Nov 142013
 

Sometimes, the simple stuff works best.

This is true when it comes to the valuable practice of churches, nonprofits and community groups hosting health screenings. The advice? Keep it simple. Stick to the straightforward medical tests that change behaviors, and avoid more complicated screenings that lead to additional invasive procedures.

It’s common practice for churches and other community groups to host health screenings. These events help raise awareness for common health issues and often provide basic screenings at little to no cost. This type of community action is built around the promotion of good health habits. But, as recent news stories have covered, some advanced screenings should be left to doctors.

In some cases, tests are offered by for-profit companies and come with an advertising pitch for additional services. Doctors warn patients and community groups to always consider the source with these sorts of tests. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians maintains a list of tests to avoid. One potential problem is test  results showing things that – though abnormal – are completely benign. When an incorrect diagnosis is delivered, patients are then subjected to more invasive tests that can be more harmful. It takes the eye of a trained physician to tell the difference.

Dr. Jason Foltz, clinic director of family medicine at ECU, says people at community events should seek tests that focus on improved outcomes – tests such as blood pressure, Body Mass Index, glucose and cholesterol screenings. Proponents of these community screening events say that while doctors can preach to patients about the need to exercise or quit smoking, it sometimes takes the reality check of a positive test result to motivate a person to make a change.

These tests can also serve as guideposts for patients working on managing an existing condition. Just last week, the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU hosted the 12th annual Winning with Diabetes conference. At this event, guests received blood pressure, vascular and kidney screenings.

In most cases, tests such as these are only the first steps in establishing a plan for better health, Foltz says. If anything alarming comes up during one of these simple screenings, you should visit your doctor so he or she can get you started on a program to correct the issue.

Follow ECU Health Sciences on Twitter to learn about future health screenings.

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Nov 202012
 

Newly elected political leaders, take note: Ask and listen, and you will find untapped ways to serve.

That’s what ECU’s Lessie Bass believed seven years ago – and it’s what led the university and its partners to receive the respected C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award last week.

Bass, an associate professor of social work, began listening to residents of west Greenville back in 2005. She pondered how to help the struggling community meet social, economic and health needs. So, she asked them.

Knocking on doors and research from the ECU Center for Health Disparities led Bass and a friend, Deborah Moody, to identify a gap in service. Together they began a true partnership between west Greenville residents, the City of Greenville, Pitt Community College and ECU. Their common goal: to bring family- and neighborhood-strengthening programs to the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center.

Today, residents of west Greenville are using the center to build a better community with help from dedicated volunteers. Many of them are ECU faculty and students.

From a community garden to diabetes management and health screenings to after-school tutoring, the community center is a hub of activity and learning for kids, adults and seniors.

ECU health sciences students and faculty support a number of initiatives at the community center. One of the newest, IGCC Fit, provides health screenings for youth, adults and seniors each Tuesday. College of Nursing student volunteers have helped with initial health screenings to collect information on people with risk factors and monitor them throughout the year.

The Brody School of Medicine is involved in a study of African-American women with Type 2 diabetes, and the center is an enrollment and screening site for the study.

We are proud of our students and staff for their dedication to the community. This work falls directly in line with our mission to serve, particularly those who lack adequate access to care. We’ve long believed service benefits our state and enriches student experience. This recent national award is confirmation we’ve been moving in the right direction for some time.

The true inter-departmental collaboration between social work, business, health sciences and others shows: when we work together, we win.

Although Bass passed away in 2009, we’re confident she would be proud.

Read more about the award at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/mktg/community_engagement_award.cfm.