Each fall, DMU hosts a Senior Health Fair which is coordinated by the Geriatrics Club. Many of the clubs on campus participate in the health fair, providing screenings and information for hundreds of senior guests. There are also organizations from out in the community that participate and provide services and/or information.
This year the health fair was held on November 3. I had the privilege of organizing the booth run by the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA). We calculated our visitors’ BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, and discussed how these numbers were related to their health and cardiovascular risk. In addition, we were able to provide some great literature resources pertaining to weight, exercise, and nutrition after the age of 50.
We had an amazing turn-out of SOMA volunteers, who did an amazing job talking to and teaching our older guests. It was a great opportunity for the students to get some experience talking to real people about their health. Even our first year students really stepped up to the challenge and appeared to be quite comfortable with their roles. Everyone had a great time, and I think we ALL learned something that day.
I learned just how big of a role this health fair has come to play to some of our regular guests. It’s an opportunity for them to get tons of information on a wide range of topics, receive some really valuable health screenings free of cost, and get out in the community and socialize. They always seem eager to converse with a younger generation and enjoy the chance to play a real role in the education of new physicians. Many of these individuals have health issues and understand the importance of building a healthy supply of doctors for the future.
It was a great experience, and I strongly encourage all current and future students to get involved with these types of events. It’s valuable to both your education and to the people in our community.