The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health will offer an array of events in both Bryan-College Station and McAllen during National Public Health Week (NPHW).

In the Brazos Valley, NPHW begins with a free community health festival at Neal Recreation Center in Bryan on Saturday, March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Community health workers (promotores) will provide private health risk assessments for colon cancer.

The festival is part of a recent grant awarded to the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health and TAMHSC-College of Medicine by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) – the largest-ever CPRIT prevention grant bestowed to a single entity. The goal of the grant is to screen and educate low-income patients at risk for colon cancer in the Brazos Valley while training family medicine residents in colorectal cancer screening procedures.

Among the free clinical services at the health festival will be diabetes checks, vision and hearing screenings, mental health services, clinical breast exams, HIV testing, blood pressure checks and more. Music and entertainment will be provided, along with monitored children’s activities.

Sunday, April 1, the annual Pet-Friendly 5K Run/3K Walk will be at the school (corner of University Drive and Adriance Road), with registration at 7:30 a.m. and race at 8:30 a.m.

The 9th Annual Golf Tournament to raise funds for student travel and scholarships will be Tuesday, April 3 at Miramont Country Club in Bryan. The awards reception and silent auction at 5 p.m. conclude the day.

Throughout NPHW, research posters by faculty and students participating in the seventh annual research poster symposium will be on display in the Classroom Building at the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health. The top three student winners will be announced by Jean Brender, Ph.D., associate dean of research, on Wednesday, April 4 and receive tuition assistance awards. Winners also will be nominated to compete in the Delta Omega Sponsored 15th Annual Student Poster Session through the American Public Health Caucus during the 140th APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition, Oct. 27-31 in San Francisco.

Thursday, Holocaust survivor and public health champion Vered Kater, M.S.N., RN, CNS, will be the featured speaker from noon-1 p.m. at a Brown Bag Lunch Series at the school sponsored by the Office of Special Programs and again that evening during the Dean’s Lecture Series at the George Bush Museum Orientation Theater from 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. This event open to the public will be hosted by Craig Blakely, Ph.D., dean of the TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health. Kater will speak on “Public Health Solutions: Realities for Developing Nation,” where she will discuss creative and culturally-sensitive public health interventions she has used throughout her many travels to Third World countries. Kater is on faculty at the Hadassah Hebrew University School of Nursing in Jerusalem, Israel.

The school will host the annual public health week blood drive Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the McAllen Campus of TAMHSC-School of Rural Public Health will host a pediatric health seminar Monday, April 2 from noon-2 p.m. featuring two speakers: Myung Park, M.D., pediatric cardiologist at Driscoll Children’s Heart Center, speaking on “Pediatric Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome,” and Jennifer Garza, CEO of Edinburg Children’s Hospital, addressing “Access to Pediatric Hospital Care in the Rio Grande Valley.”

The following day from noon-1 p.m., Scott Lillibridge, M.D., will discuss “Preparedness and Disaster Response Issues” with clips from the movie Contagion.

Wednesday, April 4, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., student research projects will be presented, as well as a presentation by Ciro Sumaya, M.D., M.P.H.T.M, on “Are you the Future Rio Grande Valley Public Health Workforce?” Food will be provided at all events in McAllen, and the public is invited.

The week concludes Thursday, April 5 with a blood drive from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the campus.

Watch this video for highlights from this year’s Public Health Week activities and the proclamation ceremony.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell