MOULTRIE, Ga. — Stroke and heart attack prevention, breast cancer awareness, healthy lifestyle choices and blood pressure screenings are just a few of the ways PCOM South Georgia students are educating the community through “We Are Moultrie: Healthier Together.”
The student-led initiative provides an opportunity for students to serve the community, focusing on preventative care through outreach events, education and health screenings.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, Colquitt County has a higher rate of cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and respiratory disease in comparison to the state of Georgia. With that in mind, Jeanine Garcia (DO ‘24) created the initiative with a mission to promote health within the local community through education and health screenings in the form of a month-long community health initiative.
Garcia said, “As students, we hope to connect to the community of Moultrie and remind them that we’re not only here to serve them through medicine, but that we’re also a part of this growing community. That’s why I think the initiative has the perfect name ‘We Are Moultrie: Healthier Together.’ By hosting informative booths at local events, students become more familiar with Moultrie residents, expanding on PCOM South Georgia’s mission to serve the local underserved community.”
She added, “It’s extremely important now, more than ever, for medical students to support community wellness and have outreach events. We’re living in a time where medical misinformation spreads like wildfire, so it’s important for health professionals and students to debunk false information and educate our community. We want to foster trust within the community and have them meet our young doctors-in-training to build that rapport with them early on.”
Many of PCOM South Georgia’s student-led clubs have participated in community events to foster involvement, education and awareness. These clubs include Student National Medical Association (SNMA), Research Club, American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), Emergency Medicine Club and American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians (ACOP).
Each club sets up a booth and focuses on health and wellness-related topics during the event. Most recently the clubs have participated in the 5k Artfest Marathon and the Calico Art Show where student-volunteers donated their time to execute efforts including blood pressure screenings, breast cancer awareness and education, Spanish translation, heart attack, stroke and diabetes awareness, and physical and mental health handouts for kids.
“This initiative was student-led because we have a passion for serving the community,” said Jasmine Render (DO ‘24), a member of the planning committee. “Many of us began the journey of becoming a physician because we wanted to help people, and that is what we set out to do with our health initiative. Our path to becoming a DO is more than just receiving letters at the end of our names. It is about the people we meet and help along the way. As medical students, we should not be isolated from the community in which we live, play and will eventually serve.”