By Kate Hunger
Melinda Fountain was one of 35 third-year physical therapy students who ran a health fair for seniors last month. Her team ran the nutrition booth for the event that drew about 75 attendees.
“We educated the participants on proper nutrition—specifically protein, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables—and we questioned them about what they typically eat,” she said.
Fountain’s team took their job pretty seriously.
“We dressed up as fruits and vegetables,” she said. “I was a carrot.”
The nutrition booth was one of several stations at the fair, held April 24 at the District 2 Senior Center. In addition to nutrition, students performed health screenings in areas including vision, wellness, fall risk, cognition, emergency preparedness, and home safety.
“The health fair is an opportunity to provide preventive services to healthy older adults and encourage healthy lifestyles as they manage age-related changes,” said Professor Martha Acosta, Ph.D., PT, GCS., Physical Therapy.
Participation in the health fair was a requirement for the Human Development Across the Lifespan class, Acosta said.
In addition to performing screenings and assessments, students also collected data, created and shared educational flyers, and wrote reports about their findings.
“It’s a way for them to practice wellness,” Acosta said. “The students are really synthesizing information they have learned along the way.”
Student Rich Henderson’s team performed cognitive assessments and shared ideas for cognitive and social activities, such as joining a book club or walking club, taking an exercise class, playing chess or solving puzzles.
The opportunity to work the health fair brought his education full circle, Henderson said.
“It was nice to have this experience as a third-year student, to go out and use my skills in service to our community,” he said.