Members from a pharmacy student organization at South Dakota State University provided free health screenings at the 2023 South Dakota State Fair.
Students from the Student Collaboration for the Advancement and Promotion of Pharmacy (SCAPP) returned for the seventh year to provide free health screenings at the state fair, which was held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.
The student organization is designed to give students opportunities in leadership, patient care, community service, education, professionalism, policy and advocacy. The free health screenings were run entirely by SDSU pharmacy students.
According to Brittney Meyer, faculty adviser for the group and a professor of pharmacy practice, offering free health screenings at the state fair is “a great opportunity to get out of the local area and reach more rural patients that may not have readily available access to health care."
Madison Hamel, a pharmacy student and the organization president, said, “SCAPP offers a variety of events throughout the year focusing on patient care, career development and student engagement.” Some of these include screenings and other patient care events at the Veteran Affairs Car Show, The Banquet, the Sanford Pentagon, and Active Generations in Sioux Falls, at the Harvest Table in Brookings, and at legislative days in Pierre.
“The students are also working on a new initiative to travel West River to provide screenings,” Meyer added.
Hamel explained why providing free health screenings is so important to the student organization.
“We do this to promote overall health and wellness in the community as well as provide both pharmacological and non-pharmacological recommendations, allowing patients to take charge of their own health journey,” she said.
“This experience also gives pharmacy students an opportunity to practice patient care skills learned in class and apply knowledge that we have learned beyond the classroom.”
At the 2023 State Fair, the students reached a record number of patients, providing free health screenings to more than 200 people.
In addition to providing a valuable service to fairgoers, Hamel explained that the screenings are also a valuable educational tool for herself and other SDSU pharmacy students.
“This experience also gives pharmacy students an opportunity to practice patient care skills learned in class and apply knowledge that we have learned beyond the classroom,” she said.
This was the case for Austin Manuell, a pharmacy student and organization member who helped provide the free health screenings. For him the event was both an educational opportunity and a way to provide an important service to South Dakotans.
“This event brings in a large volume of patients who come to our booth and want to be screened, so it gives me a fantastic opportunity to practice and sharpen my skills,” Manuell said.
And for Aubrey Kooima, the president-elect of the Student Collaboration for the Advancement and Promotion of Pharmacy, “Offering patient screenings and education at the South Dakota State Fair not only impacted the patients but also us as pharmacy students. A highlight for me was being able to interact with patients while performing screenings and educating about common disease states. These patients were extremely thankful for the free screenings, and it was rewarding to hear how they might adjust their lifestyle based off the screening results.”
The student group has several more events planned for the 2023-2024 academic year.
“We plan to help with flu shot clinics in Brookings and Sioux Falls, provide education at the Brookings Farmers Market, host a 5K to raise awareness for mental health, volunteer within the community, and hope to offer screenings at a home Jackrabbit basketball game next spring,” Kooima said.
To learn more about the Student Collaboration for the Advancement and Promotion of Pharmacy and stay up to date on the group’s activities, visit its Facebook page.