Atlanta-Based Health Program Reaching Youth through Music

By Johnson, Teddi Dineley | The Nation's Health, March 2008 | Go to article overview

Atlanta-Based Health Program Reaching Youth through Music


Johnson, Teddi Dineley, The Nation's Health


Communicating important health information to the nation's youth has long been a challenge, but a Georgia medical student is getting the word out in a language that's understood by most young people: music.

From March to May, a groundbreaking health education concert tour featuring many big-name artists will take to the stage in cities from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles. The program, Music Inspires Health, is the brainchild of Benjamin Levy, who said he created the initiative to empower teens, college students and young adults to make better decisions about their health.

"(For) most young people--it doesn't matter what country they're in--musicians are their role models, for the most part," said Levy, who is set to graduate from Atlanta's Emory University School of Medicine in May.

Levy, who has a bachelor's degree in music, developed Music Inspires Health over a two-year period with the active participation of hundreds of educators, medical students, physicians, public health experts and musicians.

"This is being organized not by the entertainment industry but by medical students and public health experts who are very close to that target age, to entice them to come to the event because of the music but to have it be about health education," he said.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Among the initiative's organizers is Levy's younger sister, Elizabeth Levy, MPH, CHES, who has volunteered her services in a number of ways, including developing and editing Web content and creating marketing material to promote the concerts and entice young people to buy a ticket, the cost of which will be kept to a minimum.

"Our target audience is on a very tight budget, so we're thinking $10 to $15 a ticket," said Elizabeth Levy, an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A 45-member national medical advisory board made up of physicians and public health experts wrote the health education content for the Music Inspires Health initiative, which in addition to the concert tour will include health education messages disseminated through multimedia tools that include a soon-to-be-launched Web site, streaming audio, flash animation and short films. …

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