TouroCOM-Harlem Springs Into Health

Despite the snow, community members flocked to TouroCOM-Harlem’s biannual health fair.

March 25, 2015

It was the first day of spring, and it was snowing. But that didn’t stop Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM)-Harlem students from standing outside in the chilly streets of West 125th Street, holding signs that urged visitors to attend their spring health fair.

Over 65 local visitors attended the spring health fair, which was sponsored by the TouroCOM Community Affairs Department, the Touro College of Pharmacy, Sigma Sigma Phi (SSP), and the American Medical Association (AMA).

At the biannual fair, which is completely free, students and our college partners administered blood pressure, diabetes, BMI, and HIV screenings; provided “brown-bag medication” consultations, and offered one-on-one health discussions. Spanish-speaking students offered consultations in the visitors’ native language, which “made them feel comfortable to trust us,” said Daniel Barbash, vice president of SSP. 

There were also opportunities for visitors to sign up for the bone marrow registry (sponsored by the Link to Life Network) and learn more about HIV (sponsored by the Harlem Dowling and Renaissance Health Center). Student clubs also distributed educational pamphlets about nutrition, chronic illnesses, and healthier lifestyles. Representatives from South Harlem Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) also had a booth, educating visitors on emergency disaster preparedness.

“The spring health fair is a prime example of different ways TouroCOM is pushing for interdisciplinary collaboration in terms of patient care. The pharmacy school, student clubs, community resources—all these elements have joined the forces of the medical school today to help us serve the underserved,” said Dr. John Palmer, director of Community Affairs and Diversity, who supervised the event with Dr. Tipsuda Bahri, chair of the Basic Biomedical Services department.

“It was so rewarding and nice to see the same community members from the fall health fair come back today,” said Kimberly Chen, incoming vice president of the Medical Student Section of the AMA. “It’s good to know that they’re taking care of their health on a regular basis.”

“One community member was so surprised and happy to hear he could register for the bone marrow registry, even with his tattoo!” related Daniel Barbash. 

For Dr. Robert Goldberg, dean of TouroCOM, “the look on these students’ faces, as they hear how grateful the community members are, is so meaningful to see. One student recounted to me how a visitor told him she couldn’t ‘believe you do this for us, for free, twice a year.’”