On July 16, 2016, the students of St. James School of Medicine (SJSM – SVG), committed their skills to hosting a health fair for the Arnos Vale Community. The event saw a majority of the school’s clubs and organizations collaborated in providing screening and awareness activities to the members of the community. With more than 80 students and faculty in attendance, this year’s health fair event reached over 310 members of the Vincentian community.
Student Government President and health fair lead coordinator, Kirk Stewart, worked with an eager team to organize this event. “This year we focused on Diabetes, Kidney health, Nutrition, and Fitness,” Stewart explains as locals inquired more about future health fairs. SJSM is committed to hosting at least one health fair each school year. Regardless of Stewart’s contribution, the success of the health fair was based on the individual efforts of the student organizers of each screening stand. The event’s day allowed community member to peruse the hallways of the school’s St. Vincent campus in the heart of Arnos Vale while moving through more than 12 stations. Each station was unique in their activities while supporting the event’s focus.
If a community member had an interest in learning more about Diabetes, theY would start their tour of the health fair on the campus’ top floor where American Medical Student Association (AMSA) representative, Andres Madrigal and, ACTIVE organizer, Icesis Cain, led members of their association and club in hosting a Diabetes stand that measured blood pressure, blood glucose, and body mass index readings. “Our hope is that more Vincentians will lead a healthier lifestyle,” states Icesis as she speaks to the overall goal of ACTIVE for the rest of the school year. From the capable and knowledgeable hands of AMSA, members could go a few doors over to the more therapeutic hands of 4th-semester students – MD4s. These students are on their final leg of basic sciences and are ready to begin their preparation for the USMLE Step 1 Exams. However, before they leave, the MD4s volunteered time to the community by providing Chiropractor Examinations and Treatment, Electrocardiograms (EKGs), Dental and Physical Examinations. Rami Elsmary, MD4 representative, highlighted the importance of providing opportunities for students who have additional skills that support the welfare of the community. Dentist, Sarah Rizvi, extends her expertise to helping student volunteers with performing dental examinations. If dental or physical examination was not of interest to the community member, they had the rare opportunity of checking the density of their bones. This screening was done by Indie Noel and her research team. The benefit of bone density screening was seen where the team was able to identify a potentially pathological finding in a young boy who complained of joint pain.
As members of the community continue their tour to the second floor, they were greeted by members of the school’s first and only fraternity – PHI CHI. PHI CHI managed a urinalysis screening stand that educated health fair participants about the benefits of healthy kidneys. PHI CHI representative, Emmanuel Ravichandar, worked with this team to provide more than 150 Vincentians with a closer look at their kidney function by way of urine ‘dipstick’ analysis. Members of the fraternity spoke to the event’s opportunity as engaging and look forward to more opportunities to reach out to the community. From Diabetes to renal screening, community members moved through different stands of interest. Across the hall, Krystel Therberge, Doctors Of Tomorrow (DOT) President, welcomed community members who wanted to learn more about sexual health. DOT worked with a public health representative in providing HIV screening opportunities for those interested. Participants of this stand were able to meet with Therberge and her team in exploring different ways in which they could promote and practice better sexual health.
Before the venturing community exited the upper floors, other educational opportunities promoted better health. The Tropical Medical Program (TropMed), for example, lead a hand washing seminar and hematocrit screening stand as a way of encouraging reduction of infectious disease. TropMed representatives, Georgy Kehedy and Nakia Allen-Berhan, highlighted the willingness of community members to participate in health hand washing techniques. The TropMed program continues to provide students with a more in-depth understanding of the world of microbiology.
Within range of hearing the encouragement of healthy handwashing by TropMed, community members participate in spirometry assessments conducted by Aly Fairservice and her team. Community members marveled at the peculiar task of blowing into a device that told how much air they could carry in their lungs. This particular stand along with many others were made available to the community from 9 am to 4 pm.
“I could get my eyes checked on the first floor?”, asked one community member who was asked to see our Ophthalmology Research Team, lead by Rachel Maudlin and supervised by Dr. Mirjana Milutinovic, about the discoloration observed in both of her eyes. Dr. Milutinovic shares her endless years of experience with her mentees as they explore the parameters of the eye and its ability to tell physicians about other health risk factors. Community members, while waiting their turn at seeing Mauldin and Co., chimed in on the best nutritional options on the island. TUFAAN Dance Group representative, Devin Harricharan, and LIGER’s Female Flag Rugby Team representative, Jesica Fernandez, joined forces in providing nutritional and physical fitness education for all those who had an interest. Both parties were also able to provide entertainment in the form of Indian Dance as a way of demonstrating unique ways of being active and healthy. The USMLE Club, led by Maurissa Harrisa, supported the spirit of entertainment by hosting a nutrition trivia which proved effective in stomping even the MD4s.
Regardless of their newest to the school, Lucas Zadan (MD1 Class Rep) and fellow MD1s did not hesitate to lend a helping hand in organizing and facilitating this event.
The combined effort of the volunteers, faculty, and organizers of this year’s health fair echoed a statement of success as local community members were reminded of the importance of personal and community health. The administrative efforts of Melissa Brown (SGA Secretary and Health Fair Community Coordinator), Syed Rizvi (SGA and Health Fair Treasurer), Olivia Nguyen and Ndidi Udeogu (Health Fair Training Coordinators) in collaborating with local business owners, providing training standardization and administrative maintenance served as the backbone of this event. The mentorship and guidance of Dr. Crasta, Dr. Dusic, and Dr. Milutinovic served as A wealth of knowledge and learning experience extracted by students from this event.
The SGA and student body extends special appreciation to Natasha Jackson, Shaloma Jackson, Ms. V and the support staff of the event in making this event as seamless and successful as it was.
The SGA has already started planning efforts for next year’s health fair.
By Kirk Stewart