Student-led rural health fairs: Attempting to improve medical education and access to health care

David C. Landy, Michael A. Gorin, Mark T. O'Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Residents of rural communities, especially in the Southeast, have decreased access to health care. Ensuring medical students receive adequate exposure to their issues is complicated by the urban location of most schools. We describe health fairs conducted in rural communities to suggest how having medical students use screening tools can identify patients with risk factors for disease which can offer students the opportunity to learn about rural health issues through patient counseling. METHODS: The Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service, a University of Miami Miller School of Medicine student-led organization, conducts fairs at four sites throughout the rural Florida Keys. Medical students, under the supervision of attending physicians, offer screening and preventive health services including risk factor screening for cardiovascular disease, ophthalmological exams, dermatologic exams, osteoporosis screening, and female exams with pap smears. These fairs were reviewed. RESULTS: In the past three years, 1694 unique patients were seen. Many lacked a primary care provider (46%) or health insurance (43%) and were provided screening for several disorders including cardiovascular disease risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and obesity). Screening revealed that many patients (41%) had multiple markers of elevated cardiovascular disease risk. This provided experiences to more than 200 students each year. CONCLUSION: Fairs provide medical students exposure to rural health issues through the valuable opportunity of using risk factor screening tools and counseling. This provides valuable information to patients of rural communities. Future research should examine how fairs influence student knowledge and attitudes toward rural health and affect health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-603
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Volume104
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Health Fairs
Rural Health
Health Services Accessibility
Medical Education
Medical Students
Students
Rural Population
Cardiovascular Diseases
Counseling
Preventive Health Services
Papanicolaou Test
Social Welfare
Health Insurance
Dyslipidemias
Osteoporosis
Primary Health Care
Obesity
Medicine
Organizations
Hypertension

Keywords

  • education
  • medical
  • undergraduate; preventive health services; risk factors; rural health services; social planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Student-led rural health fairs : Attempting to improve medical education and access to health care. / Landy, David C.; Gorin, Michael A.; O'Connell, Mark T.

In: Southern Medical Journal, Vol. 104, No. 8, 01.08.2011, p. 598-603.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Landy, David C. ; Gorin, Michael A. ; O'Connell, Mark T. / Student-led rural health fairs : Attempting to improve medical education and access to health care. In: Southern Medical Journal. 2011 ; Vol. 104, No. 8. pp. 598-603.
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