Health Circus Recognized by Texas Department of Health
Students of the College of Medicine at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center were recognized Tuesday, April 15, 2003, by the Texas Department of Health (TDH) for their Health Circus program.
The week of April 14 was National Infant Immunization Week. In honor of the week, the TDH recognized some of the more creative and unique programs carrying out the mission of increased childhood immunizations. Jacque Haggerty, assistant program manager in the Immunization Division of the TDH Public Health Region 7, presented the award to second-year medical student Rebecca Wiatrek, representing the Health Circus Directors. Haggerty recognized Health Circus as the “most non-traditional, more unique program” of all programs providing immunization services.
Nationally, Texas was in last place with regard to childhood immunizations, but is making headway, now ranking 43rd among all states.
Health Circus is a program created and run by students of the College of Medicine. Health Circus is designed to educate people of Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, and Robertson counties about the importance of immunizations, the importance of regular health and dental care, better dietary habits and financial options when trying to provide care for one’s family. Health Circus also strives to increase the percentage of children who are immunized in small rural counties, provide more efficient vaccine care by registering children in the IMMtrac program, increase TexCare signups and serve as a role model for the children of these counties.
Student volunteers have taken this ambitious program to Caldwell in February, Bryan – College Station in March and Navasota in April, with excellent results.
For the Caldwell event, Health Circus volunteers were able to provide 29 immunizations, 40 dental screenings and 40 healthy child screenings. In Bryan – College Station, there were 12 immunizations, 80 dental screenings and 19 healthy child exams. The latest event in Navasota produced 71 immunizations, 66 dental screenings and 48 healthy child exams.
Support from physicians in each community has helped to ensure the success of Health Circus. Health Circus is provided by the A&M System Health Science Center College of Medicine and Blinn College Allied Health Programs and is sponsored by the Texas Medical Association Foundation, Grimes St. Joseph Health Center, United Way Brazos Valley, Texas Department of Health, Head Start Program, Texas Medical Association, The College Station Medical Center and the A&M System Health Science Center.
The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center serves the state as a distributed, statewide health science center which has a presence in communities throughout Texas. The health science center includes five components which are dedicated to meeting the highest standards in health education, outreach and research: the College of Medicine, Baylor College of Dentistry, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.