Dr. Muhiuddun Haider, SPH Students Nadiyah Alvi, Jonathan Lewis, and June Solow

Dr. Muhiuddun Haider, SPH Students Nadiyah Alvi, Jonathan Lewis, and June Solow

October 11, 2018

Lupus is a chronic disease that affects many parts of the body including the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs and brain. While anyone can develop lupus, the disease disproportionately targets African American women ages 15-44. Lupus can seriously affect young women’s goals for education, career, family and health.

To raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of lupus, and ultimately help reduce health disparities by reducing the time to diagnosis, students are participating in the Playbook project – a student-powered localized grassroots lupus awareness campaign from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). The Playbook project aims to raise young, at-risk women’s awareness of and perceived personal risk for lupus and urges women to track their symptoms and take action to see a doctor. 

The Playbook project stems from the Lupus Initiative a national lupus awareness campaign funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and developed by the ACR in collaboration with the Lupus Foundation of America. The Playbook project relies on the efforts of college students to spread lupus awareness on their own campuses and provides a step by step implementation guide that provides student organizations with detailed activities to interact with, personalize and spread the key messages of the national lupus awareness campaign.

With more than five million people estimated to have the condition worldwide, lupus is a global health problem. As part of a globally minded organization dedicated to reducing health disparities around the world by increasing awareness about good health practices, these public health science and public health without borders students are well placed to help educate the University of Maryland community on Lupus. 

“Communicating with students, we found that most people have heard of lupus, but do not know details about what it is,” said Senior Nadiyah Alvi. “Making steps such as spreading awareness on campus may have the ability to educate individuals and potentially save lives, which is why the Playbook project can really make a difference if promoted throughout all college campuses.”

Through this campaign the student volunteers used the materials provided by the Playbook project to educate themselves and others on the definition of lupus, its signs and symptoms and what to do if you suspect you (or someone you know) has lupus. 

As a capstone, the students organized a #BeFierceTakeControl hands-on event to reach the University of Maryland student population. On Monday, September 17, three students, Nadiyah Alvi, Jonathan Lewis and June Solow held a lupus awareness event at the University of Maryland STAMP Student Union. Guided by Dr. Muhiuddin Haider, a clinical professor in global health (MIAEH), they launched a pre-event social media campaign, provided educational materials, and empowered students to take control of their health.

Their efforts helped educate the campus community. The students plan to use the data from their student satisfaction survey to plan future lupus awareness events on campus.

Dr. Muhiuddun Haider, SPH Students Nadiyah Alvi, Jonathan Lewis, and June Solow at the #BeFierceTakeControl hands-on event on Monday, September 17. 

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