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Building the foundation of health-related knowledge via near-peer education for children with sickle cell disease
Health education for children with chronic illnesses (i.e., sickle cell disease [SCD]) has focused on educating adult caregivers with minimal consideration to educating the pediatric patients. We introduce a pediatric-focused educational paradigm, health-related knowledge (HRK), teaching pediatric patients developmentally appropriate general health literacy, and disease-specific knowledge. Using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education concepts, pediatric-specific HRK interactive activities address educational gaps: (a) general STEM education; and (b) general health and disease-specific knowledge to improve clinical outcomes. Total 144 pediatric SCD patients completed HRK activities, revealing overwhelmingly positive feedback (87%). Seventy-five percent of participants in 6th grade and above demonstrated thorough understanding of the STEM/HRK topics taught.
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