OUWB, Chandler Park Academy Hosts 11th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Health Fair

About 40 Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine students volunteered at the 11th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Health Fair at Chandler Park Academy High School in Harper Woods on January 20.

Open to both Chandler Park Academy students and the surrounding community, attendees were able to receive basic health screenings and flu shots, as well as participate in a variety of educational activities related to the medical field. Various vendors were also present to provide health and wellness services.

The event, which returned in person after two years of being held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, takes place annually in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“This is one of our unique programs…it’s part of our community outreach,” said Tiffany Williams, PhD, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, OUWB. “It is important for the medical students of our school to show the people we serve.”

“We are trying to make sure we have an outreach – and an in-reach – in underrepresented communities,” said Tony Bailey, PhD, Associate Dean, Diversity & Inclusion and Community Engagement, OUWB.

“Many times, these communities don’t have access to good health care, so we’re bringing health to their doorstep.”

building interpersonal skills

Group of students, staff and faculty at the health fair.

Calvin Wise, Chandler Park Academy District STEM Coordinator, said the event provides an opportunity to create health awareness among K-12 students.

“We want to try to inform our students about healthy habits and [for them to] Be mindful of monitoring their health and knowing their numbers at an early age, so that as they grow older, they will be aware of their health and be able to monitor it,” he added.

Wise said medical students speaking with high school students not only aids their education but also serves to motivate them.

“I think they relate to[medical students]because they are able to see people who are so close in age,” he said. “They’re able to look at the fact that, ‘I could be in this position, or I could be in medical school in a few years.’

This conversation is mutually beneficial. Williams said that participating in the event allows medical students to gain knowledge they can’t get anywhere else.

“Being humanitarians we pride ourselves on having compassion, and I think this is an opportunity for them to build those interpersonal skills with people, to talk to people, to see people, and to be with different types of people. able to negotiate.” Williams said. “It’s a skill you don’t get in a textbook, but you get from real-life experience.”

‘too sweet’ event

Photo of an OUWB student getting a flu shot
Fanny Huang, M2, was among the OUWB students at the flu shot station. (Photo by Rob Hall)

Of the 28 tables, 12 were staffed by OUWB community representatives. Other tables were sponsored by organizations such as Oakland University Admissions, the Michigan Health Council, and DTE Energy.

One of these tables was presented by the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) of OUWB, which is involved in organizing the event.

At the SNMA table, OUWB students handed out free flu shots. Fanny Huang, M2, Outreach Chair, SNMA, said she was surprised by the number of people who were apprehensive about the treatment.

It’s an example of why the event is important, she said, because it helped her “get a perspective on the community.”

“In reality, it can be scary for community members and patients,” Huang said. “Having the opportunity to talk to patients about topics like vaccine hesitancy is important.”

Street Medicine Oakland representative Caitlin Petrok, M4, said the organization’s table provided a similar learning experience as she checked attendees’ vitals.

“For students who are interested in going into health care, I told them they could practice on me, so it was good to walk them through and encourage them if they go into the medical field,” Petrok he said.

Plus, she said, she’s been able to educate people about how therapists interact with their communities.

“(Street Medicine Oakland’s) mission is to help bridge the gap between homelessness and health care,” she said. “A lot of the kids we talked to today have been asking us questions about what we do, because they’ve never heard anything like doctors meeting homeless patients. It’s been a really cool educational opportunity.

Taylor Smith, a junior at Chandler Park Academy High School, said she decided to attend because of her interest in the medical field.

“I know people in the medical field, and I want to know more about my health,” he said. “I went everywhere (here at the fair); Everything looked interesting.

Jaure’ Bell, a freshman at Chandler Park Academy High School, echoed a similar sentiment.

“My dream is to become a nurse or a doctor because I love helping people,” Bell said. “Science is interesting.”

Jaimere Doney, freshman, said she found the most interesting part of the fair to be the Harm Reduction Alliance’s table about alcohol and drug use, where attendees were able to try on alcohol simulation glasses.

“With the goggles, you had to walk the line,” she said, adding, “It was an (eye-opening) experience.”

Overall, Huang said, he is happy to be able to provide these opportunities to students in person again.

“We have such a diverse company of vendors and OUWB students who are happy to spend time volunteering here to educate high schoolers and community members,” she said. “It’s lovely to see everyone coming together and serving the community.”

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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