Engaging with the Asian-American Community through a Student-Run Health Fair

1:22 PM

Author | Shirley Yang & Jay Li

On Saturday, September 30, we helped organize and participated in the annual health fair put on by the United Asian American Medical Student Association (UAAMSA) for the medically underserved Asian-American population of southeast Michigan. For over 14 years, this population of patients has gathered at the medical school to receive screening tests, flu shots, physician consultations, and other services. This event is entirely run by the medical students in UAAMSA, and it is one of the most rewarding volunteering experiences that we have engaged in during medical school so far.

Leading up to this year's health fair, we helped to recruit medical students, physicians, and undergraduate volunteers, while other members of UAAMSA gathered screening equipments, translated health forms, and advertised at local Asian restaurants, churches, and grocery stores. On the day of the fair, participants registered and went through a series of stations set up in the Taubman Health Sciences Library. Some of the screening stations included blood glucose, cholesterol, and bone density, and there were information booths about medications, dental health, and health insurance. If the participants had an abnormal screening result or a specific health concern, they could consult with a physician volunteer at the fair.

© Copyright 1995-2024 Regents of the University of Michigan

There are many challenges to the successful care of Asian-American patients, and one of the reasons we both became involved in UAAMSA was to help address these issues. There is a general lack of data on Asian-American health, and in the few epidemiologic studies available, the dozens of distinct and diverse ethnicities are usually grouped together. Asian-Americans also encounter barriers to receiving quality care, such as language proficiency and cultural orientation. To combat these issues, we collected patient demographics and health outcomes data at the health fair in order to better understand the population we were serving, and we also helped to interpret for the participants who did not speak English.

A new initiative for UAAMSA this year was to focus on patient education during the health fair. This was spurred by the fact that many past participants did not have a regular doctor, and some discovered health problems at the fair that they did not understand and would not have known about otherwise. We took special care to explain each condition we screened for so that participants were educated about ways to prevent and manage certain diseases. While we had a lot of fun meeting and interacting with members of the local Asian-American community, it was also very rewarding to provide them short-term care through screening and patient education. We are already looking forward to next year's health fair!

 

© Copyright 1995-2024 Regents of the University of Michigan
Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine

[email protected]

734-764-2220

Stay Informed

Want top health & research news weekly? Sign up for Health Lab’s newsletters today!

Subscribe
Featured News & Stories Toddler Martina smiling.
Philanthropy News
Rallying Together to Support Childhood Cancer Awareness and Research
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to recognize the impact of pediatric cancer and highlight the importance of research and patient programs.
blood pressure cuff on mans arm with white coat doctor taking it
Health Lab
Blood pressure high for years? Beware of stroke risk
A study led by Michigan Medicine narrows in on the cumulative effects of years of high systolic blood pressure — the top number on the blood pressure reading and how hard the heart pumps blood to the arteries — finding that a higher average reading during adulthood is linked with a greater risk for the two most common types of stroke.
bottle cap red
Health Lab
Bipolar disorder and alcohol: It’s not as simple as 'self-medication'
People with bipolar disorder have a high risk of alcohol use issues, which have been seen as “self medication,” but a study shows that changes in drinking predict worse symptoms.
Hernandez
Department News
The Department of Pharmacology welcomes Dr. Ciria Quintero Hernandez!
The Department of Pharmacology welcomes Dr. Ciria Quintero Hernandez!
Left to right: Surbhi Gupta (University of Michigan), Laura Mike (University of Pittsburgh), Harry Mobley (University of Michigan), Melanie Pearson (University of Michigan), Chelsie Armbruster (SUNY Buffalo), and Allyson Shea (University of South Alabama)
Department News
Harry Mobley receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Urinary Tract Infection Global Alliance (UTIGA)
Harry Mobley receives the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 5th Clinical and Scientific Advances in Urinary Tract Infections held July 19-21 in Columbus, Ohio
Headshots of two new Genetics Training Program members
Department News
Graduate students Ross Kaufhold and Ben Pockrass chosen for training program positions
Two Biological Chemistry graduate students receive positions in the Genetics Training Program for the 2024–2025 academic year.