Medical school students from the College of Medicine at the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center are hosting the Health Circus on Saturday, March 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Hearne. Health Circus offers free health services to local residents, including child immunizations, healthy child and dental screenings and blood pressure and glucose checks, and education on topics such as nutrition, hygiene, alcohol and drug abuse and pre-natal care.
Student organizers make the event fun for families by also offering face painting, balloon animals, popcorn, games, a moonwalk and door prizes. In addition to the normal festivities, students have 100 children’s bicycle helmets to give away at the Hearne event as part of the Hard Hats for Little Heads program. The giveaway is funded by Health Circus and the Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF). The TMAF is providing half the number of helmets, a donation made possible through a grant from Prudential Financial and contributions from Texas physicians and their families.
“We are excited to be teaming up with Hard Hats for Little Heads so that each child who comes to the Health Circus in Hearne will be a little safer with their new, free bike helmets,” Health Circus co-director Sarah Labuda said. “The TMA Foundation has done a lot to help keep Health Circus running through their funding of our events, so we’re happy to participate in another project they help with. With the Foundation’s generosity, we’ll not only help maintain the health of kids that come to the Health Circus, but we’ll be able to keep them safer as well.”
Health Circus had a successful visit to Hearne last year, with more than 80 attendees. Twelve children received 49 immunization shots and 39 children were given healthy child screenings. More than 40 families and 45 children attended presentations by Early Childhood Intervention and Stand Tall Against Tobacco (STAT), respectively. Health Circus organizers rely on their fellow College of Medicine students and volunteers from the School of Rural Public Health and Blinn College dental hygiene students to make the events successful. Local physician Dr. Robert Pope is the advisor for Health Circus, signing off on all exams, supervising the students and answering questions for the immunizations. Medical students who were previously physician assistants or nurses, as well as Texas Department of Health or school nurses, are also present to help with immunizations.
Founded in the spring of 2002 by College of Medicine students, Health Circus events have reached hundreds of families across the Brazos Valley over the last three years. Designed to educate local citizens about the importance of child immunizations, regular health and dental checkups, good nutrition and medical insurance, Health Circus has hosted events in Buffalo, Caldwell, College Station, Hearne, Madisonville and Navasota. The next Health Circus will be held in Navasota in April.

— Marketing & Communications