Keeping Tucson Healthy: Pharmacy Students Organize Community Health Fair

The UA College of Pharmacy is partnering with Tucson Parks and Recreation to host its annual El Rio Neighborhood Center Health Fair on Saturday, March 4  from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The health fair will have 50 exhibits representing local health care partners and pharmacy students providing preventative health screenings, health risk reduction advice and general health education. 

Dr. Theodore Tong, associate dean and professor, has helped with the health fair since its inception several years ago. He said the El Rio Health Fair is unique compared to the other UA pharmacy health fairs because it brings together different community partners.

“It’s an opportunity to reach out to the community, engage local health care professionals and provide services to many individuals in the community who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these types of health screenings,” Dr. Tong said.

The free screenings are an introduction to addressing potential health concerns. For many health fair attendees, they are able to find their baseline about a health issue or condition. Afterward, the pharmacist schedules an appointment for the patient if needed. This helps ensure the patient follows up with an appropriate provider.

This health fair will have screenings for diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and osteoporosis. Breathing assessments and medication reviews will also be offered.

“We want people to utilize these services while giving our students the opportunity to provide screenings in a community setting,” Dr. Tong said.

Pharmacy student coordinators Sumaiyya Zehri and KoanHee Rim have been working since November to organize the event. Six College of Pharmacy faculty members, 80 pharmacy students and 20 pre-pharmacy students have signed up to volunteer at the event. They expect about 500 community members to attend.

“This is the only community health fair that the college hosts,” said Zehri. “We have an active role in planning and organizing it, and it allows students to volunteer in a professional capacity."

Community members of all ages are welcomed to attend the health fair. There will be activities for kids as well, including face painting and a session on making hand sanitizer.  

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