The WT Department of Nursing held its bi-annual health fair Saturday at the Hillside Church north campus in conjunction with various organizations to give free public health screenings. Among the services offered at the health fair were screenings for STDs, HIV, colorectal cancer, blood sugar and blood pressure measurements.
Informational booths were conveniently located all around the building to educate community members on resources and programs that are available to them. COVID-19 vaccinations and other low-cost adult vaccinations were offered at the event.
Dr. Priscella Correa, WT’s Baptist Community Services Professor of Nursing, outlined the impact of events like this on the community.
“If you have someone with cancer detected early on or has high blood pressure identified early on, you could save a person’s life and change the trajectory of their family,” Correa said.
She said this type of event is essential for nursing students in how to interact with the community that many of them will be serving in the area.
“This is a great opportunity for students to meet their community and build a rapport to educate those that need it most about their health,” Correa added. “We are trying to look at health disparities with the ability to bring screenings and community resources to the population, meeting them where they are to make a difference for their health.”
Correa said that the university is looking at expanding its health fair services to more rural settings for future events.
Alyssa Davis, a senior nursing student at the fair who gave blood pressure screenings to the area participants, spoke about her experience with the event.
“I got more knowledge about this community as a whole; it is essential to know the people whenever you are working to help them identify health issues early,” Davis said.
She said events like this give people the ability to prevent or identify issues that may be arising within their own personal health.
Joel Pena, a nursing student who graduates next year, said that the experience he gained in a leadership role was invaluable to understanding community care better.
“What really stuck out about this event was the diversity in the northeast area of Amarillo,” Pena said. “This was an eye-opening experience where I was able to find out a lot of the available resources, so now I can pass that information to my patients.”
He said he did not realize the number of available resources with the biggest detractor of knowing where to look for them.
“Nursing students need to know about this information to pass it on to our patients. A big part of our job is educating our patients,” Davis said.
Both Davis and Pena plan to work in the Texas Panhandle as nurses when they graduate.
Other community resources that were available at the WT health fair included:
High Plains Food Bank, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, Texas Panhandle Centers, Coalition of Health Services: Nurse Family Partnership, Uniting Parents, Storybridge, Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services, FirstCare Health Plans, Region 16 Education Service Center, Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle, Family Support Services, Haven Health Clinics, Amarillo Public Health Department, Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance and Get FIT to Stay Fit, and others.