HAMPTON, Va. (December 10, 2018) – Hampton University third year pharmacy student, Russia Tatum, successfully organized a free Health Fair at her childhood church in Washington D.C., with the goal of helping local homeless people receive health checks and free amenities such as flu shots and immunizations.
“Ms. Tatum saw a unique opportunity to help people. She went above and beyond to ensure this event was a success,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “This is another demonstration of how Hampton students develop character during their academic tenure at this university.”
Tatum saw a need for the fair as her church, St. Luke’s Catholic Church, is located in a poverty section of the city. She started asking around at the Hampton University School of Pharmacy for volunteers and donations, and even asked some students from the Howard University College of Pharmacy to help out. “My family has been attending this church since the era of my great-great grandmother and so I wanted to do something to give back to church members and the community,” said Tatum. “I have some friends in the pharmacy program at Howard University so I thought why not get them involved as well. Before I knew it, this event took off!”
During the Health Fair, which ran November 10th and 11th, 2018, there were several tables where students were able to give out information about hypertension, the flu, stroke awareness, medical cannabis, healthy eating, HIV, mental health, breast cancer awareness and much more. They provided blood glucose monitoring, blood pressure checks, and many students drove up to D.C. to volunteer.
Both CVS and Harris Teeter provided influenza vaccines and Gene Health gave confidential genetic health screening tests.
“I had the privilege of serving as the supervising faculty member for Hampton University's and Howard University's branch of Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) community health fair event held in Washington D.C., an event spearheaded by Hampton's own P3 student Russia Tatum. I was extremely impressed by all the hard work and support that our P3 student body gave in regards to this endeavor,” said Dr. Shanea D. Parker PharmD, assistant professor for the Hampton University School of Pharmacy. “I believe with support by the faculty and staff our students can achieve great things and be a key player in the community.”
A total of 120 patients, 40 of which were homeless, attended the fair. There was food, children’s activities and even line dancing for attendees.
“I think the fair went extremely well for my first time coordinating it. I was extremely nervous about this idea and many times I was stressed and overwhelmed, but I kept thinking about how many lives we can save. How many people can we get to make a difference in their lives? I kept reminding myself that the stress will pass and we would help so many people,” said Tatum. “I really hope we can continue this health fair in the future.”