Daria Milovanova staff writer
The Scoliosis Awareness Week event at Beverly Vista Middle School (BVMS), hosted by the BHHS Scoliosis Awareness Club, will be promoting early scoliosis identification and treatment in adolescents. The event will last for five days from March 15-19. BVMS students will have access to a multitude of informative resources on scoliosis screening and exercises.
“Students will be able to participate by seeing the information the ASB shares on [its] video morning announcements, ‘The Dog-Cast,’ as well as watching videos, looking up stats, and research on our ASB Instagram page throughout the week. [The Instagram profile name is] @bvms.asb,” BVMS’s Associated Student Body advisor and event administrator Jaime Tintor said.
Scoliosis Awareness Club president and event organizer senior Natasha Melamed past experiences with the condition inspired her to encourage scoliosis awareness in middle schools. According to ScoliSMART, one of the Scoliosis Awareness Week’s resources, early identification allows for a “proper course of treatment that can control — or even reverse — the effects of scoliosis.”
“The club has been targeting a middle school audience because that’s when there’s a really good chance that you can get early identification and take the proper steps in order to hopefully treat this condition. I know for me that was the case. I was able to cure my condition because of that early identification,” Melamed said.
Melamed dedicated each day of the Scoliosis Awareness Week to cover specific topics related to scoliosis. Monday was an introduction day when Melamed introduced herself and her club to BVMS students. On Tuesday, she sent out information about the early onset of scoliosis and home identification of the condition. Wednesday and Thursday will cover facts, figures, risk factors and other data on scoliosis and its prevalence in adolescents. The last day of the event will acquaint students with tips and exercises for scoliosis and posture improvement.
“We are going to be sending out different links, videos and posts to the student body in an attempt to…raise some awareness on this condition and kind of give parents and students a lot to ride with, like an outlet to…become a little more aware of treatment options and identification,” Melamed said.
To organize the resources for Scoliosis Awareness Week, Scoliosis Awareness Club collaborated with an attending surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Leonel Hunt. Melamed plans to collaborate with the PTA Council for further outreach and community involvement in the future.
“We collaborated with Dr. Hunt and he helped me a lot with the whole idea of reaching out to the middle school…I’ve been recently talking to the PTA president to hopefully get some added support from the parent community, so we’re really excited about that,” Melamed said.
According to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, school nurse screenings are one of the most common ways to identify scoliosis in adolescents. Since home learning deprived students of this screening process, adolescents and their parents can take initiative to take care of their spinal health at home. Melamed plans to provide BVMS students with the resources and exercises for their backs.
“On the last day [of the event] we are going to give some tips and send links to videos and websites on how to improve posture at home,” Melamed said.
The goal of Scoliosis Awareness Week is to provide BVMS students and their parents with the resources to successfully identify spinal conditions at their early stages. Melamed hopes that the event will encourage students to consult their medical health professional regarding scoliosis screenings and treatments.
“What we are trying to promote is going to your doctor, like any pediatrician, where they can hopefully do a quick screening, which sometimes requires an x-ray…but a lot of times, when a doctor knows what they’re looking for, they can tell,” Melamed said. “So we’re just trying to promote that first step, like going to the doctor and being a little bit more proactive about the entire thing.”