Health Fair informs students
Santa Monica College's annual Health Fair provided students with information on what to do and where to go to protect their health. This year's Health Fair, which was sponsored by the Associated Students and the SMC Health Services, took place last Tuesday on SMC's main campus and hosted several representatives from health care resources and providers.
Many of the representatives focused on the promotion of sexual health and students' access to services.
One of the organizations present at the event was the Westside Family Health Center, which informed students about its free or low-cost health care that is also available at the SMC Health Services Center.
“Often students don't know that we are connected to the health office on campus," said Kimberly Nojima, a community outreach worker at Westside Family Health Center. "They don't even know about the free sexual health services that we offer.”
The Sexually Transmitted Disease Program of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health displayed pictures of STDs and handed out “love gloves.”
“People get grossed out by the pictures of the diseases but enthusiastically pick up free condoms,” said Philip Phan, a DPH health education assistant.
According to Phan, it is important to promote “smart sex” at colleges since the infection rates of STDs are the highest among people between ages 15 to 19.
Mental health organizations like Recovery International educated students about the risks of mental problems in students' daily lives.
“College students are under a lot of pressure and stress," said Rand Walburgea, a Recovery International representative. "Irritations and stress are picked up quickly and can become a habit, which can result in disturbing thoughts and temper."
Among others, the American Red Cross, the STD clinic of the DPH, and the Champions for Change from the California Department of Public Health were present at the event.
At most booths, students were offered brochures, promotional products and the chance to ask questions of representatives.
“I haven't talked to any of them yet, but I think the brochures are awesome,” said SMC student Chandler Lefrancis. “It's good that they have all the information not available at other educational settings like high schools.”
Students like Shehnaz Virji appreciated the easy access to all the information.
“It's very helpful, especially for students who don't know how to take care of themselves," she said. "It is a good opportunity to learn rather than looking on the Internet where you don't know where to start."