The Stateline Community Foundation has awarded the Beloit Public Health Initiative $1,000 to continue its work in the upcoming academic year. The initiative is dedicated to raising awareness and reducing sexually transmitted infections in Beloit and Rock County.
Students became involved in this cause after learning about Beloit’s high rate of sexually transmitted infections and the lack of education available to youth about prevention. As part of their work, they collaborate with community agencies, the Rock County Health Department, businesses, and community members.
The students in BPHI are currently developing a “Myth Busters” brochure, presentation, and game that aim to identify and dispel misconceptions about STIs and HIV/AIDs. The products will be distributed to churches and other organizations in the Beloit community.
In addition, sophomore Sara DeLong from Concord, Mass., worked on an art project with community youth called “Taking Health Into Our Own Hands.” DeLong gave them a card listing a STI statistic and asked them to either draw a picture or use words to describe their responses. The products will be displayed at Community Action, Inc.’s Eclipse Center location, 600 Henry Ave. in Beloit.
Other BPHI projects include producing informational advertisements about sliding-scale and free STI healthcare service providers in Beloit.
“It has been an eye-opening and incredible experience to be a part of such a dedicated group of people, and to learn what it means to examine data, build relationships with local community members, and design a project that contributes to our overall goal,” DeLong said. “I feel like I have achieved so much by being a part of this initiative this semester, and we are just getting started.”
In addition to the award from the Stateline Community Foundation, BPHI has received an award from the Department of Health and Human Services for their work in Beloit.
Senior Elizabeth Chiquoine from Reedsburg, Wis., is the BPHI student coordinator, and Biology Professor Marion Fass is the faculty advisor.