Vietnamese Cancer Awareness, Research & Education Society (VN CARES) is delighted and honored to announce that the 7th Annual Sacramento Pacific Outreach Health Fair held on November 16, 2014 at the Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Sacramento was an overwhelming success. It was an incredible turnout where roughly 300 members of the local community and underserved population came out to partake in free health focused activities. Because of the collaborative and superb efforts from the sponsors, vendors, preceptors and volunteers, VN CARES was able to provide a total of 634 health screenings and services including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C), bone mineral density, memory decline, anemia, body mass index, immunizations and smoking cessation counseling. Consistently trying to improve the fair each year, VN CARES added a new screening to the list—Hepatitis B. The service was kindly provided by the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (AANCART) housed within the University of California, Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Striving to give back to the community, VN CARES was able to touch the lives of various ethnicities including Vietnamese, Chinese, Caucasian, Hispanic and African American. Furthermore, due to the diverse team of pharmacy and undergraduate student volunteers from the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, California Northstate University, Sacramento State University and University of California, Davis, the health fair provided translators to better assist patients of different ethnic backgrounds.
When asked to provide overall feedback on the health fair, many patients were emotional as they expressed their sincere gratitude. One patient, communicating through a translator said, “I am so grateful that [VN CARES] hosted this health fair and invited Vietnamese doctors and pharmacists to provide consultations and answer health-related questions for patients with limited English proficiency like me.” Another patient proclaimed, “I have not visited the doctor’s office for a long time because I don’t have health insurance and can’t afford it. That is why I came to this health fair today. I am so impressed and thankful for everyone’s efforts in setting up this health fair and offering our community so many health screenings and services. I will definitely come again next year.”
Many volunteers voiced positive responses as well. Quynh Nhu Nguyen ’16, a second-time VN CARES Sacramento Pacific Outreach Health Fair volunteer expressed, “I thought VN CARES did a better job with the screening line this time around and it was a great turn out.” In an interview with KCRA Sacramento News station, Dr. Tuan Tran, event organizer and sponsor, stated, “This [health fair] is a unique opportunity where we can work toward a new mentality of preventative health services.” Naomi Le ’17, first year VN CARES co-chair, commented, “This is my first health fair with VN CARES and it’s been rewarding to work with such compassionate students who share my hopes to improve health care access to the local community.”
Continuing their community involvement next semester, VN CARES will host a speaker event on January 8, 2015 to promote cervical cancer awareness. They will also hold the Pacific Family Health Fair in March 2015 in Stockton, Calif. It marks their second health fair of the academic school year and is expected to be one of the largest health fairs organized by student pharmacists. As the year comes to a close, VN CARES is excited to ring in the New Year with new events that will carry on the committee’s objective to make a positive impact on the health of the community.
By Hao Nguyen '17