University of Wisconsin-Stout

Nov. 14, 2011

A group of UW-Stout students gained experience and area residents know more about their health thanks to a free, six-week clinic that wrapped up last weekend.

More than 30 students in Maleka “Polly” Hashmi’s Advanced Physiology class helped residents by screening for diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other health issues. The clinic was open two hours a day, five days a week at Stepping Stones of Dunn County, a nonprofit Menomonie-based provider of food, shelter and support for the needy.

Most of the students are aiming for careers in medicine or a health-related field, so the experience was as valuable for them as it was for their patients, Hashmi said. “It was the perfect opportunity for students to experience a little of what lies ahead of them. They learned to interact with patients, work in a team environment and learn diplomacy skills.”

Students checked blood pressures, heart rates and glucose levels; tested patients’ lungs and body mass index; and informed patients about breast self-exams and nutrition. The clinic was open to the public but generally served residents who can’t afford preventative health screenings or may not have health insurance.

"These small tests are so easy to do, and some people just don't get them done,” said Lacey Holzer, a dietetics major from Hammond.

The clinic was funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service through the Wisconsin Campus Compact. Hashmi hopes to work with the UW-Stout Pre-Health Society to eventually continue the clinic.