By Carlos Rosario, CarMHI President
To kick off Mental Health Week, Caribbean and Mental Health Institute (CarMHI) and the African and Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) partnered together on Saturday, October 7, 2017 for a Community Health Fair at 17 Degrees. The health fair proved to be a wonderful opportunity to not just advance the experiences and abilities of our members; it served as a platform to get to know the people in Basseterre, St. Kitts.
CarMHI’s mission in brief is to fight mental health stigma, encouraging research and improving the quality and accessibility of Mental Health care in the Caribbean. ACSA is committed to bridging the gap with the community and building stronger bonds as we move forward together.
Eboni Peoples, President of ACSA, stated “during the fair, students were able practice taking patient health information, conduct blood glucose and blood pressure readings, obtain BMI information, offer nutritional modifications and assess the mental health of each individual. The mental health evaluation was a new feature to traditional health fairs students participated in. The introduction of this station provided the need to include mental and emotional health screenings in the everyday practice of caring for patients.”
While analyzing results of examinations, students asked about lifestyles habits and interests to obtain a holistic understanding of each patient’s well being and current physical health. Sometimes we, as medical students, become so accustomed to studying the standard cause and effects that we run the risk of forgetting that life has a full spectrum of factors and outliers. While at the University of Medicine and Health Science we learn of etiological agents, clinical signs and symptoms, treatment and therapy; however, understanding the patient as a whole is more important.
Together, CarMHI and ACSA helped over 50 people at the health fair sponsored by Beacon of Hope Ministries. Second year student Zonelle Harris, Community Service Director of ACSA, planned every detail of this activity with the help of Dr. Agnes Beachman who supervised the health fair. This activity truly inspirited students to become better listeners and apply just as much attention to our future patients physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health as possible.
On behalf of CarMHI, I applaud the members of the ACSA for all their hard work during this event and thank all the UMHS students that participated in this event. May many more events of this caliber be made possible in the future for both our betterment and the betterment of the wonderful community of St. Kitts and Nevis that has welcomed us among them with open arm during this part of our journey. We often think so much about what should be done to help others in far-off places and still we fail to realize all that we can do for our neighbors.
Built in the tradition of the best U.S. universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individualized student attention, small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. For these reasons, UMHS is quickly becoming the school of choice among Caribbean medical schools.