Health Sciences students bring health education to rural population

Students from the pharmacy, physician assistant and public health departments at Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences held a health education fair in conjunction with the migrant farm workers clinic at Benson Area Medical Center on Thursday evening, October 3. This fair is part of a series of student-led community healthcare awareness events that focus on prevention and wellness.

“A big part of the Campbell Health Sciences’ mission is serving the community, especially the community right outside our door,” said Tina Tseng, chair of the department of public health at Campbell University. “It is a privilege for our students to be welcomed into the local community and the clinic gives them real experiences that will benefit them in the future.”

The clinic, which has been part of Benson Area Medical Center’s mission for eight years, is open to migrant farm workers in the area one night a week and provides primary healthcare as well as immunizations to approximately 300 farm workers yearly.  It is part of a joint effort with the North Carolina Farm Workers Project.

Physicians treat patients with various conditions that range from rashes to congestive heart failure to diabetes, and the health education fair presented by Campbell students covered topics that these patients come face-to-face with on a daily basis. Pharmacy students presented information on diabetes, while public health and physician assistant students advised on stress management, nutrition and occupational hazards such as heat exhaustion and pesticide overexposure. Students from Campbell’s foreign language department were also in attendance to serve as interpreters.

“It is a wonderful experience for public health, pharmacy, PA, and foreign language students to work together to serve an underserved population while learning the importance of the interdisciplinary team approach to healthcare,” said April Pope, MPAS, PA-C.  “There is a real need to provide affordable, quality care to the men and women who work so hard to harvest our crops each season.”

Pope is a member of the PA faculty at Campbell and serves as the preceptor for this specific practicum in the dual physician assistant and public health program.

The clinic runs through the end of October and will re-open at the beginning of the harvest season next May.

Photo: Health Sciences student are addressed by Ann Ortiz, foreign language faculty, before the health fair begins at Benson Area Medical Center.