The new pediatric guidelines, along with the lack of family-friendly materials, inspired me to start Homework For Health.
In 2013, I decided to open my own private lipids clinic (Mobile Health Team) that focuses on kids and families. I wanted to have tools that could help me teach them about cholesterol. I knew that if they understood how cholesterol works in their bodies, they would feel more empowered to make good, healthy choices. I started to develop my own resources to not only engage the kids during their office visit, but also make the whole topic less scary and more actionable. I also wanted to reinforce that most of the treatment of cholesterol problems doesn’t happen in the office, it happens at home – so kids and their families have to do their homework if they are going to get healthier.
Homework For Health began to take shape. As I tried to find a logo to make it friendly, the first character was born – I bought the design for a “cute monster” who I thought resembled LDL cholesterol and named him Lippy (for lipids). From there, I had the perfect focus group – my own children. I showed my oldest son (age 9 at the time), the picture of Lippy and the pictures of real cholesterol particles. He loves to draw and he sketched some cute characters that could represent the other particles. Along with the sketches, he wrote a cartoon about the trouble cholesterol particles caused in a kid’s body when a child eats the wrong things. My youngest son was only 5 at the time but had some great input into what he liked and didn’t like and became our editor.
We then worked with an artist to make the drawings come to life. As the colors were added and features like fur and eyes were tweaked, our little characters became new family members! Soon I was able to use the characters in materials for my office.
As I used the teaching tools, kids, parents, and other providers had a wonderful reaction to them! I started to realize that others could use these resources, too – healthcare providers, teachers, anyone working with kids with cholesterol problems or questions. We took a complex, boring and yet scary topic and made it warm and engaging.
The chance to work with my children in a family-owned and family-created venture has been a joy and a blessing. My kids still create and review first drafts of every new item for Homework for Health and have lots of great ideas for a kid-friendly website. I can’t keep up with their ideas! And now, we’ve added input from their friends, kids in the community, and my patients. Homework For Health is developed for kids by kids!
Thank you to the Founding Supporters of Homework for Health! We are very grateful for your support.
The Armstrong Family
Amy Moschell, MD and Family
Jesse and Julie Ostrom
Paul, Kelly, and Rylie Post
Dr. John Shepherd and Dr. Jenifir Bruno
The Wasco Family