The Northern Michigan University Center for Rural Health has announced the winners of its annual essay competition for U.P. high school seniors to coincide with National Rural Health Day. This year's contest was sponsored by the Literacy Legacy Fund of Michigan and the Michigan Center for Rural Health. The top three prizes in each U.P. region—east, central and west—were $500, $250 and $100.
Students were asked to write an essay of 500 or fewer words that addressed the following topic: “Identify two ways that college and university students can contribute to efforts in any of the five key areas of social determinants of health: healthcare access and quality; education access and quality; social and community context; economic stability; or neighborhood and built environment.”
The final results are below:
East: Kiarie Williams, Sault Ste. Marie, 1st; Morgan Brow, Sault Ste. Marie, 2nd; Nevaeh Haines, Pickford, 3rd.
Central: Madison Couillard, Rapid River, 1st; Hannah Ruuska, Marquette, 2nd; Megan Dausey, Rapid River, 3rd.
West: Meghan Hemmer, Houghton, 1st.
Here are excerpts from each region's first-place essays:
“Students can contribute efforts toward the healthcare system by organizing in person gatherings to educate the public on their own personal health. Student organized mobile health fairs would be a great way to provide this education right in their own community. Students can create eye-catching posters, give interesting speeches, provide hands-on activities, and have objects people can leave with.” Kiarie Williams, Sault Ste. Marie.
“Students can help people who struggle in the area of lack of transportation. Creating designated areas around neighborhoods for bicycle stations or racks would benefit the community for the people who don't have easy access to transportation, they would be getting the benefit of exercise as well as getting to the places they need to.” Madison Couillard, Rapid River.
“Firstly, young adults can serve as positive role models for youth, as building healthy habits should start early. This can be through volunteering with pre-established organizations like the Teen Outreach Program (TOP) or mentoring associations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters.” Meghan Hemmer, Houghton.
All winning essays may be viewed on the NMU Center for Rural Health website at https://nmu.edu/ruralhealth/essay-contest.