More than a Health Fair

The Catholic Charities Wellness and Resource Fair is put on by the Catholic Charities, Archdioses of San Antonio, Inc. The UIWRSO vision screening took place during the fair on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 9am-1pm. Free services included: eye exams, Diabetes, blood, and cholesterol screenings, kidney health screenings, mammography screenings, drug consultation, and ask a doctor/nurse.

All the volunteers loaded into the school van and we put all our equipment in the back. We drove to the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 1819 Nevada Street, San Antonio, TX. The church was right in the middle of a residential area and most of the people in the neighborhood attending the health fair also go to church there as well. It was a festive environment with music and food in the air. Zumba was danced outside while we started setting up inside the church. The staff was extremely helpful and provided us with extra tables and space!

To optometry students, a health fair is usually time to work a vision screening, but on this occasion I had some time before the fair to walk around and talk to the other providers participating.

The dentists and dental hygienists perform free teeth cleanings for the community.  I got a goodie bag from them with toothpaste and toothbrush inside, woohoo! The nurses performed mammography screenings and demonstrated proper techniques for a self-exam. Some of the optometry students got their fingers pricked to check their cholesterol and sugar levels.

I had the pleasure of visiting with Dr. Cynthia Nguyen, Assistant Professor at the UIW Feik School of Pharmacy. The volunteers at the pharmacy table educated the attendees about the drug labels and different types of drugs media, for example, you must shake suspensions drugs (vigorously), while solutions do not require shaking. This reminded me of class and I remembered how some patients do not shake their glaucoma suspension eye drops enough; hence, they do not get the therapeutic dosage until the end of the bottle.

It is always amazing how a simple vision screening can keep so many people healthy!

It is at these fairs that I learn more and more about other health professions and only then can I further appreciate their work. I also feel more confident in whom to refer my future patients to, because I know more about their scope of practice. I also talked optometry to the other providers and educated them on the benefits of a screening versus a full eye exam.  I hope that through our communication at small health fairs, like this one, can lead to a better and integrative health system.

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Photos courtesy of Linh Phan