The Department of Nursing and Health Sciences will be holding a health fair on Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Guymon Saunders building in downtown Amarillo.
The fair is aimed at identifying health problems with the homeless and assisting them with getting the proper care they need. The department is expecting to reach around 400 people.
“A big goal is to provide education,” said Nursing student Austin Preston. “A lot of the time, homeless people suffer from medical illnesses that need attention, but addressing them is not a priority. They are more concerned with basic needs such as shelter, food, sleep, etc. I personally am extremely excited, because I’m curious to see how the homeless population responds to it.”
It is up to the students to come up with the materials needed for the fair. So far, they have used events such as Homecoming and Fair in the Square to help gather needed supplies.
The members of the planning committee will be meeting throughout the semester to plan other events and fundraisers in hopes of acquiring even more supplies. The goal is to gather materials such as hygiene products and clothing that the students will be able to hand out at the fair.
Preston said that the students are also looking at having a booth set up to test blood pressure and blood glucose screening.
“It’s great that we’re doing this,” said fellow Nursing student Amanda Young. “When you look at the homeless population, there is an underserved group that does not have access to medical care that others do. This is a screening process and if we come across something that needs more attention, we have a process that we go through to get them the proper care they need.”
“The homeless can’t just walk into a clinic and say their insurance is going to cover them,” said Stephanie Webie, another Nursing major who is taking part in the fair. “We aren’t authoritative and we’re trying to help and educate. Titles might scare [the homeless] sometimes and we’re taught to be ready for that.”
Faculty will be present if they are needed, but the health fair is meant to be completely in the hands of the nursing students.