Bridging the Gap: Carle Illinois Med Student Group Hosts Hispanic Heritage Month Health Fair

Physician Innovators at Carl Illinois Medical College (CI MED) are bringing free health checks and resources within reach to those facing barriers to care, including the LatinX community in Central Illinois.

Carle Illinois medical students Aashka Shah, Kellie Mullany, Sabrina Mann, and Tarika Patel are leaders of Campaña de Salud, CI MED’s student interest group. Campaña de Salud hosts a community health fair as part of Hispanic Heritage Patriotic Month.

Shah said local statistics show a clear need for community efforts to reach out to the underserved. “Currently, in the highly populated areas of Champaign and Urbana, 16% of patients report poor or fair health, and 7% of adults do not have health insurance. Minority groups in the CU region are less likely to have a primary care physician, so this is prevalent in people of color,” Shah said. “Urbana He Champaign’s Spanish-speaking communities face many barriers to care, including language mismatch, access to insurance, and unfamiliarity with the healthcare system.”

To address these barriers, Spanish-speaking Carle Health physicians assist health fair staff with free physical and eye exams, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol screenings, and information about good health practices. offer advice. “We hope that the health fair will allow attendees to meet in a comfortable space and be the first step towards building positive relationships to follow up on the connections started at the health fair.” Yes,” Shah explained.

A few years ago, medical students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosted a similar health fair, but it was interrupted when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “We thought this would be a key year for resuming health fairs to mitigate the downstream impact of the pandemic as much as possible and make progress to close that gap,” Shah said.

The Hispanic Heritage Patriotic Month Health Fair will include booths focusing on various aspects of health care, from nutrition to eye health, blood typing, and best practices for healthy living. will be “Precautions such as checking blood pressure regularly, practicing mindful eating, and being mindful of nearby resources can pay off exponentially in the long run, and we can share it with the public.” “I look forward to it,” said Shah. “The health fair was created with the idea of ​​providing resources and knowledge to help participants take control of their health.”

Health Fair is the first student organization project developed under Carl Illinois School of Medicine’s new service-learning protocol, guiding medical students in the process of giving back to their communities as part of the medical education process. Campaña de Salud leaders want outreach to become an annual event.

In addition to medical services, the fair will include live Latino dance/band performances and food available for purchase.

The Hispanic Heritage Patriotic Month Health Fair will be held on Sunday, September 25, 2022 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at 2103 North Dunlap in Champaign, Illinois. The event is sponsored by Campaña de Salud and the Illinois Extension with the support of Carle Health.

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