Students organize a Health and Wellness Fair at Union Mission to provide services that aren’t usually readily available to the homeless population.

Walking into the Union Mission Ministries brings back a familiar feeling for Stephanie Ewers. She worked with the organization, which provides help for the homeless, for 16 years before taking an Administrative Coordinator position with the EVMS/ODU Graduate Program in Public Health.

So she couldn’t have been more excited when a group of MPH students said they wanted to start a Public Health Student Association and volunteer at Union Mission each week.

But that wasn’t all. As National Public Health Week approached in early April, they decided they wanted to make an even bigger impact. Working with Ms. Ewers, students organized a Health and Wellness Fair at Union Mission to provide services that aren’t usually readily available to the homeless population.

They arranged for Great Clips to give haircuts on site and found student, staff and faculty volunteers to do hearing, vision, dental, diabetes, neuropathy and blood pressure screenings. Norfolk Health and Human Services also agreed to provide information about workforce development training.  

In total, 93 people were seen at the fair. Ms. Ewers said it may have even been a lifesaving visit for at least one patient who was diagnosed with dangerously high blood pressure and sent for additional treatment at a medical facility.

“This organization has a special place in my heart,” Ms. Ewers says. “It’s great to see so many students put together such an amazing event and make a positive impact on the community.”

The MPH program is exploring making the Health and Wellness Fair an annual event.