A group of LSU Health New Orleans residents and medical students was invited to play in a basketball tournament against New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) coaches at the Rosenwald Recreation Center during the recent Night Out Against Crime. NORD organized the event to recognize the impact that the Health and Hoops with Doctors outreach program has had on the Calliope/Rosenwald community.

Dr. Michael Okoronkwo, an LSU Health Emergency Medicine House Officer 4, partnered with NORD to start Health and Hoops with Doctors, a youth basketball program that featured six weekly sessions at the Rosenwald NORD Center over the summer.

Health and Hoops session“We utilized the Positive Youth Development model, which emphasizes six core values to improve youth resilience for adaptive emotional and social health development,” explains Dr. Okoronkwo. “Each session was themed by one of the six values and was reinforced through recreational basketball.”

The six values are confidence, competence, caring, compassion, connection, and character. Each week, LSU Health doctors and medical students in green scrubs played basketball with youth and huddled up discussing how each value applies to on and off-court dynamics.

"The Night Out Against Crime event represented a growing bond between LSU Health New Orleans and our community,” notes Dr. Okoronkwo. “This relationship promotes health awareness for all."

The NORD Commission praised yet another benefit of the program. “The community greatly appreciates your presence and influence on the youth which we service. Your participation at Rosenwald Center is a bold step against youth crime in the Calliope/ Rosenwald community. We take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to you and your colleagues for all that you do for the youth in this community.”

Health and Hoops docs team

"The Night Out Against Crime was a huge success,” reports second-year LSU Health medical student Mike Alfred. “It was a great opportunity for medical students, residents, and physicians to connect to the community that they serve through basketball. Our goal is to promote healthy habits and positivity by being role models to the youth in their community."

The LSU Health team won the game 34-20.