NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine students delivered coast-to-coast hands-on health care last week, demonstrating their volunteer spirit and patient care skills for homeless adults and children in Seattle and athletes in Levittown, NY.
In Seattle, 120 students equipped with blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes arrived at the Seattle Union Gospel Mission, a men’s shelter, and Hope Place, a shelter for women and children, to offer routine health screenings and physical exams for about 166 people.
Under the leadership of NYITCOM Director of Student Life Linda Darroch-Short, NYITCOM students have participated for ten years in screenings in the host city of the osteopathic medicine profession’s annual conference and exposition, known as OMED.
“I think volunteer work fits well with the philosophy of osteopathic medicine, and it helps spread the word about what it means to be an osteopathic physician,” said Dan Pasternak, a two-time volunteer at the OMED health screening event. “Simple things like checking finger-stick glucose levels, blood pressures, and vision clearly made an impact in the lives and health of the people who attended. Even if we couldn’t prescribe blood pressure medications right there, it seemed like the information we offered them helped to empower them to make better healthcare decisions in the future…I think opportunities like this health fair teach us things we couldn’t have learned from classes alone – especially about healthcare in underserved communities. I hope to remember these lessons while caring for such patients in the future.”
Darroch-Short said the patients appreciate the safe environment where screenings are conducted and the ability “to have someone check them without feeling there’s judgment.”
“Our goal for each health fair is to elevate the quality of health for those in the homeless community,” said Darrell Lynn Grace, DO, who supervised the screenings. “We hope to foster a sensitive spirit among the students helping them to discover that there is power in serving others and the importance of giving back.”
Cardiac Screenings for Young Athletes
Closer to home, about 20 NYITCOM students administered echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, and heart heath surveys to about 200 middle and high school athletes on October 25 at Levittown Memorial Education Center during an event organized by Heart Screen New York. The group is an affiliate of the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation and the Dominic A. Murray Memorial Foundation, both named after young athletes who died as a result of underlying cardiac issues.
While sudden cardiac arrest is statistically rare, structural defects in the heart, thickening of the heart muscle, or problems with the heart’s electrical circuitry may put some young athletes at risk. The problems are not detected in typical physicals, and some organizations have taken the lead to promote enhanced screening that may minimize risks.
NYITCOM students joined medical and health professions students from other local universities at Saturday’s event.
“The NYIT students were amazing as always,” said Karen Acompora, co-founder of Heart Screen and founder of the nonprofit group named for her son. “They are eager, professional and they want to learn.”
Acompora said about 10 young people who were screened were sent for further evaluation to check on potential cardiac issues that may have gone undetected.
“It’s going to make a difference in their lives,” she said.
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 12,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, nearly 100,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit nyit.edu.
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