Pharmacy Students Offer Health Screenings to the Homeless

A group of Ohio medical students are putting their skills to good use for those less fortunate.

A group of Ohio medical students are putting their skills to good use for those less fortunate.

Pharmacy, psychology, physician assistant, and medical students from Wright State University, Cedarville University, Kettering College, and the University of Dayton are offering health screenings to the homeless as part of the Students Teaching Educational Plans for Success (STEPS) program, according to Dayton Daily News.

STEPS was created by Wright State University in 2012 at the St. Vincent de Paul Gateway shelter for men, but the program grew to include students from more schools and also to attend to a women’s shelter, according to Dayton Daily News.

“Our focus is on empowering people toward positive improvements,” Jordan Nicholls, a third-year professional pharmacy student at Cedarville University, told the Dayton Daily News. “We meet with them and ask how we can help address certain barriers for them.”

While the students do not diagnose medical conditions or prescribe treatments to the homeless population, they do offer blood sugar testing, body mass index checks, and blood pressure screenings on their visits to the shelters. The students also try to promote healthier lifestyles and connect patients with medical services if needed.

After speaking to the subjects, the students help them nail down 3 health goals to focus on in the future, and these goals are tracked on future visits, according to Wright University’s website on STEPS.

One medical student involved in the STEPS program told the Dayton Daily News that the individuals seem livelier than when they first came in to discuss their health care.

“The STEPS program focuses on wellness,” David Bohardt, St. Vincent de Paul’s executive director, told the Dayton Daily News. “Even the smallest success, like persuading a guest to take his blood pressure medication, or to improve his diet, can prove to be big steps on the road to self-reliance.”