Diabetes screenings is one of the many health services offered at the event.
Election Day Gives Opportunity to Improve Health
Pacific Student Pharmacist Advocacy Coalition (SPAC) hosted two health fairs on November 6, 2012, Election Day, where student pharmacists offered their assistance to people within the Stockton and Sacramento communities. The health fairs were organized by Scott Harada '14 and Jag Chauhan '14 along with pharmacy students from University of the Pacific and California Northstate University in Sacramento, California. In addition to providing general pharmacy information, the health fair also offered several types of screenings such as: bone mineral density, blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart burn. Harada managed the fair at University of Pacific in the DeRosa University Center, while Chauhan took a handful of Pacific students and headed to Sacramento.
The initial plan for the health fair on campus had student pharmacists approach voters and offer them free screening services. "Using the voter booth as the gateway, we approached community members and asked if they were interested in getting their cholesterol checked. I was surprised by the reaction of how many people were interested in getting a screening and health information. There were around 26 students involved with the health fair on campus and 15 students in Sacramento. I feel that we had the correct amount of services, but I would like to have immunizations for the next health fair," said Harada.
Both health fairs had a successful turnout and received positive feedback from people within the community. "We screened about 180 people at the community center in Sacramento. The community was very appreciative of the services that were offered. I had many people thanking me and other students for the services we provided. I was told by the administration of the community center that many people called in regarding free flu shots, screening services and when these services would be available to them," said Chauhan. The health fair on Pacific campus gained media attention from the Stockton Record, Good Day Sacramento and KTXL FOX40. "The media representatives were extremely friendly and we even gave them diabetes and cholesterol screenings. The media coverage helped encourage community members to attend our health fair in Sacramento," commented Harada.
Student involvement from both schools played a key role in structuring these health fairs. Cultivating new relationships and establishing new contacts created a successful outcome for the health fair. Hopefully this health fair will encourage first year students to engage with the community. "Students should be involved with these types of events because it will open their eyes regarding the health disparities in underserved communities," said Chauhan. Although the success for these health fairs gained tremendous exposure from media coverage, both Chauhan and Harada had other visions to help improve future health fairs. Chauhan explained, "I would like to see this event at a larger venue, and with more partners and sponsors." Harada mentioned his original location for the fair was Downtown Stockton because he thought it would be more accessible for local community members. While this may be a part of planning going forward, Harada would like to continue working with Sacramento pharmacy students. He stated, "I would love to collaborate again with California Northstate University. Pacific students had fun and met a lot of new faces in Sacramento. I think this is something we will continue to do for future health fairs."
By: Ben Herrera '10, '13