Dec. 13, 2016 | Janay Tatum got some good news on Dec. 1 at the UAMS 12th Street Health & Wellness Center: She’s healthy.
“It was a good experience, and I had never been here before,” said Tatum, 27, of Wrightsville. “Everybody was nice, very friendly. My blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar were good. I would come back.”
The center observed World AIDS Day for the third year by providing a dozen patients with free HIV screenings and a variety of other free health screenings, including screenings for blood pressure, glucose levels and cholesterol.
Since 1987, World AIDS Day has been dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, about 5,000 Arkansans are living with HIV/AIDS but only about half are in care for the disease
LINQ for Life and ARCare in cooperation with UAMS helped provide the HIV screenings using a mouth swab test. A private, nonprofit organization, ARCare provides affordable primary and dental care at 27 locations in Arkansas with a focus on patient, community and employee health. LINQ for Life, also a nonprofit organization, works to educate and increase awareness about HIV and AIDS.
“LINQ for Life and ARCare continue to be great partner organizations with UAMSin making testing accessible to people who want and need it,” said Lanita White, Pharm. D., the center’s director. “HIV and AIDS testing and treatment have improved greatly since the disease first was discovered and identified as a public health problem. Many at-risk people who should receive testing and counseling unfortunately still go without those services.”
The 12th Street Health & Wellness Center is a free clinic run by students under supervision of licensed practitioners. It provides students from the UAMS Colleges of Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and the Graduate School an avenue to learn from each other in an interprofessional setting. The center provides information about healthy living, preventive care, consultations and screenings for chronic health conditions to residents of the Little Rock Promise Neighborhood and surrounding areas.
Fourteen UAMS student and faculty volunteers as well as volunteers from other organizations helped with examinations and answering health questions from patients.
Sarah Theriot, the center’s student director of external events and a second-year student in the UAMS College of Medicine, said a medical student who had taken part in HIV research told her she was grateful and excited to see how screening for the HIV virus is done.
“We had a couple of first-time volunteers,” Theriot said. “Right off the bat, they are getting to practice doing blood glucose and blood pressure screenings, engaging in patient interactions and getting to see how we work with different community resources like ARCare and LINQ for Life. They seemed to really enjoy it, and I really enjoyed it, too.”
The 12th Street Center’s World AIDS Day event not only provides needed health screenings and information to patients, it helps train and educate UAMS students to work as a team in a clinical setting, she said.