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Student-led health fair to care for families and cuddly teddy bear friends

The second annual UTHealthCares Community Health Fair will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at UT Physicians Multispecialty – Jensen, 2620 E. Crosstimbers St. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
The second annual UTHealthCares Community Health Fair will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at UT Physicians Multispecialty – Jensen, 2620 E. Crosstimbers St. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Everyone needs regular checkups – even teddy bears.

UTHealthCares and UT Physicians will team up for the second annual UTHealthCares Community Health Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at UT Physicians Multispecialty – Jensen, 2620 E. Crosstimbers St.

The event will include health screenings for adults and children, including dental screenings as well as checks on blood pressure and glucose levels. Those screenings will be extended to fuzzy friends as part of a teddy bear clinic aimed at educating children about their health.

The bears will serve as a teaching model for UTHealth students to show children what to expect when going to the doctor. Dental models will also be used to demonstrate how children should brush their teeth.

“The bears will get a mock vaccine and have their blood pressure checked. Our hope is that children will lose their ‘white coat syndrome’ of doctors,” said Brittany Jewell, executive co-director of UTHealthCares, a student-led interprofessional service organization. “Students from all six schools will be working to recreate the clinical experience from wearing white coats to using real instruments. We hope kids will ask questions.”

After the examination, the child will be able to keep the bear.

The event will also provide health information about nutrition and mental health, and attendees who fill out a survey about the event will be given nutritious food to take home.

The surveys will be used to improve the health fair, and to identify issues in the community, the health fair, and UTHealthCares’ volunteer efforts should consider for future service projects.

“We are a grassroots effort to engage with the community,” Jewell said. “We are fortunate to be involved with the pastors and the schools. We want to be engaged in the community in a way that is effective and meaningful. We value the guidance from the community and use it to accomplish our goals of meeting the community’s needs.”

UTHealthCares is a student-led volunteer organization composed of students from UTHealth’s six schools that is aimed at addressing the health concerns of Houston’s underserved populations through community engagement. Past service projects include helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and cleaning up area cemeteries.

For more information, email UTHealthCares@gmail.com

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