Primary Care Week Under Way

UConn’s observance of National Primary Care Week continues through Oct. 21, with events including a weekend retreat, lunch-and-learn sessions, a speech by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and community health fairs staffed by medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy students.

UConn dental students talk with a participant of a Community Health Fair during Primary Care Week. (Nancy Wong)
Greg Biron (left) and Khadija Khan, both first-year students in the UConn School of Dental Medicine, speak with a patient at a National Primary Care Week community health fair at East Hartford Community HealthCare, Inc., Oct. 19. (Nancy Wong)

“You’re the people who have the special call,” Malloy told students at a Primary Care Week banquet at the Farmington Club Monday night. “I think those of you who go into teaching and go into medicine have something that many other people don’t have. It’s this incredible dedication to the welfare and education of this and future generations. To be able to care for someone, to make their burden less heavy, to improve their health, to give advice that allows them to be successful, to care for their children in time of need, is, and you must acknowledge every day in your lives that you’re involved in this, a special call.”

The theme of National Primary Care Week 2011 is “Innovations in Primary Care.” Details on the scheduled talks are available at http://publichealth.uconn.edu/npcw.php.

UConn nursing student monitors a patient's blood pressure at a Community Health Fair during Primary Care Week. (Photo provided by Shannon McClure)
Taylor Wilson, a junior in the UConn School of Nursing, monitors a patient’s blood pressure at a community health fair at the Hispanic Senior Center in Hartford. (Photo provided by Shannon McClure)

“These educational efforts provide needed exposure to future health care providers about the importance of primary care and about the altruism and caring that is part and parcel of the practice of medicine,” says Dr. Bruce E. Gould, associate dean for primary care at the UConn School of Medicine and director of the Connecticut Area Heath Education Center.

Gould recently was interviewed about National Primary Care Week for a feature on the Primary Care Progress website.

The health fairs will take place in the greater Hartford, Willimantic and Hamden areas from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19. Students will provide free blood pressure and blood glucose screenings as well as preventive health education materials for oral health, nutrition, medication interaction, heart health and diabetes prevention at the following locations.

Hartford Area

  • Asylum Hill Family Medical Center, 99 Woodland St., Hartford
  • Community Health Services, 500 Albany Ave., Hartford
  • Hispanic Senior Center, 45 Wadsworth St., Hartford
  • North End Senior Center, 80 Coventry St., Hartford
  • Parkville Senior Center, 11 New Park Ave., Hartford
  • South End Senior Wellness Center, 830 Maple Ave., Hartford
  • East Hartford Community HealthCare, Inc., 94 Connecticut Blvd., East Hartford
  • Community Health Center, Inc. of New Britain, 85 Lafayette St., New Britain

Hamden Area

  • YMCA-Hamden, 1605 Sherman Ave., Hamden
  • YMCA-Wallingford, 81 South Elm St., Wallingford
  • Community Health Center, Inc. of Meriden, 134 State St., Meriden

Willimantic Area

  • Mansfield Senior & Wellness Center, 303 Maple Road, Storrs
UConn medical students meet with patients at a community health fair during Primary Care Week. (Photo provided by Shannon McClure)
From right: UConn medical student Daniel Carrero, UConn dental student Sean Ghassem-Zadeh, and UConn medical student Taylor Aglio meet with patients at the Hispanic Senior Center in Hartford. (Photo provided by Shannon McClure)

Physician assistant students from Quinnipiac University and community clinicians are joining the UConn students at the health fairs.

Primary Care Week is an observance in celebration of the contributions of primary care to community health. It aims to introduce health professions students to the importance of community-responsive primary care, encourage their collaboration as members of future primary health care teams, and to work to reduce problems in healthcare access experienced by underserved populations in the United States.

Institutions throughout the country observe National Primary Care Week, with the dates varying by school. The national effort is a collaboration of the Area Health Education Centers, the American Medical Student Association, and the Health Resources and Services Administration in Washington.


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