A healthy start to the school year
By Eric Parker
Life is hectic for parents in demanding, low-wage jobs. Peace of mind depends on easily accessible, free health services like those provided by the UNT Health Science Center at Thursday’s Back to School Roundup.
One such parent is Erica Salinas. Her son, 8-year-old Luis, will start school with confidence that he has excellent eyesight and is fully prepared to engage in sports. The eye exam and sports physical, provided by UNTHSC, were “quick, easy, and everyone here was really nice and very helpful,” Salinas said. The efficiency of services in one place enabled her to take care of Luis’ health and still get to work on time.
Salinas and Luis were one among dozens of families whose school-age children received UNTHSC’s free health services at the annual event at Will Rogers Memorial Center. Parents also received free services such as checks for lead poisoning and measurement of blood pressure and blood glucose.
It was UNTHSC Health Advocate Clara Ramirez’s first year volunteering at Roundup, an opportunity she says she couldn’t pass up. “A lot of times, parents are so worried about their kids that they can forget to think about themselves,” she said, “so it’s nice we’re offering some services to them as well.”
Several Fort Worth city officials also visited the UNTHSC booth. Among the hundreds of individuals who stopped by for health counseling were Mayor of Fort Worth Betsy Price, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks, and several Fort Worth police officers who sought advice on low-back pain apparently caused by wearing bullet-proof vests.
By the end of the day, UNTHSC gave physicals to more than 80 kids, and hundreds more came for other services. Stats from some of the services provided:
- 88 physicals administered
- 15 lead tests
- 30 asthma consults
- 17 asthma control tests
- 8 asthma risk surveys
UNTHSC’s mission to create a healthier community also serves as a catalyst for bonds between patients and health care providers. Ramirez said one of the kids at Roundup had visited the UNTHSC Pediatric Mobile Clinic earlier this month. “She remembered me, and she’s so sweet she gave me some stickers. Things like that really stand out to me and help to emphasize just how much of an impact we can have on these kids.” After the screenings, kids had a chance to get active and show off their hula hoop skills, an opportunity few were willing to pass up.
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