Elizabeth Valente, SMU Media Director
Student Collaborations Promote Immigrant Healthcare; University Students Provide Free Health Screening to Day Laborers
(OAKLAND, Calif., November 10, 2010) Students from Samuel Merritt University (SMU) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Physician Assistant (PA) programs will provide free health screening checks to day laborers on Saturday, December 11.
SMU is once again partnering with the Hayward Day Labor Center to offer check-ups and mental health guidance to hundreds of day laborers and seasonal farm workers working in and around the East Bay and Bay Area. The University's School of Nursing Department and the Physician Assistant program have joined the community-wide effort since 2009. Twice a month, supervised SMU nursing and PA students provide free health screenings to uninsured workers.
"Samuel Merritt University is committed to improving the well-being of the communities we serve, regardless of an individual's ability to pay," said Dr. Suzanne August-Schwartz, SMU Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing. "In collaboration with community partners like the Hayward Day Labor Center, we take healthcare education, screenings and support services out to its primary and secondary community."
SMU students from each program will offer basic health screenings for blood pressure, vision and depression; they also strive to educate non-insured workers about preventing injuries and chronic conditions, such as heart and skin diseases. The students will also administer referrals for specialized medical appointments, pass out health education materials and counsel about substance abuse, depression, and anxiety.
"The problems we see with day laborers are not often isolated physical issues, but manifestations of a combination of psychological, chronic muscular issues and illness," said Dr. August-Schwartz. "The student volunteers from a variety of disciplines - be it nursing, physician assistant, or physical therapy - enable us to address the whole individual. The community support from area health clinics, such as the Davis Street Family Resource Center in San Leandro, allows us to follow up with patients, a critical component to maintaining good health."
These practices broaden the students' experiences, develop an understanding of the barriers the population face, and provide specific needs of day workers. It's also an opportunity for the students to gain cultural competency to meet the healthcare needs of underserved persons where they live and work.
The free health screening will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Hayward Day Labor Center, 680 W. Tennyson Rd. in Hayward on Saturday, December 11.
Samuel Merritt University, located in Oakland, California, has been educating health science practitioners who are committed to making a positive difference in diverse communities since 1909. Nearly 1,400 students are enrolled at SMU, with campuses in Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Mateo. The University offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's in nursing, occupational therapy, physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and podiatric medicine. For more information visit www.samuelmerritt.edu.