Throughout its more than 50-year history, the mission of the College of Public Health and Health Professions has always focused on improving health through research, education and service. Below are some examples of the college’s community outreach activities.
HealthStreet is a community-based effort that works every day to reduce disparities in healthcare and research by linking the medically underserved to medical and social services and opportunities to participate in research. Community health workers meet residents at health fairs, special events, bus stops, parks, laundromats, grocery stores, libraries, and other locations in North Central Florida. Community members can also visit HealthStreet to access free services, including health screenings, use of computers, classes, and many more. The aim is to improve relationships between community members, health care providers, community organizations, and researchers in the University of Florida community.
Alzonline.net, a one-of-a-kind service, provides caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other memory problems with helpful information on caring for their loved ones.
A Better Tomorrow for Haiti
The College of Public Health and Health Professions is involved in several activities to improve the health and quality of life for residents of Haiti, including the establishment of four school-based health centers and a school nutrition program.
Students and faculty from the department of occupational therapy annually offer CarFit, a free national program for older drivers. Seniors are led through a 12-point checklist with their personal vehicles and receive recommendations for adjustments and adaptations to enhance their safety.
Community Health REACH
Community Health REACH in the department of physical therapy participates in community health fairs and screenings and is dedicated to spreading public awareness of the roles and benefits of physical therapy.
UF Craniofacial Camp
Faculty and students in the departments of speech, language, and hearing sciences and clinical and health psychology, staff an annual four-day camp for children with craniofacial differences and their families. The camp is designed to help children develop coping skills and improve self esteem and self confidence. The camp provides an opportunity for families to spend time with the specialists and other families with similar problems in an informal setting where they can ask questions, express concerns and develop friendships.
Since 2009, UF Doctor of Physical Therapy students have planned and implemented programs with local community members and the Girls Place, Inc. to provide awareness and education to Alachua County residents regarding the importance of physical activity and the risks associated with an inactive lifestyle.
Each year, international service projects are conducted during spring break by groups of students and faculty. Annual projects include:
- Master of Public Health students and faculty visit rural areas in El Salvador to address health and environmental issues, help community members with a cooperative garden, assist the Ministry of Health with public health interventions, and meet with local, regional, and national health policy makers.
- Doctor of Audiology students and faculty in the department of communicative disorders visitMerida,Yucatan,Mexicoto administer audiologic testing to hundreds of people, primarily children.
- Members of the department of physical therapy travel to the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua inManaguato assist local faculty in the development of curricula and training programs in rehabilitation.
Living with Hearing Loss Classes
Audiologists in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences offers “Living with Hearing Loss” a series of four free classes to help people cope with hearing loss. The department also regularly offers free hearing screenings at health fairs.
Occupational Therapy Equal Access Clinic
At the student-run Occupational Therapy Equal Access Clinic in Gainesville, patients who are uninsured or underinsured can receive occupational therapy services. The clinic is open to the public from 6-9 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at UF Health Family Medicine – Main. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are preferred. Call 352-672-6555 for more information.
Physical Therapy Equal Access Clinic
The UF Physical Therapy Equal Access Clinic offers free physical therapy services to people unable to afford treatment elsewhere. Walk-in patients are accepted every Thursday from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. (excluding university holidays) at the Gainesville Community Ministry, 238 S.W. 4th Avenue. No referral is needed. The clinic provides physical therapy evaluation and treatment, follow-up treatment visits, blood pressure and strength/flexibility screenings, referrals to specialists, and emergency medical referrals.
Tobacco cessation and prevention
The college participates in the UF Area Health Education Centers Program’s Tobacco Training and Cessation-Initial Training, which seeks to ensure that all public health and health professions students receive tobacco cessation and prevention training, providing them with the skills necessary to work with patients and the community in tobacco cessation. Trained university students also go into the community to engage middle school youth in tobacco prevention education and activities.