Biology Senior Turns Advocacy Project into Lifelong Passion

The end of the semester can be a fun and challenging time. Students are preparing for final exams and dreaming of summer, but for one Biology senior, a semester-long advocacy project will finally be coming to life.

Jenna Tuttle spent her January term interning at Wake Forest School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. While there, Tuttle was given the opportunity to create a project that helped fulfill her passion for art.

“My internship was focused on patient advocacy where I visited many advocacy sites in Winston-Salem,” said Tuttle.

From those visits, Tuttle decided to further target her project on redesigning a pediatric waiting room with a focus on literacy in the Downtown Health Plaza. She partnered with local high school AP art students to turn the waiting room into an area with an outer space and flight theme.

“I noticed the room was dark and had a lot of unused space. After talking with some of the staff, they expressed a complaint that kids and parents became bored and felt anxious while waiting,” said Tuttle.

After learning about the Downtown Health Plaza’s literacy initiative program, Reach Out and Read, Tuttle also incorporated a literacy corner to the waiting room.

Tuttle stated, “It is my greatest hope that my advocacy project adds to each child’s desire to read. In January, I began purchasing furniture and I’m building bookshelves for the books that come from Reach Out and Read.”

The pediatric waiting room will be completed in May 2014. Tuttle hopes that the literacy corner will improve children’s oral language skills and that they will enjoy their time at the doctor’s office.

“Ultimately, I want to continue to strive for the optimal outcome of child health through being their advocate in my own practice on day and beyond,” concluded Tuttle.

By Megan Taylor

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