The Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University hosted a free mobile health clinic in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood on Wednesday in support of World AIDS Day, which is today. The clinic offered free testing and health education to at-risk community members.
Faculty and students in the School of Nursing administered rapid HIV tests and other screenings using the college’s Health in Motion van, which was parked outside the Agape House of Prayer on Blue Hill Avenue, one of the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares. The prayer space served as additional space for the clinic, which also included testing for other sexually transmitted diseases and a variety of other health screenings and immunizations was also available.
Clinical instructors Ann Hill and Catherine O’Connor operate the Health in Motion van, which is equipped to provide health education and basic screening and immunization services. It is used by Bouvé as an interdisciplinary, experiential learning and research tool that enables Northeastern to extend service learning, health education and health promotion into the surrounding community, which gives students a chance to gain valuable experience for professional practice.
On Wednesday, several nursing students used the van for the first time, including senior Lauren Vogel, who stressed the importance of reaching out to at-risk communities to offer health testing and vaccinations.
“I think it’s great that we can get out and do this,” Vogel said. “This way, we’re taking health care to them.”
Working in the community is not only a great public health service, but also a great way for students to complement the health education experience they receive in hospitals and other facilities, noted senior Jaclynne Gomez.
“It’s important to recognize the needs of this population because they don’t always get the care they need, and they may be at high risk for certain health issues or problems,” Gomez said.
The event dovetailed with Northeastern’s focus on solving global health challenges. Health, security and sustainability are Northeastern’s top research themes.
For World AIDS Day, students have also set up an information table in the Curry Student Center urging their peers to post a tweet or update their Facebook status to promote HIV/AIDS awareness.
Several student groups will host a panel discussion with faculty today entitled “The Beginning of the End of AIDS?” from noon to 1:30 p.m. in 240 Dockser Hall.