Inner-city free health screening with community partners: Hartford, CT
On Saturday, 27 April 2019, a group of volunteers from the Greater Hartford Sathya Sai Center partnered with Grace Lutheran Church in Hartford’s Asylum Hill Neighborhood to offer a free health screening for the residents in the neighborhood and beyond. The free health screening camp involved a collaboration with the Wheeler Clinic, a local community-based health clinic located across the street from the church.
Grace Lutheran Church was viewed a suitable venue for the health camp as their community room is used every Friday evening to host a free dinner for neighbors in need of food, friendship or both. Thus, the church provides a natural network to a difficult-to-reach but under-served population. Wheeler Clinic is a very valuable partner in providing support and expertise in addressing the needs of those without regular medical care. While the clinic offers a wide variety of excellent medical services, not everyone who needs them is aware of what services are available. Since the Clinic is not open on Saturdays, this was also a chance to reach out to those who have difficulty accessing the clinic during the weekdays.
The Greater Hartford Sathya Sai Center brought together 10 volunteer physicians in a variety of specialties, center members and Group 3 SSE students to welcome and provide 35 ethnically diverse patients with free health screening. The services included blood pressure and glucose testing, BMI, dental exam, pediatric exams, nutrition and even yoga exercises, which turned out to be the most popular of all the stations.
Many of those who came for the screening said it was very valuable to them, especially the yoga. Stress is a health issue that affects us all, but can be even greater for those in unstable living conditions. Finding a way like yoga to lessen stress without medications or side effects can be really valuable for these patients. Nutrition was another very popular station, and the free samples, along with information about the sugar content of various processed foods and beverages, were well received.
The feedback from the neighborhood, as well as the staff at Grace Lutheran Church and Wheeler Clinic, was also very positive and everyone stated they would like to see the health screening to be repeated again sometime soon.