West Coast University-Miami public health students were recently invited to assist the community and homeless veteran population of Miami-Dade County at a local event during October.
Called “Stand Down,” the event was organized by Camillus House and James Bernat, the city of Miami's homeless coordinator and a Miami police officer. Approximately 458 homeless men and women received services in Miami’s Lummus Park, including meals, shelter, clothing, flu vaccinations, hair cuts, medical assistance, plus housing and Veteran's Affairs assistance.
WCU students took blood pressure readings and discussed skin cancer prevention and oral hygiene care with attendees. WCU professors Monica Hendricks and Angela Arocha accompanied the students at the event.
"Students interacted well and were very resourceful by providing important information and teachings to the participants," Arocha said.
Event participants were very grateful to the students and the service they provided, especially one man who stopped by the WCU booth twice because of the way the WCU students were interacting with their patients.
“He said he was impressed that the students were truly interested in helping care for them,” Arocha said.
The WCU students saw more 120 participants during “Stand Down.” Afterwards, event organizers stopped by and thanked students and professors for supporting the homeless veterans and attendees.
“Overall, the participation in this event was a success and the nursing students did a great job,” Arocha said. “I would like to give special thanks to (WCU-Miami Dean of Nursing) Dr. Claudette Spalding and Professor Raquel Pastrana for their guidance, as well as (Student Success Coordinator) Adiela Naranjo for her assistance in preparation for this event.”