Today, two speakers came into class today with varying degrees of experience and different focus areas within health psychology. One was a graduate student working on research about how educational settings can affect student health while the other worked with patients with obesity. They talked about stigmas they may potentially face (i.e. being called a social worker) and challenges they face (i.e. trying to quantify variables). While both speakers were very interesting, my interest was focused on the research of the graduate student.
For the past four years, I’ve worked at the Center for Civic Engagement and learned more about the disparities that exist within Richmond’s public school system. I learned more about the financial and racial factors in regards to educational outcomes. I did not really think about how the condition of the building itself would impact a student’s physical health but it makes so much sense! And in order to create policy that’s best for the students, their physical health needs to be considered.
This reminded me how the state of Michigan (or at least governor) stated that literacy is not a constitutional right. This stems from the fact that teachers, students, and parents wanted better school buildings for learning. These old buildings were infested with rodents, had unsafe drinking water, and would get really cold/hot. Thus, it made students more susceptible to sickness. These buildings also were located in low income areas. For me, I think the state of Michigan is being insensitive. These low income students deserve to be in environments similar to other top public schools in the state where they do not face these building issues. All of these awful conditions within the building affect the student’s health and educational outcomes.