On a recent early October morning, two students from Cizik School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston) helped hand out food and nutrition education materials to families in an underserved neighborhood in the Westchase district of Houston.
Marc Christian Pamisa and Hope Stephens, both undergraduates at Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston, participated in a drive-thru food distribution event with volunteers and employees of West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM). Educational materials were provided by the Houston Food Bank.
“What we put in our bodies has a huge impact on our health and preventing chronic illnesses,” said Pamisa, a nursing student in the Pacesetter BSN program at Cizik School of Nursing. “One major thing I have learned is that many health care workers are more concerned with acute care or treating symptoms, but not preventing these symptoms. It’s great that the school makes these opportunities available to us as we complete the degree plan.”
Students are eligible to sign up for these and other opportunities through their clinical rotation courses.
The partnering organization, WHAM, is an agency of the Houston Food Bank serving the Greater Houston area. Verita Duncan, the pantry manager at WHAM, contacted the nursing school since WHAM serves clients with diverse nutritional needs.
“Within the food distribution program at our facility, we host Food for Change and Food Rx. Both programs address the needs of our clients who want education on healthy eating, or need specific food items due to chronic illnesses like hypertension, obesity, and diabetes,” Duncan said.
Margarita “Maggie” Avila, works as a health promotion specialist at the Houston Food Bank. She appreciates the work of the group of students volunteering this semester.
“They serve as great representatives for their school and the community,” Avila said. “We are so thankful that they share their time to help people gain access to information about health and nutrition.”