A group of experts-in-the-making will be making a Web site for the North Side Health Advisory Committee.

A group of experts-in-the-making will be making a Web site for the North Side Health Advisory Committee.

A team of seniors from DeVry University's Columbus campus will take on the task as a class project -- and be graded on the finished product.

Barry Fellner, who lives in the North Linden area and is serving on the advisory panel to help get a Web site established, reported on his progress at the monthly meeting last week. He said that he would be meeting with the members of the team, which could include one or two business managers and one or two programmers, by the end of March.

Creating the Web site, which would serve as a communications tool for the committee charged with addressing health concerns and promoting healthier lifestyles in the area, would give the students an opportunity to exercise their skills before they venture out into the real world, according to Fellner.

He added that he and his subcommittee co-chair, Sandy LaFollette, had come up with ideas for the main structure of the site, including using a logo specifically created for the committee, one of several established by Columbus Public Health in specific neighborhoods around the city.

"We're making progress," Fellner said.

Prior to the meeting with the DeVry group, Fellner indicated that he would be creating guidelines to help them in their efforts. Their work will lead up to a "presentation day," Fellner said, when the team's members would unveil the Web site for the committee as well as to be graded by their instructors.

In other activity at last week's North Side Health Advisory Committee session, panel co-chair Patty Myers announced that LaFollette, who had been the other co-chair, had to step down from active participation in the group's monthly meetings because of the serious illness of a family member.

She will remain active in the committee, Myers said, but will be unable to attend the gatherings.

Volunteers were sought to serve as co-chair of the panel for the next approximately four months.

"It's really not an awful lot of time and effort," said Matt Baldwin, who serves as facilitator on behalf of Columbus Public Health.

Scott Dowling, who does commercial marketing for Able Roofing, consented to take LaFollette's place, as long as it is on a temporary basis.

Joyce Bourgault, co-chair with LaFollette of the group's obesity project subcommittee, gave a report on the various efforts being considered to help reduce the problem of children and adults in the Northland area who are seriously overweight. While things like holding classes to help people cook and shop with their health and weight in mind are under consideration, Bourgault said that encouraging people to engage in the easiest of physical activities is the first order of business for the subcommittee. These efforts will focus on distributing walking maps of the Northland area's neighborhoods at libraries, online and perhaps through churches.

Encouraging the creation of more community gardens as a means of improving access to healthy foods also would be part of phase one in the obesity project, Bourgault said.

Classes and clinics, for which volunteer instructors already are lined up, would be the second phase of the subcommittee's endeavors, she said.

"Lifestyle changes take a long time," said the executive director of the Helping Hand Health and Wellness Center free clinic.

That's why the third phase, an entire community health project aimed at the diverse cultures that call the Northland area home, won't be undertaken for some time.

"That's going to take some creative thinking," Bourgault said. "That's why it's phase three."

kparks@thisweeknews.com