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Patients arrive at the Invitation clinic

CDC Recognizes Invitation Program, Creates More Opportunities for Students

  • By: Mer Fenton
  • Published:
Female student checks blood pressure on a patient

Taylor University’s Invitation program offers students the opportunity to work directly with local community members to form lifestyle habits that prevent diabetes and other preventable diseases. Currently, it is on track to become a CDC-certified program.

Invitation is open for all students to participate in, and is particularly helpful for students in Health Sciences, or on the Pre-Med track. Students get direct patient time working with the community, and can count it toward their patient care and clinical hours required for medical school and other health science graduate school applications. 

A Wealth of Success

In 2021, Invitation and Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Dr. Bradley Kendall were awarded a $15,000 grant from the CDC in partnership with the Indiana Department of Health, to assist Invitation in becoming a CDC-certified diabetes prevention program. The funds have been used for training students and faculty to be certified Life Coaches, a requirement for the certification. 

After assessing Taylor’s progress after a year, the IDH encouraged Kendall and the Invitation program to apply for an additional $10,000 grant. The program was recently awarded the grant, which will be used to train more students in becoming certified Life Coaches.

“Once a student is a certified Life Coach, they can work for any diabetes prevention program anywhere,” said Kendall. 

Traditionally, students involved in Invitation who wanted to be certified Life Coaches had to be involved for a year, and Taylor paid the $800 fee. Once Taylor completes a whole year under the CDC however, Kendall will be able to become a Master Trainer, and he can then teach Life Coach classes directly to Taylor students at no additional cost.

When enough students have been certified, Invitation will be able to bill Medicare for sessions run by Life Coaches. As these classes continue, CDC recognition of Invitation will progress from pending to provisional, and then to full recognition.

Along with Invitation development, the program is now a contact for the CDC whenever they want to try a new program. Currently, the CDC is starting to trial run a healthy heart blood pressure education program. Taylor has been given an additional grant for this program. Training begins this semester, and will launch in the summer for local patients. 

Grant County, Indiana, where Taylor is located, and Blackford County, which is just a few miles away, are two of the least healthy counties in Indiana, so the local community need is significant. 

“We service our community members, while also educating our students in preventative medicine,” said Kendall. “Our students have had the ability to work with over 150 patients, and get experience at this level that normally students don't get.”

An Impact that Lasts

Kendall has been asked to write a testimonial about Invitation and the impact it’s had on Taylor Health Science students for the CDC website, representing Indiana. 

“Whenever we talk to faculty members or departments outside of Taylor, they're pretty shocked that students get the opportunity to work with patients and do this kind of work,” said Kendall. “Many of our students believe it’s what got them into medical school.”

That was the case for alumna Grace Allen ‘21, a Biology Pre-Med major with minors in Chemistry and Preventative Medicine. She is now studying at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, and considers Invitation the shining gem on her application. 

“In undergrad, it's very rare to get patient interaction like that where you are one-on-one with the patient and really working with them,” she said. “Doing this really helps me to have something so good on my application when trying to get in. It’s very competitive these days.”

At Taylor, Pre-Med is a core curriculum that can be added to any major. With this proven plan to med school, opportunities like Invitation, and Taylor’s liberal arts education, every student can leave prepared with an advantage when applying to medical school. 

Learn More

Read more about Invitation and its impact on Allen here.

Learn more about Taylor’s Health Sciences and apply today!