UIW Participates in Local Fair Addressing Health Disparities

July 15, 2022

UIWSOM learners participating in the health fairFaculty and learners from the UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) and the Cardinal Nursing and Wellness program participated in the Access Denied Health Fair on May 28.

The event was organized by Laura Garcia, a San Antonio Express-News reporter, as part of a fellowship she received from USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism. Her area of focus revolves around social health disparities. According to Dr. Emma Santa Maria, associate dean of the UIW School of Professional Studies and former UIWSOM assistant professor, the topic is one that many at UIW “hold very close to our hearts on a professional and personal level.”

UIWSOM had nine members participate in the health fair where they shared information about the Amigos en Medicina (AEM) clinic. AEM is a comprehensive initiative that seeks to develop and improve trust between a patient and their healthcare team while providing low to no-cost medical care. Representatives of UIWSOM said that the goal of their presence at the fair was to provide valuable information to the community while recruiting participants for the AEM clinic.

“Participants were very interactive with the AEM and Cardinal Nursing tables,” said Santa Maria. “We introduced ourselves to all other organizations attending the event that day and set up several potential initiatives we will roll out this year through AEM.”

The health fair also allowed UIWSOM to network with other likeminded organizations, such as Texas Vista Medical Center, San Antonio Vascular and Endovascular Clinic, University Health System, Community First, CentroMed and Methodist Healthcare Ministries for possible collaborations. Through these partnerships, the School of Osteopathic Medicine hopes to minimize or eliminate social health disparities throughout the city.

In addition to providing information about AEM, UIW found even more ways to support the health fair. The University provided water and coffee for attendees, and Dr. Lyssa Ochoa, a preceptor for UIWSOM, and Dr. Jason Miller, program director for the UIWSOM Psychiatric Residency Program, served as members of a panel. The panel facilitated conversations with community members who shared their needs, concerns and frustrations with the current state of their healthcare.

“UIW strives to serve the community,” added Santa Maria. “This detailed feedback provided me and Dr. Fajardo a clear vision of how we need to target social health disparities throughout the City of San Antonio through Amigos En Medicina. Our goal is to answer the need expressed during this health fair by using the information obtained to apply for federal and local funding, which would allow us to serve the community and answer ‘the call’ to help.”