Virtual encounters with experts

Kerri Ryan (Photo by Jessica Griffin)

November 2020 … Healthy NewsWorks reporters are connecting with experts in music, medicine, education, and more through video interviews this fall. As are most school programs in the Philadelphia region, the Healthy NewsWorks program is being conducted virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

James Logan Healthy Eagle staff members interviewed Kerri Ryan, a violist with The Philadelphia Orchestra. The fourth graders asked her about how the pandemic has affected her, how she handles stress and pressure, and what she loves about music. They also had the opportunity to hear and watch her play.

Playing viola, a string instrument that is larger than a violin and smaller than a cello, “takes me out of my own feelings for a little while,” Ms. Ryan said. “The viola has always felt like my friend. If I was struggling with something or feeling alone in the world, I could connect with my instrument.”

Meanwhile, reporters at AMY Northwest Middle School had a lively interview with Dr. Bhavna Sharma, who specializes in critical care, pulmonology , and sleep medicine. She works at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. During the pandemic, Dr. Sharma has been treating patients with COVID-19.

Sleep has been a key topic this fall for Healthy NewsWorks reporters. They have been learning why sleep is important and how much kids need. Dr. Sharma told the AMY Northwest Healthy Bulldog reporters that the pandemic has disrupted the sleep habits of many people. Some people have fared better because they are home and able to sleep more. Others are unable to sleep well because of anxiety, she said.

Other experts that Healthy NewsWorks reporters have interviewed included former Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Walter Tsou, pediatric residents at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and school staff members, from a principal to a counselor and nurse.

As of early November, Healthy NewsWorks had launched its program virtually in 11 classrooms in Philadelphia and Norristown. It is now offering its Cub Reporter program for children in grades 1–4 and special lessons for students in grades 3–8 in partnership schools.

If you know of a school or classroom that would be interested in participating in Healthy NewsWorks programming, please contact us at editor@healthynewsworks.org. We want to serve as many children as possible during this challenging time.


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