Over 30 medical students and faculty volunteer at Farm Workers Festival

NEWTON GROVE, North Carolina – The Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine Community and Global Health Club looks forward to organizing medical student volunteers for the Farmworker’s Festival held in Newton Grove every fall.

The festival is hosted by the Episcopal Farm Worker’s Ministry and CommWell Health, and Campbell is proud to bring a team of students and faculty to provide healthcare annually.  This year, 110 patients received osteopathic manipulative treatment and basic health screenings.

“Many of the patients I saw had shoulder problems and nerve impingements from working with equipment and tools in the fields,” said second year medical student Sarah Davis.

“We saw young teenage boys who were dealing with aches and pains from such a physically demanding job at such a young age,” said second year medical student, Tausha Allen.  “Volunteering at the Farmworkers Festival really reinforced to me that OMM is an excellent benefit for people with musculoskeletal complaints.  As a medical student, I cannot prescribe medications, but offering OMM is something I can do effectively at this stage of my education.”

“This was my first time performing OMM at a volunteer opportunity,” continued Student Doctor Allen.  “I was also able to treat a woman who was dealing with some symptoms and had been told she needed surgery.  However, OMM was effective in relieving some of her symptoms, and it showed me that proper OMM treatments could not only help her find relief, but perhaps help her avoid a risky, invasive medical procedure.”

Medical students from all four years volunteered and worked together to provide osteopathic manipulative treatment as well as assisting CommWell Health staff with blood draws and basic health screenings.

“CUSOM students from all stages in their medical education – years 1 to 4 – volunteered at the festival,” said Hannah Anderson, second year medical student.  “I enjoyed getting to teach first-year students about OMM techniques they had not yet learned, as well as learning about advanced techniques from third years.”

“A few weeks ago, we learned how to draw blood on practice mannequins,” continued Anderson.  “While working at the Episcopal Farm Worker’s Festival, I was able to use the techniques I had learned in a lab with the supervision of the CommWell staff! The training I received at CUSOM prepared me so well for this task – the day was a success!”

“I absolutely LOVE working with the Campbell students,” said Tammy Dunn, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer CommWell Health Northwest.  “We so enjoy the partnership with CUSOM at this event and the community loves it.  I have to say that the students are just fantastic to work with – several of them rotated through our booth doing phlebotomy, blood pressures, blood sugar checks, etc.   I think they were able to see firsthand the diverse cultures that we serve and the challenges of those patients.  Also, the students being able to draw labs, do blood sugar checks and blood pressures just reinforces the training that they receive in school and then they are able to apply that to an actual person.”

Campbell medical students who volunteer for this event are not only proud to offer medical care, but also are grateful for the opportunity to serve the farmworkers.

“I wanted to help the underserved community,” said second year medical student, Paul Nguyen.  “The migrant farm workers who have little or no access to healthcare – I witnessed how many there were and was shocked to see how many of them came to us for treatment.  Dr. Smutny always says you know the patient feels better when they smile. That happened today, while treating a real patient with a real complaint – not a simulated patient.  It was a wonderful experience that allowed me to learn so much about the farm workers.”

“Farmworker immigrants are extremely hard working,” said Sarah Davis.  “I wanted to be a part of making this day enjoyable for them.   While our goal there was to provide some basic medical care, our real reason for being there was to demonstrate through our actions and words how much we cared for them.”

“I need to learn Spanish to better serve my community!” laughed Tausha Allen.  “This was a great opportunity not only to help an under-served population, but also to bond with classmates and get to know students from other classes.  I know that by serving the wonderful people at the Farmworker’s Festival, we are doing what our Savior Jesus would do.”

The medical school’s next opportunity to serve rural and underserved communities in North Carolina and around the world is during fall break; a team of more than 20 Campbell medical students, faculty and staff are participating in a medical mission trip to Ecuador.