FAMU Day at the Capitol focuses on community health awareness

The Florida A&M University schools of pharmacy, nursing and allied health students provided the community with health services Wednesday during FAMU Day at the Capitol.

The awareness activities were just one feature of the annual event usually designated to lobby legislators for University funding.

Participants received blood pressure tests, glucose tests and health evaluations from graduate nurse practitioner students.

Tonita Hall, who participated in the health services, said she got involved in the events because her mother stressed the importance of FAMU pride and health.

“I came out to please my mom, but the day actually came out to be very productive,” said Hall, a FAMU alumna from Tallahassee.

Hall said she was also motivated to take part because the students were knowledgeable in their intended fields of study.

“The students were able to tell me percentages and ranges on the tests I took,” Hall said. “They also told me about things I could do to take better care of myself.”

In addition to the participants being pleased with the service, the students who issued the health services were satisfied with the outcome.

Candace Cotton, 23, said with all the politics going on she was surprised to see all the people come to find out about their health.

“A lot of people were present and I was very proud. It was way more than I expected,” said Cotton, a senior cardiopulmonary science student from Dallas. “It feels good to know that people want to know about their health.”

Cotton said it was her first time at the Capitol and she was proud to serve the community.

Dorris Ballard-Ferguson, assistant dean of graduate nursing, said the community needed to be aware of its health and be proud of it.

“It’s about informing the public,” Ballard-Ferguson said. “We try to educate and stimulate by talking about the serious risk of abandoning your health.”

One professor appreciated the event for its other qualities beside raising health awareness.

Otis Kirksey, continuing education director of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said he took pride in the rich history of outreach that FAMU has achieved throughout the community.

“With part of the mission of the college of pharmacy being neighborhood health services, this event has brought great joy to me and the students involved,” he said. “Our college prides its self for its community outreach. We’ve been known for it for years.”

Through serving the community, Kirksey said his students have gained plenty of experience.

“Our students are very knowledgeable about their fields of study,” Kirksey said. “They have acquired a lot of field experience and are confident in running health stations alone. All of the students that participate in FAMU Day at the Capitol are P4s; they graduate in April.”

Kirksey said he has been involved in FAMU Day at the Capitol for 10 years.