SMU eNews

All in the Name of Good Health; DPM Student's take Steps in Helping the Community

The 34th Annual Health Fair was held Saturday, August 13, at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland.  The health fair is considered one of the largest free screenings in the City.  Various vendors, sponsors and organizations, and schools like Samuel Merritt University (SMU) were present and assisting participants with various medical and health-related questions. 

Several SMU students in the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program were on hand at the health fair as volunteers, along with their supervising faculty Alison Cook, DPM, MS and Trinh Pham, DPM both alums from the California School of Podiatric Medicine, a school within the University.  The focus was on preventative health in foot care, a campaign started by Allen Temple Church member and podiatrist Sharon Burleigh, DPM.  She assisted in publicizing the free foot screenings throughout the ministry and Oakland community and in gathering the supplies needed.

"Prevention is primary," explains Dr. Cook.  "That's one of the main reasons we do these screenings, we are here to help, to provide education and for people to learn more about their health, foot conditions and more about what to do prevent further progression of disease or future injuries."

Having the podiatry students participate in the screening at Allen Temple and other community health fairs is one way for them to get exposure to a large number of patients, some with problems the students might not otherwise see.  "Students get experience interviewing patients, obtaining a medical history, learning about medical and podiatric conditions, medications and charting," said Dr. Cook.  "Students also get experience presenting their findings to a clinician and having a clinician review those finding and their examination of the patient.  This helps the students to understand both normal and pathological findings." 

At the health fair students also get experience conveying their finding to the patients, as well as learning some of the basics of patient education.  "People can present with diabetes, vascular disease (venous and arterial) wounds, skin conditions, fractures, strains, sprains, and perhaps manifestations of systemic disease," adds Dr. Cook. 

Allen Temple Baptist Church spokesperson Charlotte Williams says having a partnership with Samuel Merritt University in providing free healthcare to the Deep East Oakland community is valuable.   "Just as SMU is, we are concerned with the health of the total person – mind, body and spirit.  With Samuel Merritt University’s outstanding faculty and students alongside us, we are able to serve our neighbors with quality medical services as well as encourage and inspire those who wish to pursue healthcare careers.   Allen Temple looks forward to continuing to cultivate our relationship as time goes on."

"I'm glad the students are here helping and informing us about ways to care for our feet.  Hopefully as many people as possible will take advantage of this opportunity in the future," said Hillary Minne, this was her first time taking part in the health fair. 


Alum Dr. Alison Cook with CSPM student at Allen Temple Baptist Church