Auburn students and faculty host health clinic at wellness center

Published 8:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

LaFAYETTE — On Friday, Chambers County residents had the opportunity to have a free interview and health screening along with a wellness plan being recommended to them by a health care team of students and clinicians. It took place at the Chambers County Community Health & Wellness Center off of Highway 50 on the southwest side of town.

Each person turning out received a comprehensive health screening, medication review, weight assessment, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol screenings, a nutrition education and screening and information on local support available to them.

This took place between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. CDT. It was followed by a speech and hearing screening.

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Each person present for the free clinic met with a group of Auburn University students who are majoring in such disciplines as Nursing, Pharmacy, Speech Language Pathology, Nutrition and Social Work.

The students asked those turning out about their overall health, how often they went to a doctor or a dentist, if they were maintaining an active lifestyle and if they were having any problems with their medications. Nursing students participating in this inter professional mobile clinic took readings on blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and blood glucose. In some cases, individuals were referred for follow-up exams. The health assessment screenings were made possible through the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, the School of Nursing, and the Departments of Dietetics, Social Work and Speech Language Pathology.

Respondents were advised to seek out information from the American Heart Association (www.heart.org), the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.org) and the National Institute of Health (www.health.nih.gov).

Chambers County was selected as the starting point for an ambitious initiative on the part of Auburn University to improve health outcomes for the rural portions of the state. Chambers County is near Auburn and has some health statistics that are in need of improvement. According to some studies, an estimated 70 percent of Chambers County residents have high blood pressure; the county recently had the state’s highest death rate for cervical cancer and it ranks some 20 percent below the national norm for annual flu shots.

There is a need for county residents to be more conscientious about their health, and there’s no better way to do it than by utilizing a free clinic such as the Chambers County Community Health & Wellness Center. This Auburn University outreach effort is strongly backed by the Chambers County Commission, the City of LaFayette and the Cooperative Extension Service.

The Community Health & Wellness Center has an extraordinary asset in an OnMed Telehealth Station. It’s located just inside the front door and provides users with an affordable, private and efficient experience by facilitating a real-time patient encounter with an Alabama licensed clinician in a virtual setting through the use of diagnostic tools available for practitioner-guided self-use.

The wellness care being provided Friday gave local citizens a chance to get such information as diabetes management and asthma education. The Pharmacy students present at the clinic offered advice on proper management of medications, and the Speech, Hearing and Language students talked to people about their communication needs.

Discussions and regional coverings to focus on possible solutions to address rural health disparities with campus and community-based partners began in October 2020. A commitment was made to launch a rural health project in Chambers County through a memorandum of understanding that was agreed to in August 2021. The Community Health & Wellness Clinic went active this past March. There’s been an ongoing effort since then to get the word out about what a valuable resource this is right in the heart of Chambers County.