On June 23, 2012 eleven members of the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts’ chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) hosted a free community health fair for local residents of Middle Island, St.Kitts. Supervised by Mary Jo Cannon, MD and Dr. Agnes Beachman, the fair was held at the Grace Gospel Hall in conjunction with International University of Nursing’s Community Health Nursingclass. These future nurses joined the UMHS AMSA medical students to form an interdisciplinary health care team for this outreach event.
Five health stations were set up offering a variety of information and screening services with the goal of promoting and maintaining good health while facilitating the early detection of disease among participating Middle Islanders. The health stations included one for ‘Vital Signs’ (where heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and temperature were determined), a separate station for testing
Blood Sugar Levels, screening for Prediabetes, one for Visual Acuity examinations, as well as an information station dispensing General Health Tips such as lessons for the women on how to perform breast self-exams for the early detection of breast cancer.
Promotion of the breast self-exam is extremely important in St. Kitts as the nation currently ranks very poorly in the world for breast cancer deaths per capita. Breast cancer is also a leading cause of death on this beautiful, Caribbean island. All the women who attended were urged to have a breast exam done by one of the medical or nursing students, during which time, the women were instructed on how to continue to perform the exam at home. Though perhaps a baby-step, demonstration of this simple self-screening intervention is hoped to have a positive impact in the battle against breast cancer malignancies and death among St. Kitts’ women.
Many diabetic and Prediabetic patients attended the Health Fair, as well, seeking answers about their treatment. One recently diagnosed diabetic man came in to ask if he really needed to go back to his doctor the following Monday for an insulin shot, instead of the oral treatment he had been taking. He desperately sought to avoid another insulin injection, and so had been debating whether or not to cancel his appointment. Upon examination, the medical and nursing student team determined that his oral regimen was not adequately controlling his glucose levels and suggested further treatment with his regular physician.
Amanda Nelli, UMHS Med 2
AMSA President [UMHS Chapter]
Built in the tradition of the best US 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.