Annual Public Health Fair excites medical scholars
Photo courtesy of Alanna Boland: Hofstra hosted its annual Public Health Fair on Wednesday, April 3, as part of National Public Health Week – a week dedicated to educating the community and raising awareness on critical topics.
As part of National Public Health Week, Hofstra hosted its seventh annual Public Health Fair on Wednesday, April 3. The fair took place in the Netherlands Core and was free and open to the public. The goal of the annual event is to raise awareness about various health issues and the local resources available to deal with them.
The fair was largely organized by Corinne Kyriacou, both the chairperson and a professor of the Department of Health Professions. Kyriacou recruited students in the Master of Public Health program to help organize the event.
During the fair, she and her students walked around offering to answer any questions attendees had. Many of Kyriacou’s students helped run tabling activities as well.
“One of my favorite aspects of the Health Fair is working with graduate public health students to design and execute the event,” Kyriacou said. “I enjoy guiding the students through the process of planning and implementing a health promotion event and watching them blossom into community service professionals.”
Kyriacou said this year’s fair featured vendors from over 40 health, social service and educational organizations, including Northwell Health which sponsored the event. Other organizations included Planned Parenthood, the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation and the Nassau County Department of Health. Student-run clubs and organizations relating to health tabled at the event as well.
The fair included activities that covered many aspects of public health, such as disease and domestic violence prevention as well as mental, sexual and reproductive health.
There were also opportunities to learn about concussion prevention and organ donation. Interactive activities included prize wheels and the opportunity to meet a trained guide dog that aids veterans. Free screenings for blood pressure, melanoma, varicose veins, oral cancer and HIV were available, as well as demonstrations showing how to self-scan for breast cancer on mannequins.
“I think it was really successful,” Kyriacou said toward the end of the event. “It’s successful to me when people come away with a greater understanding of their own health and what they can do to ... prevent risks and improve their quality of life.”
According to Kyriacou, a large part of the fair is dedicated to educating local high school students since teachers often bring their classes to the fairs.
“We had about 100 high school students this year,” Kyriacou said. “We engaged with the high schoolers quite a bit – I definitely think they’ll walk away feeling like these are issues that are really important.”
“It’s important for us to get the word out to high school students about Hofstra’s PA [Physician Assistant] program because for [my] program specifically, we have to apply to it during our senior year of high school,” said Victoria Lamberti, a first-year graduate student who attended the fair as a representative of Hofstra’s BS/MS dual-degree program in PA studies.
Lamberti said that she and other PA students were there to promote their program to high school students, but also to advocate for public health.
“A big part of the PA profession is actually advocating for public health, so we’re kind of just learning also how to interact with the public and give advice on certain issues,” Lamberti said.
“We had trivia questions throughout the day [so] we really got a sense of what the high school students [know] and didn’t know,” said Vivian Emengo, a first-year medical student and member of Hofstra’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA).
Emengo helped run the SNMA table at the fair, which asked students and other passersby medical trivia questions for the chance to win a prize.
“They were often shocked at the answers, so we were here to kind of explain to them what the correct answer was and how the actual disease processes happened,” Emengo said.
“The [students] were excited to be here – they were engaged and ready to receive the information,” said Philippe Rameau, another first-year medical student who helped run SNMA’s table.
Aside from trivia, Rameau said club members also “went over some general health information regarding several chronic diseases like hypertension, cancer and diabetes” with the students.
“I feel like they really walked away feeling like they learned something new,” Emengo said. “Plus they got a lot of free prizes.”