Sept. 27, 2016 | With his 7-week-old daughter cradled and sleeping on his shoulder, Jody Lewis on a recent September morning sat down in front of the UAMS 12th Street Health & Wellness Center’s blood pressure screening table set up at Our House in Little Rock.
Lewis and his wife, Shannon Tate, have five children ranging in age from 8 to 7 weeks. A few months ago, he lost his job and then his family lost their apartment, but in early September, they found a place to stay on the Roosevelt Road campus of Our House, a comprehensive program and facility for the working poor and homeless.
Tate said she has taken her children to the 12th Street center to receive vaccinations required to attend school, and she and Lewis were glad to see the center’s student volunteers at the Our House Health and Wellness Day.
12th Street volunteers provided health screenings, information and education along with other health care providers and organizations at Our House on Sept. 16 for the wellness day and at Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church’s Aid for All event on Sept. 17.
Both Tate and Lewis have high blood pressure and wanted to get checked for that during the Our House event. Lewis also learned from the 12th Street Center screenings that her blood sugar was high. Their 4-year-old son needed a fitness check so he could qualify for admission to a pre-kindergarten class.
“The 12th Street Center is an awesome clinic,” Tate said. “If you tell them your situation, they will help you anyway they can. It’s not like going to a regular clinic where you’re just passed down and out the door. They truly care about the patients coming in.”
Tate said the family is trying to “get back on their feet,” so they are seeking help wherever they can find it and the 12th Street Center and Our House both have been a part of that.
“Our team was able to provide screenings that focused on heart health and general well-being as well as counseling on living a healthy lifestyle,” said Lanita White, Pharm. D., the center’s director. “We strive to provide an outlet for our community members who may not otherwise have access to health care.”
At the Our House and Quapaw events, the 12th Street Center students performed health screenings for a total of about 35 patients.
The 12th Street Health & Wellness Center is a free clinic run by students under supervision of faculty and other licensed volunteers. It provides students from the UAMS Colleges of Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and the Graduate School an avenue to learn about, from and with each other in an interprofessional center. The center focuses on education, prevention and management of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. It also provides information about healthy living, preventive care, consultations and screenings for residents of the Little Rock Promise Neighborhood and surrounding areas.
“Both events spoke to the community’s need for general health education but also the teamwork and support different organizations are so willing to provide,” said Sarah Theriot, the center’s director of external events and a second-year student in the UAMS College of Medicine. “We really enjoyed combining forces with Our House, Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church, and the other participating organizations.”