New program in preventive medicine to launch

For the first time, the Stanford Prevention Research Center will offer a nine-month professional certificate program in preventive medicine.

The Stanford Health 4 America Fellows Program is designed to train college graduates to become preventive medicine experts. They can use the skills and knowledge they acquire through the program to work with a variety of organizations, such as food banks, schools and senior centers, on preventing chronic disease and promoting health and wellness The program also can help propel the fellows to the next stage of their academic career.

The center is accepting applications through Oct. 21 for the January-September 2014 cohort. This group of 25 fellows will learn the science of preventing chronic diseases though a combination of coursework taught by Stanford faculty and supervised internships.

"We are recruiting for diversity in age and background in our program," said Sonoo Thadaney, director of program development. "Because the cohort sizes are small, classmates will have the opportunity to get to know and learn from one another. A diverse cohort will make this program a far richer experience for fellows."

Thadaney emphasized that a key advantage of the program is the one-on-one mentorship students will receive from the Stanford faculty members — professor Randall Stafford, MD, PhD; associate professor Christopher Gardner, PhD; associate professor Judith Prochaska, PhD, MPH; and assistant professor Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD. "For some faculty members, the path to their current career had twists and turns," Thadaney said. "At an August information session, the faculty shared that one of the many reasons they are participating is because they wished a similar program existed when they were on their education journeys."

The coursework component consists of six classes that will teach students how to prevent and manage chronic diseases via healthy changes in nutrition, exercise and behavior. Internships will teach students how to apply this knowledge in a future career. As interns, students will work with Stanford mentors to design, implement and evaluate the efficacy of a preventive medicine plan that is tailored for their partner organization in the community.

Thadaney and Gardner explained that fellows can serve as interns at a wide range of organizations in the community, including Stanford Hospital & Clinics, food banks, local schools, race- and ethnicity-based centers, faith-based centers and homeless shelters.

For example, one intern might work with a senior center to develop an exercise and nutrition curriculum specialized for seniors. Another intern might partner with a homeless shelter to develop resources to treat and manage chronic diseases and substance abuse. Another might partner with an organization to develop a corporate-wellness program to promote health for their employees and families.

The application criteria for this program are broad by design. "Because we're just starting the program, we want to cast a broad net," said Gardner, a nutrition expert. Anyone with a college degree and an interest in preventive medicine can apply to the program; an advanced degree is not required. The cost of the program is $20,000. Financial aid is available to eligible students.

People who are interested in applying to the program are encouraged to attend an information session Oct. 17. Please visit http://health4america.stanford.edu to RSVP for the session and to learn more about the program.

For additional details, contact program associate T.O. Preising at preising@stanford.edu.


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