UMKC students take the lead with community health fair

Jada Ohene-Agyei didn’t know what to expect when she led a team of nearly 70 student and faculty volunteers from UMKC’s health sciences schools this summer in a one-day community health and wellness fair at the Kansas City Health Department.

Ohene-Agyei, a sixth-year UMKC School of Medicine student, and her team weren’t disappointed when nearly 100 people from the community showed up.

“A lot more people came than had registered,” she said. “I was surprised.”

Students from the schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy manned 30 tables where they offered a wide range of health screenings and education from blood pressure and cholesterol checks to dental screenings and education on opioids, the safe storage and disposal of drugs and individual medication advice.

Student and faculty from the School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences were on hand as well to help where needed.

“We tried to make it interprofessional and do as many things as we could,” Ohene-Agyei said. “We wanted to run the gamut and do as many things as we could possibly do that would be conducive to each of the students’ areas of study.”

The idea for free public event came to Ohene-Agyei’s while serving as president of the medical school’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association. Where members of the organization had discussed the idea previously, Ohene-Agyei was determined to make it happen as a student-led event with assistance and necessary oversight from health sciences schools faculty.

Beginning nearly nine months in advance, Ohene Agyei reached out to other student organizations on the health sciences campus. Before long, she had recruited a team to lead various committees in everything from marketing and finance to logistics, as well as a research team that conducted patient surveys to record their responses to the event.

“It started with SNMA but grew into a collaboration with other student organizations,” Ohene-Agyei said. “There are dental students, pharmacy students, so it’s SNMA and all these other groups. I feel like we all share a piece of that pie now.”

Those who attended the health fair came away with a positive experience and said the student volunteers had addressed their individual questions and needs.

“That was something that our students did a really good job of,” Ohene-Agyei said.

Now, she said, the hope is that a next wave of UMKC health sciences students can come together to make the health fair more than a one-time event.

“I have this renewed hope that students from the health sciences schools can come together and do something for the community and be super successful,” Ohene-Agyei said. “I’m excited to do this again next year. I think we can do it even better.”