SAN ANTONIO (April 21, 2011) — A small band of nursing students who helped 1,500 underinsured South Texans learn their cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels — and risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke — received the Student Government Association 2011 Community Service Award at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
The award to the International Nursing Student Association in the School of Nursing was announced April 21 during Student Awards Night at the Health Science Center. Starting last fall, the students conducted the screenings at multiple sites through community service learning grants from the university’s Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics.
Effective local collaboration
“The awards committee selected the International Nursing Student Association for its project ‘Diabetes and cardiovascular health risk assessment screening of underserved communities in South Texas’ because this student group demonstrated its ability to collaborate with numerous local organizations to provide screenings for the San Antonio community,” said Paulina Mazurek, student life program coordinator. “The International Nursing Student Association identified diabetes as a prevalent problem in San Antonio and took the initiative to organize efforts to address the issue and educate the community.”
The group volunteered more than 1,000 hours to assess individuals’ disease risk at the Texas Folklife Festival, the 2010 Diabetes Expo, the Univision Latina Health Conference, a Filipino fair, the American Kidney Fund’s Steps that Count event and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank in Natalia.
Helping the vulnerable
“I don’t think we do outreach to communities to get an award, but it is important to recognize what these students have done to reach vulnerable individuals — some who have no health insurance and this is their only means of finding out their health status,” said the group’s faculty adviser, Maria Danet Lapiz-Bluhm, Ph.D., assistant professor of family and community health systems in the School of Nursing.
“This really opened my eyes to the state of the local community,” said Emiko Dudley, who is studying for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. “So many people came out for this; in one place it was 250 people in four hours, lined up. It showed me how desperately these services are needed.”
In addition to the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics and the School of Nursing Office of Admissions and Student Services, which provided financial assistance to some of the activities, the group thanks these in-kind donors:
- School of Nursing Skills Laboratory (LouAnn Click) and Department of Health Restoration and Management Systems (Paul Summers) for the loan of needed instruments
- Texas Diabetes Institute for education materials
- H-E-B for supplies
- Drs. Maria and Anton Jirka for supplies
- UT Health Science Center libraries for monetary donation
- Dr. J. Michael Bluhm of Footprints Podiatric Medicine and Surgery for donation of needed health screening supplies and loan of extra instruments
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.