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Nursing students coordinate free health fair

The Big Health Event aims to equip the community with basic health care knowledge and resources
Group photo from The Big Health Event

If you are familiar with Texas A&M University, odds are you’ve heard of The Big Event, the university’s annual, student-led service project. However, you probably haven’t heard of the health-related spinoff, The Big Health Event, but only because it is still relatively new. The student organization hosted its second annual occurrence on Nov. 4 at Lincoln Recreation Center in College Station, Texas.

The free community health fair aims to make routine health screenings and resources more accessible to the community. Student volunteers from Texas A&M Health come together to offer the public blood pressure screenings, glucose checks, health education and more.

“It’s a multidisciplinary thing where all the schools work together to provide these community health services for the citizens of Bryan-College Station,” said The Big Health Event president and nursing student Brenda Beyer ‘24. “It’s to help people who maybe can’t afford to go to the doctor, or just don’t think about doing it as often.”

Multiple student organizations and nursing programs had booths at this year’s event, which allowed the fair to meet a wider range of community needs. Among these groups were Aggie Pediatric Nursing Association (APNA), Aggie Newborn and Obstetrics Nurses Association (ANONA), Nurse-Family Partnership® and HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters). Community nonprofits such as the Brazos Valley Food Bank and the Sexual Assault Resource Center were also in attendance.

While The Big Health Event was mainly created to serve the community, it may benefit nursing students just as much.

“The majority of us think of nursing as working in a hospital setting and caring for people who are acutely ill,” Beyer said. “But we don’t take a community health class until the last semester of nursing school, and I think students don’t realize how many people in the community could have some sort of chronic disease they don’t know about. Or they know about it, but they don’t have the money to go to the doctor and manage it. I think it just gives a lot more perspective on people who need help but can’t reach it.”

Beyer and the rest of The Big Health Event’s officer team are already looking at how they can improve the event for next year. Some ideas include adding new booths and offering flu vaccines. Regardless of what exciting changes may be on the horizon for next fall’s health fair, Beyer and her fellow volunteers are passionate about continuing this event and improving upon it to serve community members in the most thorough way possible.

“I love going to the event and seeing the people that come,” Beyer said. “As a nurse, I’m going to have to work with all those different disciplines in my profession, so getting an introduction into working with these people who care about the community so much has just been very rewarding.”

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