American University of Antigua medical students provided a free health fair and free disease screening as a service to the Antiguan community on November 21, 2009.

The AUA chapter of the American Medical Students Association (AMSA) coordinates a health fair each semester in the heart of St. John’s to interact with the local community in a positive way, in addition to exposing students to the dynamics of patient care early in their medical education. This semester’s Health Fair took place on Market Street in downtown Antigua. Three hundred fifty volunteers saw over 400 patients and medically licensed AUA faculty were available for consultation. The spectrum of services offered included blood glucose testing, blood pressure reading, body mass index calculation, history taking, and measurement of visual acuity as well as HIV screening.

A local man who patiently stood in line for every available test said he rarely visits the doctor and is very grateful to AUA for providing so many services. He said, “I think it’s a great idea, and I am truly thankful. Now I know for sure that I am okay.”

Natalia Londono, an AUA student and member of AMSA, explained that giving back to the community enables medical students to put into practice what they learn in the classroom and read in textbooks. She also appreciated the unique connection with the community that this experience fostered.

AMSA is the oldest medical student organization with over 60,000 members dedicated to achieve one mission: “A commitment to improving healthcare and healthcare delivery to all people; promoting active improvement in medical education; involving its members in the social, moral, and ethical obligations of the profession of medicine; assisting in the improvement and understanding of world health problems; contributing to the welfare of medical students, pre-medical students, interns, residents and post-MD/DO trainees; and advancing the profession of medicine.”