Foundation awards grant for county health fair

September 5, 2013
Board members of the Coastal Bend Community Foundation, including (left) Jean Claire Turcotte of Kleberg County, hands (right) Leslie Currie, director of institutional advancement for the Texas A&M Health Science Center Rangel College of Pharmacy, a check for the $5,000 grant to support a Kleberg County Health Fair.

Jean Claire Turcotte, left, of Kleberg County, hands Leslie Currie, director of institutional advancement for the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy, a check for the $5,000 grant to support a Kleberg County Health Fair.

The Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy was one of 119 Coastal Bend nonprofit programs to receive part of more than $700,000 from the Coastal Bend Community Foundation.

“The $5,000 contribution will allow us to obtain cholesterol and blood glucose testing equipment to be used at a Kleberg County Health Fair,” said Indra K. Reddy, Ph.D., professor and founding dean of the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy. “This project will educate our community and provide a hands-on learning opportunity for our professional student pharmacists.”

The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy is planning a health fair for residents of Kleberg County to help with personal health metrics and offer guidance, counseling and strategies to help them live healthier and happier lives. The city of Kingsville is the largest municipality in Kleberg County and has a reported uninsured population of nearly 24 percent, with more than 27 percent of the community living below the poverty line.  The Kleberg County Health Fair will provide an opportunity for testing services to low income adults with limited to no health insurance. 

“This generous support is greatly appreciated and will allow us to carry out our mission to provide compassionate care, superior science and exceptional health education to all,” Reddy said.

Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy students have a commitment to the community and are required to complete direct patient care and service learning requisites of increasing number and responsibility as they move through their professional degree. 

In the 2012 academic year, professional student pharmacists touched more than 17,000 lives in South Texas through health fairs and other service learning events. A countywide health fair will allow student pharmacists to reach a large, in need, population in a single day of service. 

Interventions at the planned health fair include blood pressure, blood glucose, A1C, BMI, and cholesterol screenings with summary of results and documented follow-up plans if outside normal limits; smoking cessation education and counseling sessions; mini-education seminars via poster tri-folds and patient-friendly health information brochures; hands-on activities to teach children about medication safety and nutrition and exercise.  Funds will be used for cholesterol screenings, blood pressure monitoring, health literature, motivational materials for smoking cessation and cookbooks.  Additional, plans may include interventions using Framingham Risk Assessment for cholesterol goals and appropriateness of medication therapy.

The Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy opened its doors to students in 2006 to meet a critical need in the South Texas community where there is a shortage of pharmacists. Today, 103 out of 309 of the college’s graduates have returned to South Texas to help underserved populations. The college’s leadership strives to entrench a culture of excellence, education, research, practice and patient care to each professional student enrolled. It is ranked in the Top 50 for pharmacy programs in the country within a record time, as per the recent US News and World Report rankings.

The Coastal Bend Community Foundation was incorporated in 1981 with the mission of enhancing and improving the quality of life in the seven counties of the Coastal Bend. The Foundation serves donors by providing a vehicle for the establishment of various types of charitable funds designed to fulfill their wishes. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $72 million from donor contributions and revenues to scholarships to students and grants to nonprofit organizations.

— Cheri Shipman

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