Students reach out to community with free health fairs

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Members of the School of Medicine’s Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association recently organized and conducted two free community health fairs.

UMKC School of Medicine members of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association reached out to underserved populations of the community with two free health fairs.

Students conducted glucose and blood pressure screenings, and cholesterol and lipid profiles at an Oct. 15 health fair for the local Vietnamese community at the KIPP Endeavor Academy Charter School. The second health fair was Oct. 29 for the Indian community at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center.

Nearly 30 medical student volunteers as well as  UMKC pharmacy students and local physicians participated at each event, said APAMSA member Sarthak Garg.

“The majority of the people that show up are elderly and don’t go to the doctor as often,” Garg said. “This is, for a lot of people, the main time that they’re getting those screenings.”

Students and volunteers from the local Vietnamese and Indian communities also served as translators between the patients and those conducting the screenings.

The student volunteers were largely made up of first and second-year medical students. Second and third-year students are generally paired with a first-year student to act as a mentor during the screening sessions.

“This lets them see what’s going on and gives them some hands-on activity without them struggling,” Garg said. “They have someone to guide them.”

APAMSA is one of the largest student groups at the School of Medicine with more than 100 members. Three student coordinators work together as organizers for each event along with the organization’s 16-member board of directors.

The APAMSA health fairs have become annual events. Garg said the younger students participating get experience working with patients before they start their clinic and docent rotations.

“It’s not hard,” he said. “It’s something that gives them the understanding that everything is not just about school stuff, it’s also about getting out there in the community. And it starts building that confidence.”