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Med student helping kids understand a crisis

Don’t read the YouTube comments, they say. And usually, they’re right. But wading into the comments of Dr. Danny Roper’s Coronavirus for Kids video offers … gratitude? Maybe even joy?

This is fantastic! I learned a lot myself and I will pass on to my students!

Great illustrations and a great way for kids to understand!

Thank you for this video! I am using this for a health activity with my American kiddos in Daegu, South Korea!

All of this was satisfying and a little bit surprising for Roper, a recent Ohio State medical school graduate who created the video in the confusing and “surreal” weeks leading up to his graduation. What started as a video for his sister Emily’s fifth-grade class at Dayton Leadership Academies gained traction on social media and spread much wider than he expected. To date, the video has been viewed more than 18,000 times.

“With the school year shifting to virtual teaching, my sister was looking for ways to keep her class engaged, and she asked me if I thought I could do a video that would help her students understand the coronavirus,” said Roper, whose father and brother are also Ohio State graduates. “She liked it a lot and built an assignment around it. Then she shared it to a Facebook group for teachers and it started to get shared around quite a bit. It was really cool.”

The video content and sentiment were undoubtedly influenced by Roper’s time in the College of Medicine. He cites a long list of mentors, teachers and friends who helped him build an appreciation for health literacy.

“If we can help kids understand their own health at an early age, we can help them have better health for a lifetime,” he said. “Having them take control of their health is very important to me, particularly in underserved populations.”

Roper continues that mission in July when he begins a residency in pediatric medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He hopes his video helped them understand the value of contributing to a broad community effort.

“Kids may not understand the science in the video, but I wanted the spirit to be that we are making sacrifices for other people because we care about them. That is what’s most important.”

Published: June 1, 2020

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