Student Corner: Community Health Day

Community Health Day is an annual tradition for first-year medical students at Baylor College of Medicine. Student-organized and student-run, the event provides important health services and information to the community. This year, it was held at Ethel Mosley Young Elementary School near the Sunnyside neighborhood just south of the 610 loop.

Community Health Day

The Community Health Day Committee, from left to right, TJ La, Preeti Prakash, Meesha Khatker, Jenna Bates, Ellen Witte, Urvashi Mitbander and Logan DeBord

“It’s a collaborative effort that represents the entire MS1 class giving back to a particular subset of Houston – a dynamic and ethnically diverse community that has nurtured our first nervous steps into the world of medicine,” said student organizer Logan DeBord.

Last year’s Community Health Day was held at Casa de Amigos, a centrally located health center, but the 2016 organizers decided to host the fair in different part of Houston. “We decided to branch out this year and host the fair at an elementary school in an at-risk neighborhood. This seemed like a great opportunity to provide information about reduced-cost health services and basic health strategies to people who might need them the most,” DeBord said.

Students manned tables that offered information on cancer prevention and diabetes, how to enroll in the Harris County Gold Card program and tips on healthy eating. In addition, medical student volunteer Cathy Bradley teamed up with Baylor faculty member Dr. Alicia Kidane to construct an interactive women’s health booth.

Students also partnered with the Sunnyside Health Center to feature booths on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and family planning, dentists from both the City of Houston and Casa de Amigos, and the City of Houston Bureau of Preparedness and Solid Waste Department. These last two organizations gave a joint presentation on what residents of Sunnyside can do to mitigate the chances of a Zika virus outbreak in Houston when mosquito season begins, including calling 3-1-1 to report old tires and other items that are common breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Nearly 75 local residents attended the health fair. Other student event planners included site coordinator Jenna Bates, fundraising coordinator TJ La and public relations and marketing coordinators Urvashi Mitbander and Preeti Prakash. They worked closely with the school’s nurse and administration.

It is inspiring to see members of our community excited to learn more about health and the resources available to them,” Prakash said. “I’m happy we were able to forge a partnership with the staff at Young Elementary, and we look forward to working with them more.”