Health Fair Delivers Medical Care to Refugees in Rochester

May 26, 2016

On Saturday, April 30, students and faculty from the St. John Fisher College Wegmans School of Pharmacy held their third annual health fair, benefiting refugee patients living in the Rochester area.

Health Fair

Partnering with staff and translators from Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach Center, The Father’s Heart meals distribution, and members of the Koinonia Fellowship medical mission team, the group provided blood pressure screening, glucose monitoring for diabetes, and medication counseling and reconciliations for patients.

Pharmacy students help community

Ten students and three faculty members assisted with the project, reviewing medications with patients and assisting them in completing medication logs, which they could then bring to their primary care physicians. In addition, the team distributed reading glasses and toiletries to patients.

The students also applied for and were awarded a grant from the College’s Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, which helped fund the purchase of blood glucose test strips and lancets.

“The glucose testing strips are a bit expensive, so it was amazing that we were able to get the grant through the school, and were able to test individuals’ blood sugar,” explained Domenique Ciriello, a second-year pharmacy student who participated in the fair. “This was an amazing experience because we were able to really help people. Looking at medications or taking someone’s blood pressure isn’t hard, because we have been trained to do it, but it can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

Jewelry made by refugee women

The fair was one of two projects organized by students in Dr. Christine Birnie’s service-learning course, “Introduction to Medical Missions.” Another group of students coordinated a jewelry fair at the College, selling bracelets made by refugee women.  The funds raised through the sale of the bracelets was donated back to Mary’s Place residents.

“The women make beautiful jewelry,” said Ciriello, who noted that the group was able to raise several hundred dollars for the Center. “It was a great and easy way to raise money.”