Cristo Rey Annual Health Fair
Loyola University of Chicago adheres to the Jesuit philosophy of social justice and concern for the human spirit. As part of this mission, faculty and students are supported in community engagement. The School of Nursing has a long history of partnering with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School located in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. Loyola nursing faculty member Diana Hackbarth, RN PhD, secured funding from the Visiting Nurses Association Foundation to initiate the first School-based Health Center (SBHC) in a Catholic School in Chicago in the early 1990's. This original SBHC was staffed by Loyola Nurse Practitioners, faculty, and students. The SBHC and its emphasis on wellness became a part of regular Cristo Rey programming which combines rigorous college preparatory coursework with work-study at major corporations and community engagement. This framework now serves as a model for other new Jesuit preparatory schools across the nation.
The Loyola School of Nursing-Cristo Rey relationship has continued for over 15 years in the form of an annual October health fair. The health fair is targeted at both adults and children residing in the predominantly Mexican neighborhood surrounding the high school. The fair provides valuable services for over 250 people annually in this underserved and uninsured community. While engaging the community in health screening and health promotion activities, Loyola students work side by side with Cristo Rey students and role model careers in nursing and health care. Partnerships have been established with the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago to secure influenza vaccine. Many other community health and social service organizations participate in this event. The health fair initiative includes a second site in the Pilsen neighborhood, St. Procopius parish.
Over the years, the Loyola volunteer community has evolved to include an interdisciplinary focus with participation of more than 60 nursing, dietetic and medical students and faculty. This collaborative experience in planning and delivering services in the community is especially important for nursing, medical, and dietetic students because they will form the primary health care workforce of the future. Positive experiences during nursing, medical and graduate school and effective role modeling of faculty is likely to enhance students confidence in working with underserved and immigrant populations and make it more likely that they will aspire to work in a community of need in the future.
St. Procopius Health Fair
Each fall, prior to flu season, the School of Nursing organizes a health fair for the community of St. Procopius Jesuit School in the Pilsen area of Chicago. This valuable service learning initiative demonstrates commitment to the Jesuit values of social justice and community service. St Procopius students, their parents and grandparents attend with the goal of obtaining immunizations, health screenings and culturally appropriate information on maintaining good health. The health fair attracts more than 100 participants annually.
Flu vaccine, nursing and clerical support are provided by the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago. The Mobile Dentist In-School Dental Prevention Program performs free dental exams & cleanings and Healthquest Homecare offers information regarding in home services.
Because the most recent fair was held on Halloween, topics included issues regarding safety and dental hygiene, as well as flu prevention. A group of forty nursing students and alumni volunteered and provided vaccinations, blood pressure screenings, teaching and translation.