Student Doctors at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) administered more than 50 flu vaccines to attendees of the Treasure Valley Drive-Thru Health & Resource Fair on Saturday, Oct. 16 at Saltzer Health’s Ten Mile Campus in Meridian.
Organized by the Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Saltzer Health, ICOM and other community partners, the second annual drive-thru health fair offered participants the opportunity to receive a free flu vaccine from the comfort and safety of their own vehicle.
Aside from providing a service to the community, the health fair benefits participating medical students by giving them early clinical exposure. Rodney Bates, DO, is board-certified in internal medicine and serves as the Chair of Primary Care at ICOM. He says early clinical experience and the opportunity to interact with real patients are invaluable for aspiring physicians.
“Any time student doctors contribute to the community through services such as administering flu vaccinations is time spent collectively reassuring them that they have made the right decision to provide high-quality care to individuals and exercise their empathetic desire to help people in a substantial way,” said Dr. Rodney Bates, Internal Medicine Physician and Chair of Primary Care at ICOM. “These preclinical students then begin to fulfill their role of ICOM’s educational mission to be a community leader in truly caring for others even before they become fully licensed physicians.”
More than 40 medical students from ICOM volunteered at the second annual health fair. The future physicians helped in a variety of roles from screening patients and administering vaccines to helping the Idaho Foodbank distribute more than 250 food boxes to community members in need.
Student Doctor Joshua Shieh, a second-year medical student at ICOM and President of the College’s Student Osteopathic Internal Medicine Association (SOIMA), says community service and engagement are a priority for him and his peers. Members of College’s Pediatric Interest Group (PIG) also volunteered at the fair, administering vaccines to children ages 12 and older.
“Working to improve public health through community engagement is something that SOIMA members are passionate about and hope to continue throughout their careers in medicine,” said Student Doctor Shieh. “We hope this engagement allowed the community to not only find the health resources they needed, but to also learn more about our school, as well.”