April 4, 2018 | Although UAMS doesn’t field a sports team, the UAMS 12th Street Health & Wellness Center’s students and clinicians represented the university well March 24 on the basketball court at its fifth annual March MAN-ness Health Event.
On the gym floor at Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock, the center’s students along with volunteers from other health organizations provided the 55 men and women who participated with free health care services, including blood pressure checks, glucose, HIV testing and physical examinations.
Men also had blood drawn to check testosterone levels, cholesterol levels and prostate sensitive antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer screenings and other blood components necessary for optimal health. A panel of health care professionals, pharmacists and physicians along with UAMS students supervised by them were on hand to answer personal health questions.
Catey May, a UAMS College of Public Health student and the 12th Street Center’s men’s health co-coordinator, said the turnout at March Man-ness was about the same as last year, but the engagement of the attendees was even stronger. May’s co-coordinator is Dustin Walter, a third-year student in the UAMS College of Medicine.
“I thought the event went very well,” May said. “I was very pleased at how much interest there was in the things that are being offered to them in their community. We also had much higher participation in HIV screening this year. A majority actually did that, if not more, for the sexually transmitted disease and HIV screenings. The screeners also were very excited and pleasantly surprised by the demand.”
As many as 10 participants took home screening tests for colo-rectal cancer, several more than in past years, and the crowd also seemed especially eager to get nutritional guidance, visiting with volunteers from Natural Grocers and the UAMS College of Health Professions Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, she said.
Free food, T-shirts, educational materials, child care and activities were provided. Linq for Life, and ARcare also were sponsors and provided supplies and services for March MAN-ness.
Lanita White, Pharm.D., director of the 12th Street Center, said that from the very start, Saint Mark also has been a key partner in the success of March March Man-ness, providing the venue as well as helping with outreach.
Little Rock resident Patrick Pettus, 67, has a primary care physician he sees regularly, but he still felt it was worth attending March Man-ness to get a check-up between those consultations just as he has in previous years.
“I like to get a second opinion and make sure everything is on target,” he said. “I enjoy the opportunity, and I try to tell others about it like my sons. I tell people in the neighborhood, too. Some of them have come. I appreciate 12th Street and Saint Mark for putting this on. Some people don’t have a health care provider, so this is a chance for them to learn what is going on with their health.”
May said all the volunteers made a special effort this year to guide and direct participants like Pettus to visit each screening station and every staffed informational table.
“Instead of just warning them about certain things to look out for, we put an even heavier emphasis this year on preventive care and issues like dental care, nutrition and overall health,” May said. “We wanted participants to be aware of everything that was being offered, and they responded to that.”