PUC Students Promote Health Awareness Among Peers

By Lainey S. Cronk on December 18, 2007

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Midday is always a high-traffic time in the PUC cafeteria. But for three hours on Friday, March 7, there was an increased hubbub as PUC students, faculty, and PUC Prep students circulated through the building, visiting the 38 booths of the “Celebrate Health” fair.

For nearly 10 years, the PUC Nursing Department has provided annual health fairs for high schools in the Napa Valley. This year, the nursing department set out on a new venture and, working with the PUC health services office, organized and implemented a health fair on their own campus.

Distribution of health-care information was the basic goal of the fair. “We wanted to show the resources for health care that we have within the structure of the campus itself, as well as those we can access by networking with other services,” said Sandy Sargent, director of health services.

More specifically, the BSN program and health services hoped to emphasize the importance of choices. “Our goal,” said nursing professor Carol Williams, “was to better serve the health care needs of the PUC student body while highlighting healthy choices, emphasizing that the decisions they make every day while they are young will have a major impact on future health and wellness.”

BSN students constructed booths on subjects they had researched, and were available during the fair to answer questions and provide information for curious visitors. At the “Sleep Deprivation” booth, Nelida Wolk explained about sleeping habits and brain activity. Sonja Gutierrez, at the “Coronary Artery Disease and Diabetes” booth, used a model of the heart to explain her subject matter. Other booths included “Mary Kay Cosmetics,” “Abusive Relationships,” “Eating Disorders,” and “Stress.” There was a self-defense demonstration, assorted health tests, and plenty of handouts, prizes, and samples.
Williams and Sargent looked at feedback to determine whether this should be a recurring event. The response was overwhelmingly positive. “With such positive support from administration and health services,” said Williams, “there is a good possibility that the event will be repeated and possibly become an annual event.”

Student surveys also indicated a very nearly unanimous approval, enjoyment, and benefit. According to Sonja Gutierrez, the location contributed to the fair’s success. “It’s a great location, because everybody’s coming to eat,” she explained. Jenny Walker is a student who attended the health fair. She didn’t have much time to spend there, but what she saw impressed her. “I thought it was really, really great,” she says simply.

With positive feedback flowing in from all quarters, it looks like an annual future for the health fair is on the horizon. Thanks to some dedicated faculty, staff and students, PUC may very well be starting a new tradition.