Medical Students in Valley Reach Club Help Serve Punjabi Sikhs Community at Health Fair

November 27, 2023

Contributed by Isabella Levy, second-year medical student.

Medical students in the Valley Reach Club at California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine volunteered at the Jaswant Singh Khalra Park – Health Walk, Fair, and Fun event on November 11, 2023.

Organized by the Jakara Movement organization, the health fair was a free resource with entertainment, games, food, a 5k health walk, and a health zone for community members – primarily the Punjabi speaking community in Fresno.

The health zone consisted of blood pressure and blood sugar readings, dental and vision checks, and COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.

Medical students in the Valley Reach club, provided blood pressure and glucose readings for about 60 people, which were then interpreted by health providers. Carleen de Leon, MD, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Education at the CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, was also in attendance to help oversee the medical students.

The students also had the opportunity to better connect with the health providers at the event to learn more about their careers and paths to medicine.

Valley Reach has volunteered with the Jakara Organization for other events in the past, so the current club leadership saw this as an opportunity to continue to support the organization’s work. To prepare for the health fair, Valley Reach leaders helped procure supplies with some support from the university.

The Valley Reach volunteers also created informational sheets with ranges for normal, high, and low blood pressure readings as well as normal, high, and low blood glucose ranges, and consent forms, all of which were translated into Punjabi by Jakara.

In preparation for the health fair, Valley Reach leaders also recruited medical student volunteers, and hosted a training session to discuss event logistics and train volunteers in blood pressure and blood glucose readings.

“I’ve always loved being involved in the community. As a first year [medical student], I saw all the cool stuff and students involved in Valley Reach and honestly it was the only club I really wanted to get involved with on a leadership level,” said Isabella Levy, second-year medical student and 2023-2024 President of the Valley Reach Club at CHSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Levy continued, “Valley Reach provides opportunities for students to show appreciation for the community in beautiful and meaningful ways, while also practicing clinical skills. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Valley Reach has made a great impact on the community this semester. They have hosted two blood drives for the Central California Blood Center; organized students to volunteer every Saturday at Dr. Lasher’s Street Medicine Clinic, which provides free medical care, substance use counseling, as well as food, clothes, and needle exchange; and sent volunteers to the California Food Bank to hand out fresh food to families and individuals in need.

They are currently working to organize a Student Run Free Clinic to allow students even more opportunities to hone their clinical skills while benefiting the community at large.