Sunday, April 28, NEOMED’s Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and SOAR Student-run Free Clinic hosted the St. Bernard Health Fair, held at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Akron, Ohio.
NEOMED students and clinical faculty volunteered their time to provide free health screenings, including blood glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, physical exams and visual screenings. Community Aids Network/Akron Pride Initiative (CANAPI), a local Akron organization, also provided free HIV screenings.
Students from LMSA and the University of Akron’s Certificate of Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions and First Responders served as translators for Spanish-speaking patients.
The health fair was open to the Akron community, but it especially targeted the Latino parishioners of the church, as well as the homeless population that comes to the church for its Hot Meals Program.
Love Made Visible
Looking back at the event, a quote from the poet Khalil Gibran keeps coming to my mind: “Work is love made visible.”
The dedication and enthusiasm that all the volunteers had at the event showed their love for these patients and for the healing work of medicine. I think it put into perspective why we wanted to be physicians and pharmacists in the first place. All the hours of lectures, studying and practicing clinical skills will be worth it in the end when it will be our turn to care for patients. The passion and love that we put in now will reflect in our work tomorrow.
The health fair ended up serving 60 patients overall. I can only imagine the impact that this small event had on the community as a whole.
I would like to offer a special thank you to Cheri Colianni from St. Bernard Catholic Church; Harmony Stanger, assistant director of student development and leadership; Anita Pokorny, College of Medicine assistant dean of students; Paul Lecat, M.D., professor of internal medicine; and the rest of the planning committee for the St. Bernard Health Fair. I am so grateful for your help and support throughout the planning process!
—Submitted by Christine Rizkala, a first-year College of Medicine student