Med students test skills in local community

By Jennifer Lassiter
Star Staff

Local citizens were checked for high blood pressure, vision and abnormal blood glucose levels by medical school students at Elizabethton's City School Board building on Saturday.
   These doctors of tomorrow got a chance to practice and develop their clinical and practical skills, while also giving back to the community, said Dr. Steve Ellis, assistant dean of Student Affairs at East Tennessee State University (ETSU).
   Health Interfaith Services of Northeast Tennessee (HISNT) along with the Information Center, a community-based organization from Elizabethton, teamed up to host the event and provide the free health information and screenings for citizens. They also worked closely with Ellis to get the students involved.
   Don Watson, 46, an Elizabethton native and also a borderline diabetic, came to the screening and learned that his blood sugar was right on target.
   "I've been doing good with my diet," said Watson.
   Britt Maxwell who recently finished his third-year rotation as a medical student was set-up at a station to test blood sugar levels. With a quick prick of the finger, test results were available. Maxwell and others set up at stations and filled out index cards for citizens to take home with them or to their physicians.
   David Gallegos, a recent graduate of ETSU, said, "Many citizens are encumbered by the economics of health care." The free screening offers a way for those people who do not have a primary care provider to test themselves.
   Dr. Marian Whitson, president of HISNT, works closely with Connie Baker, director of the Information Center to plan events that promote a health community for minorities and the elderly.
   HISNT, a non-profit organization, is centered around educating people through workshops on starting small businesses and current health problems. Thanks to the contribution of volunteers and the community, HISNT is able to host events like the health seminar for the elderly and minority individuals in the community.