Taking it to the streets

Annual student-led health fair brings health services to the community

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April 17, 2014

On a chilly Sunday morning in early April, more than 100 student and faculty volunteers gathered in a downtown Portland parking garage to provide free health services to community members. Attendees were from all types of socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities and ages, but the throng had one thing in common that day: access to basic health services.

The health fair is an annual effort spearheaded by students from OHSU and a number of other health colleges in the area. A series of interprofessional lectures were held at OHSU earlier in the week; all together, the effort is known as Health Care Equity Week.

HCEW health fair 2Services at the April 6 fair included blood pressure readings, temperature checks, hearing and vision checks, dental care, diabetes foot care and education, haircuts and veterinary care for the animal companions accompanied by some attendees. Packets of useful items like band-aids, condoms, toothbrushes and other hygiene tools were also available. People with significant vision or oral health issues were referred to dental vans and a Casey Eye Institute mobile clinic parked along O'Bryant Square.

The annual health fair is also an opportunity for health education. This year, volunteers provided assistance enrolling in Cover Oregon, the state's health insurance exchange, and provided information on mental health care, housing, job assurance and detox assistance.

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