CLS and Social Work Partner to Serve UTEP and the El Paso Community through Health Fair
On November 10, 2021, the Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program and Department of Social Work’s Healthy Families Healthy Kids initiative jointly hosted the Healthy Tomorrows Health Fair on the UTEP campus, reaching over 80 UTEP students, faculty, staff, and community members, and providing preventative health screenings and information on healthy eating and active living.
The Healthy Families Healthy Kids initiative, directed by Dr. Yok-Fong Paat, Associate Professor of Social Work, is a five-year grant funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration which aims to address the need for preventive health care and health information surrounding nutrition and physical activity among medically underserved and economically marginalized families and children in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Through partnerships with health experts, the program will bring services including health fairs, family-centered structured enrichment and physical activities, nutrition and health literacy symposia, healthy living seminars, as well as parenting/child development workshops to community members in various locations including local schools, shelters, and community agencies across the El Paso County.
In the first of several outreach activities, Paat collaborated with Ms. Elizabeth Camacho, Clinical Faculty Instructor and Clinical Coordinator of the Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) Program, who is also part of this initiative, to organize a health fair at the Natural Gas Conference Center. Twenty CLS seniors, supervised by Camacho, were assigned to stations where they checked participants’ BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, and conducted urinalyses to assess kidney function, among others.
CLS student Andrea Hernandez said that she enjoyed the experience of being able to put into practice what she had already learned in the classroom and to talk to participants about the rationale behind the tests.
“We don’t typically get a lot of interaction with patients,” she said. “So, it’s nice to be able to explain what we’re doing and to share the results.” Hernandez added that the health fair experience would definitely help her in her future career as a medical lab scientist in a hospital setting.
Fellow CLS students Kenrry Melendez and Isaiah Munoz also felt the experience would help them sharpen their professional skills. “It’s important to know how to develop a sort of interpersonal relationship between the patient and those in the laboratory,” Melendez said. Munoz agreed, adding, “Interacting with the patients today and seeing what everyone else has been doing has been very helpful to me.”