Anchorage MEDEX Class 4 lends a helping hand to several local charities and events
This winter, MEDEX Anchorage Class 4 set aside their books to serve both the intellectually disabled and the homeless in the local Anchorage community. According to the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice center, there are 2,962 homeless in Anchorage, a city of 295,570. With an average high temperature of 20 degrees in the winter in mind, the class collected coats and warm clothing for the Brother Francis homeless shelter, and women’s and kids’ clothing for AWAIC; the Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis shelter.
In addition to collecting clothing, the entire class also served at a health fair for the homeless at Bean’s Café, a local soup kitchen. At Bean’s they filled the day checking blood pressure, drawing labs, doing vision and glaucoma screening, and educating the population on community health issues. “It was great to be out in the community as a representative of the MEDEX program,” says student Arron O’Callaghan. The experience was so profound for some of the students that they continued their volunteer service on later days, serving meals while sharing their knowledge.
The Anchorage MEDEX class also fostered a partnership with the Special Olympics in Anchorage over the winter. The PA students coached, cheered and encouraged the athletes during multiple sporting events including bowling, skiing and floor hockey. Through this contact time, the students also formed personal relationships that will help them better understand this diverse population, increasing their empathy and efficacy as practitioners. Later this June, the MEDEX Class 4 students will provide various screening services to athletes of all ages during the statewide “Healthy Athlete” program.
Though the winters in Anchorage can be dark and cold, the MEDEX Class 4 kept warm providing support, knowledge and bright smiles to the Anchorage undeserved. We look forward to the increased opportunities and abilities to serve even more once our degree is complete.
Article collaboration by Cherise Hug, Class 4 Historian, and Meagan Meekin, Community Outreach Coordinator.