NEOMED Students Advance Community Health through Free Health Fair
In 2006, a group of NEOMED students came together to implement Body and Beyond, a free community health fair open to the residents of Northeast Ohio. Eleven years later, Body and Beyond has become an annual event that continues to grow and thrive thanks to new classes of engaged NEOMED students who want to leave their mark on the community.
“This is a valuable experience for students because it gets us involved in our community,” said second-year College of Medicine student Amythest Gauthier. “This is what NEOMED is all about, and helping out in the community and spreading valuable health advice is something that is essential for future health care providers. By participating in the health fair we are connecting and getting to know the Portage County community and hopefully helping out some people who may not be able to go to a doctor or pharmacist on a yearly basis.”
While Body and Beyond has become a tremendous asset to the community, the annual fair also goes a long way towards helping develop the next generation of health care professionals.
“We are practicing skills we are going to need in the future while also gaining experience in working with and helping community members,” Gauthier added. “We can then use the skills and knowledge that we gained by participating and provide similar events in other communities across Ohio once we are practicing physicians and pharmacists.”
Sponsored by the American Medical Student Association and Student College of Clinical Pharmacy, the health fair will include informational booths on a variety of health topics and educational resources from local hospitals, businesses and student organizations.
Free health screenings will be available for:
• blood pressure
• blood sugar
• body mass index
• heart disease
Additionally, members of the public are encouraged to bring unused, unwanted or expired medications for safe disposal. This effort is to support the National Prescription Drug Take-Back initiative, aiming to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Body and Beyond will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 2 at the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center. Additional features include child-friendly activities, such as face painting and the opportunity to interact with therapy dogs, prize giveaways throughout the day and free food samples for area vendors.
“Any bit of information we can help a community member understand could impact their health in a positive way which is what providing health care is all about,” said Gauthier. “We are not only going to be great health care providers, we are going to be great people who can really make an impact on his or her community.”