speak. Bon Jovi was born “a year to the day” after the creation of the Peace Corps. His oldest daughter was born the year AmeriCorps was created. “You might remember me as a 26 year old with a guitar and a dream,” he says. You don’t have to be wealthy to tap into the “power of we.” He is now the co-owner of the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football League team which serves its community in addition to playing football. The team takes on projects such as building homes and reclaiming troubled urban neighborhoods. “I want to make volunteerism the new black!” (If you don’t know, “the new black” means “the coolest thing ever.” I had to ask. In Portland we tend towards blues and greens I guess?)

Capt. Amy Clements of Colorado. Reading the Declaration of Service on stage with others who enthusiastically share in the reading. Consider signing the Declaration if you are of a mind to!

Dr. Mehmet Oz, Founder of the privately funded service program HealthCorps, heart surgeon, author, and Oprah favorite! [Life altering side comment: I have met a really interesting woman Amy B. on the Service Nation media team, who works with Health Corps and knows Dr. Oz, who in turn works with and knows Oprah. I am two degrees of separation from Oprah. I LOVE Oprah. What a great day today is.] Service Nation has the right prescription, Dr. Oz says, in bringing the private sector and the public sector together. Introduces Arnold Schwarzenegger who joins us by satellite.

Arnold! Has promised not to leave California till the state budget is passed — apologizes for not being here in person. He and Maria are all “pumped up” over national service. He’s really funny and has made the audience laugh out loud several times in the first few minutes of his talk. Blunt and has good timing to boot. As a youth, his goals were simple: build a perfect body and then go to Hollywood to make movies. He says he never would have guessed he’d be happy doing service, working for no salary (he hasn’t accepted a salary from the state of California since becoming governor). He started out serving people to “pump them up” but they pumped him up! Wasn’t making a million dollars, but “felt like a million dollars.” Says the Kennedy influence brought him into service. (His wife, journalist Maria Shriver, is the daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver who was active with the Special Olympics movement, and Sargent Shriver the first director of Peace Corps. She is also a niece of late President John F. Kennedy.) Going “from one thing to the next,” he got involved with fitness and exercising as a public health issue. Now he loves being a governor, to get up every morning to think “What can I do for these millions of people?” Sometimes government gets in the way. For example, volunteers couldn’t work on union-protected projects till he helped changed the law to pave the way for volunteers to serve. Today he tells his children (with a weight my parents could not have had if they had told me) that they can be millionaires if they want, but that they should reserve a place on their resumes for service. He also was the first governor to elevate the California commissioner on voluntary action and and service, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Alumnae Karen Baker, to a cabinet-level post. (New York governor David Patterson announced last night that he planned to do the same.)

With the conclusion of Schwarzenegger’s speech, Emily Cherniack of Be the Change Inc. thanked sponsors and partners, and the historic event concluded with the audience and volunteers enjoying a networking period.