DuBOIS — Students from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine will be coming to DuBois on Saturday and Sunday to perform free health screenings and get to know the community.
On Saturday, the medical students will be running a free health fair from 8 a.m.-noon at the DuBois Free Clinic, 47 W. Long Ave., DuBois, and on Sunday from 9- 10:30 a.m., they will be offering a walk-in health fair before church services at the First United Presbyterian Church, 43 W. Scribner Ave., DuBois.
The free health screenings will include blood pressure readings, blood glucose/sugar checks, body-mass index measurements, basic eye exams and educational information on maintaining health and wellness. Appointments are not required.
The screenings are sponsored by the Pitt students’ Rural Medicine Interest Group and the Department of Family Medicine and Penn Highlands Healthcare. One of the RMIG student leaders, Jennifer Peer Mihalo (Brookville Area High School class of 2007 graduate) is excited to connect with her home community.
“The goal of these service trips is to show Pitt medical students how rewarding the practice of medicine can be in more rural communities and settings,” said RMIG student co-leader Angelica Escobar. “We aim for students to establish connections with and contemplate futures as rural physicians, while getting to know what makes each community unique.”
Pitt’s School of Medicine hopes that these free health fairs are as beneficial to the community as they are to the medical students.
These screenings will allow “first- and second-year medical students to gain valuable hands-on experience and learn to appreciate and relate to many types of patient populations,” said Patti Zahnhausen, education coordinator for the Department of Family Medicine at Pitt’s School of Medicine.
Experiences like these are vital in making students the well-rounded and compassionate doctors of tomorrow, so please join them at either of their free health fairs.
Local individuals will also be involved, including Dr. Lisa Witherite-Rieg from Penn Highlands Healthcare and Stefanie DuRussell from The Soul Platter Café.
Rieg is organizing an “End of Life Care” lecture, a suturing workshop, and a joint injection workshop run by her and her residents for the students on Friday. She is also supervising at both screening events, as well as providing meals.
Julianne Peer will be taking the students on a tour of Penn Highlands Brookville on Saturday afternoon to show them how a rural hospital works.
Free housing for the students will be provided by the Red Mission House on Friday and Saturday. The students will be eating lunch at The Soul Platter Café on Saturday afternoon and paying a donation for the meal. To help pay the Café back for their hospitality, the students will also hold a second screening at the affiliated First United Presbyterian Church, as well as volunteering about 3½ hours of time afterward at the café doing whatever chores/jobs they need.
“The fantastic support and collaboration from the DuBois community has been so exciting,” said Zahnhausen. “I’m eager for the 15 students participating to experience rural medicine by offering the free clinics, touring the area, and meeting/interacting with the community. We here in Family Medicine at Pitt know how great the need is for physicians of all specialties in our rural areas, and hope these types of annual service trips can convince more students to consider a rural practice.”