My STEP project was a research project called Project S.W.E.A.T. which stands for Summer Weight and Eating Assessment Trial. In our research project we went to low income socioeconomic areas of Columbus and studied the eating habits and exercise tendencies of elementary aged children in the summer as apposed to during the school year. We used surveys as well as data points such as height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure to obtain the data.
After participating in Project S.W.E.A.T. I learned about a community that I had not been able to have interaction with in my lifetime and that changed my views. There has always been the stereotype that people in low socioeconomic situations or people that are in shelters or homeless tend to be lazy or are dirty and that is why they are in the situation they are in. After interacting with the people in these situations, that is not in fact the case for most of them. In some situations they had been dealt bad hands during life or had a major life event that set them back while they are trying to provide for their family.
There are a couple examples of families that I met with that helped in altering some of my views. Working and talking through the surveys with these caregivers and their children really made me sit back and see how they are looking at life. We worked with a family that had five children in the study, but worked to take care of over 10 children on some to most days. There was another family with four children in the study, and I met another family with five children. My family has three children and there are times when it is hard to make some ends meet, so to imagine having to take care of up to 12 children seemed nearly impossible to me
Some parents I worked with were in the process of going back to school to finish their degree or to try for a masters degree. As part of the research we had to call to perform dietary recalls, so in order to do these we had to plan time that would fit our schedule, but more importantly fit their schedule. I struggle enough to juggle school work with extracurriculars and my friends. For these people, they have to juggle their school work, a job, as well as their families. For them to find the time to talk to us and go through seemingly endless surveys speaks to them and how they want the best for their children.
There were even families that had to send their children to different schools just to make it work in the house. This point may sound odd because one would think that sending kids to different schools would end up being more difficult than just sending them to the same school, but for a couple of families they had kids going to both schools. I never personally asked why they sent kids to multiple schools, but I could only imagine the struggles that goes along with that.
This alteration in my view will impact my life in the future in my preferred career path. I wish to be a MD after it is all said and done. With being a MD, comes the necessity to be able to gain the trust of people from many different backgrounds, so they believe what you are saying and do as you prescribe them. I feel like the best way to connect to people and gain their trust is to have a knowledge of what their background is or could be like. Having done this will definitely help me by being to connect to someone who may be living in a low socioeconomic situation.