Hundreds of Island residents obviously interested in health and wellness attended the 2012 Community Heath Fair organized by first and second-year students of the University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), on January 6.
Some guests even showed up at the Kaka’ako campus early, ten or fifteen minutes before the noon start-time, but that wasn’t a problem as the students and community health organizations taking part this year were well organized, with their tables and exhibits (and festive balloon decorations set up the night before) all ready to go.
“We actually had a better turnout than we expected in terms of the vendors, too,” said second year medical student Aaron Hoo, who served as spokesman for the health fair in on-camera interviews with videographers from two of the three Honolulu television stations who turned out to cover the event.
“This is our seventh health fair,” Hoo added, noting that organizing the fair helps the MD students interact with the health interest groups who are a doctor’s partner in wellness as well as sometimes a primary source of a patient’s education.
“We know some of our patients will turn to these organizations, as well as to their physicians to learn about health issues, so it’s helpful for us to be engaged with one another as early as possible,” Hoo said. It also helps the medical students fulfill their ongoing mission to serve our community, even before they become practicing doctors.
At one of the more than 50 exhibit areas set up in the school lobby, library and Kulia Grill, Steven Labrash grew animated as he described how people routinely sign up to donate their bodies to JABSOM’s Willed Body Program upon death, to help the students learn anatomy. “You know, I would guess at least 15% of those who take part in our program are themselves educators in life,” said Labrash. The Willed Body Program has an annual memorial service for loved ones of our body donors, a service that has grown so popular that attendees occupy a second large room in addition to filling JABSOM’s 150-seat auditorium. (See Willed Body Program Website for more details.)
Pictured at the top of our story: students in the Geriatrics Interest Group gather at their exhibit table.
Story by Tina Shelton with photographs by Arnold Kameda, Dean’s Office.