CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy students and faculty spent a lot of time volunteering at the National Western Stock Show in Denver this year. They helped provide free health screenings to members of the community and, on certain days, also offered flu shots.
The Colorado AHEC (Area Health Education Center) program office coordinated with the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to provide the health services, "We partner with all the different programs to provide free health screenings here at the stock show, we've been doing it for over 20 years now," explained Cindy Armstrong, the associate director of post-professional programs for Colorado AHEC.
The health screening included height and weight measurements, BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, vision, and an oral health screen. Members of the community were also able to get a flu vaccine from CU Pharmacy students on certain days. At the first flu clinic, students administered 93 flu shots that were donated by King Soopers,"They give us opportunities to participate in these flu clinics so we can get very comfortable giving the vaccines," said second-year student Beatriz Da Silva, "sometimes you'll have to do one vaccine every 5-10 minutes." It's been a particularly hard flu season so the hope with providing flu shots was to get it to anyone who hadn’t been vaccinated yet, "This year there have been a lot of deaths from the flu. It's important to provide coverage against the flu," added Da Silva. The first death from the flu in Colorado occurred in January.
Providing vaccines and health screenings isn't just a benefit to the community. The students get a chance to work with other health professions students and provide health education and information to people who may not otherwise have access to care, "It helps them learn how to do patient interviews and what other health professions actually do. Every student has to do every part of the health screen, so it takes them out of their comfort zone a little bit," said Armstrong.
With some vaccines leftover from the first flu clinic and 60 additional donated from the Dawn Clinic, CU Pharmacy students and faculty were able to offer a second flu shot clinic Saturday, January 20th from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. in booth 217 at the stock show. The National Western Stock Show attracts over 700,000 attendees and around 2,500 people participate in the health screenings offered.