In the Community: SPH Dean Dr. Shafik Dharamsi meets our partners at U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW event and Tarrant County Hispanic Wellness Coalition’s fall health fair
October 4, 2022 • News
New SPH Dean Dr. Shafik Dharamsi has recently been busy getting acquainted with community partners, local organizations and key leaders around Tarrant County, to strengthen collaborations and work together to improve the health and well-being of area residents and our most vulnerable communities.
The Dean recently joined other HSC leaders and delegates – including HSC President Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams; Executive Vice President & COO Ruth Roman; Dana Gill, associate vice president, academic communications; Lee Ann Embry, director, corporate relations; and others – in representing the university at the inaugural U.S. India Chamber of Commerce Dallas-Fort Worth Wellness and Workplace Conference. This event, featuring U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, highlighted the importance of mental health and well-being and the role of business.
Participating in international collaborations like this, the Dean said, has a direct connection to the vibrant international student presence of the HSC School of Public Health. Just over 30% of our cohort population in the SPH comes from around the world, including places like India, Africa, South America, China and the Middle East.
“The SPH is deeply committed to raising global awareness because public health is a global concern impacting the quality and conditions of life everywhere, whether the issues relate to epidemics, natural disasters, violence, poverty, environmental pollution or other concerns,” Dr. Dharamsi said.
“I am so inspired by all our students who are dedicated to having a positive impact in our communities near and far, as well as our alumni and SPH faculty researchers.”
The Dean also attended the recent Hispanic Wellness Coalition’s Carnaval de Salud health fair, where health screenings, health checks and health/wellness information was provided free of charge to the community.
The Hispanic Wellness Coalition (HWC) hosts two health fairs each year, where these types of free services are offered, including hearing screenings, vaccinations, vision screenings, sports physicals, blood pressure checks, mammograms and more.
The HSC School of Public Health has been very involved with the Hispanic Wellness Coalition over the years, helping to provide office space and other forms of support to the organization and its efforts in serving the North Texas community.
“There is great value in collaborating with our local partners on community health fairs,” Dr. Dharamsi said. “Importantly, these types of events help identify top public health concerns in our communities, such as environmental and social factors that affect health outcomes. They help partners develop plans to address resource gaps in the community, such as the need for area health centers, mobile clinics and health promotion programs.”
“Educating communities on the benefits of preventive care and healthy behaviors can improve well-being, provide essential services including social support and counseling, and help residents gain access to such resources as affordable medical, dental and mental health care services; insurance (Medicare or Medicaid enrollment); translation and transportation services; or housing, food and education,” he added.
“Health fairs and events like these can reduce the need for expensive emergency care and hospitalizations, help with advocating for improved care on behalf of at-risk populations, and help address the area’s mental, physical, cultural and social characteristics, including nutrition, housing and transportation. Health fairs and community services like those provided by HWC and our other partners are a true win-win for all.”