Medical Spanish Health Fair

Several dozen EVMS students spent their Saturday volunteering at a health fair for Spanish-speaking residents of Norfolk.

Dorothy Requina and Robert Propst, both members of the MD Class of 2022, organized the event at Church of God Adonai to check cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. They also worked with local partners to provide vision screenings.

The student organizers, and many of the volunteers, are part of the Medical Spanish program, an initiative of EVMS Community-Engaged Learning. They were supported by several community faculty members, including Edwin Cruz, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine (pictured above).

Chelsie Coffman, MPA 2020, learned how to speak Spanish in college and was excited to put that knowledge to good use. “I come from a very rural area,” Ms. Coffman says, “and those people are often overlooked, much like the Hispanic population. As a Physician Assistant, I want to work with underserved communities, and hopefully I will be able to put my Spanish to use with future patients.”

After each screening, patients were encouraged to sit with students to learn more about their results and how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

“Many of our patients don’t know about the resources that are available to them,” Ms. Coffman explains. “We try to inform them about their options so they can get some type of healthcare on a regular basis.”  

The Medical Spanish team holds several health fairs throughout the year and also supports La Clinica Esperanza, a student-run free clinic for Spanish-speaking patients.

“We are very thankful to all of our volunteers and partners for making these events such a community success,” says Alexandra Leader, MD, MPH, Director of Global Health and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. “These community-engaged learning initiatives help us improve health access and community engagement for all.”