Monthly Archives: September 2011

Food for thought

Hey HAP!

Here’s another interesting quote from Your Money or Your Life by David Cutler: (by the way, to those of you still looking to add/drop classes, EMR20’s turning out to be a great course if you’re interested in some really intriguing topics ranging from how to help out the “bottom billion” to what kinds of public health approaches may solve America’s obesity problem. You can check out the course website here & you need to login with a Harvard ID)

People viewing depression as a biological disease are more likely to talk to their doctor about the illness and seek treatment.  Doctors who know that safe treatments are available are more likely to diagnose it.  In the years since Prozac was approved, diagnosis of depression has doubled” (42).

Question: What does depression have to do with HAP’s health education to members of the younger generation? Answer: This quote highlights the key importance of education.  Once people acknowledge something as a “biological disease”, suddenly their whole attitude towards that condition can change.  In turn, only with a shift in attitude can there be a change in lifestyle, which frankly is the best action a person can take within his or her own control to prevent not only biological diseases like obesity and emphysema, but also the precursors to these diseases.  By choosing against risky behaviors like excessive avoidance of exercise or smoking, people can proactively see that they are fighting against disease, and will feel the urgency as if they had already been diagnosed.  Imagine the power of this kind of attitude, if everyone were well-informed enough to take care of themselves before they had a disease!

It seems education is the key to revolutionizing the system of American health care as one that consistently delivers better health outcomes in the future.

Food for thought!

Posted by Alice Li ’14


Food for thought

So I’m reading Your Money or Your Life by David Cutler, who’s teaching the course “The Business & Politics of Health”, and this sentence stood out: “What we do not prevent, we wind up treating later, frequently at a higher cost.”  It got me wondering at a seemingly obvious question: what if instead of elevating costs (and risks) of procedures like bypass surgery, why not proactively prevent the problem- say provide people access to ingredients for a homemade sandwich instead of a cholesterol-filled burger?

Of course, that’s a simplification of the problem- there’s plenty of complicating factors that go into the benefits of preventive over curative medicine.  For instance, a dollar in most urban areas can buy a full-sized meal (in terms of number of calories consumed) at the local burger joint, while that same dollar can maybe buy one apple- that is, if a single piece of fresh fruit could be found in the first place.

True, bypass surgery exists today (and we ARE extremely lucky that it does), but could we ever get to a point where it’s no longer needed?

At the moment, at least anyone can agree, one way that can help us get there is education- and that’s where HAP can help the younger generation become aware of the benefits of preventive medicine through a healthy lifestyle.

Food for thought!

Posted by Alice Li ’14

Partner organizations!

Hey HAP! Here’s the breakdown of the programs we’re partnering with so far, including age category you would be working with, time commitment, etc.  Check it out and watch out for a survey we’ll be emailing out asking for sign-ups!

*We’re still waiting to hear back from a few other programs that work with elementary students, we’ll let you know when they get back to us!

Name of program BRYE (Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment Program) Citizen Schools ESP (Harvard Educational Studies Program)
age group elementary students (2nd-5th grade ) junior high high school
time commitment thursday, once OR every other week; 45-minute lessons thursday, once OR every other week; 1.5-hour lessons saturday, once a week; 2-hour lessons
time 3-4 PM 2-4 PM flexible
location Dorchester Edwards Middle School on campus
length of program 10 weeks 10 weeks 7 weeks
class size ~10 ~15 ~20

Harvard School of Public Health Newsfeed!

Hey HAP!  Here’s a great link through the Harvard School of Public Health, you can subscribe to stay up-to-date on the most recent press releases!

Or check out:

HSPH on Twitter:
HSPH on Facebook:
HSPH on You Tube:
HSPH home page:

Posted by Alice Li ’14

First General Meeting: Sunday September 11th, 5-6 PM, Quincy Dining Hall

Bring your ideas for lesson plans if you have any, and don’t forget to spread the word to your friends!

Our Google Calendar is up!  Add it to your gcal to make meeting and sign-up times easier to manage!

You can use THIS map to find Quincy Dining Hall.

Don’t worry if you missed the introductory meeting- feel free to come to get your questions answered! See you there!

What’s the big deal anyway? This video clip is a MUST-SEE:

Posted by Alice Li ’14

Great first introductory meeting!

Amazing first introductory meeting- looks like we’re getting lots of new faces on the team this year!  Thanks to those of you who came!

For those of you who couldn’t make it, no worries!  Email us at to join the email list, and we can update you with our weekly meeting schedule.  Feel free to bring your own ideas for lesson plans to the table.  In the meantime, take a look around the website and share with your friends!

Posted by Alice Li ’14

Fault Lines: Fast food, fat profits: Obesity in America

Hey HAP! Here’s an excellent documentary on obesity in America- check out 9:08 especially!  What do you think?

Posted by Alice Li ’14