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Quillen AMSA chapter celebrating Primary Care Week

AMSA students

JOHNSON CITY (Oct. 11, 2013) – The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) chapter at East Tennessee State University’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine will offer free health screenings at the Johnson City Farmer’s Market next week as part of an initiative aimed at curbing public obesity and promoting better nutrition.

The Farmer’s Market visit on Wednesday, Oct. 16, is one in a series of events the Quillen AMSA chapter has scheduled in relation to AMSA’s nationwide observance of Primary Care Week from Oct. 14-18. This year’s theme is “Obesity and Nutrition,” so the ETSU medical students will staff a booth at the market from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Visitors will be offered free testing to determine their measures of blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol, and students will distribute educational literature on the potential problems associated with obesity and the role that good nutrition can play in healthier living.

“We wanted our main event for Primary Care Week to be community-focused because our chapter takes its community involvement seriously, and we thought the Farmer’s Market would be an ideal place,” said Rebekah Rollston, a second-year medical student from Johnson City who is the chapter’s coordinator of Primary Care Week events. “People who visit our booth will not only be getting health information and some free screenings, but will also be at a place where there’s access to healthier foods, to food that’s local.”

Primary Care Week at ETSU will also include events designed to better educate medical students about nutrition. Dr. Michelle Lee, an assistant professor and director of the dietetic internship program in the ETSU Department of Allied Health Sciences, will kick off the week by speaking with Primary Care Week participants on body mass index, commonly known as BMI; ideal body weight; caloric intake and calorie counting; and the benefits of exercise.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, AMSA will sponsor the College of Medicine’s first “Field Day.” From 4-6 p.m., Quillen faculty, staff and students will compete in a “decathlon” of yard games outside of Stanton-Gerber Hall. Proceeds from the event will go to a local charitable organization chosen by AMSA members.

A keynote dinner will be held Thursday, Oct. 17, highlighted by Dr. Reid Blackwelder speaking on “Socioeconomic Factors of Patient Centered Primary Care,” with a focus on obesity. Blackwelder, director of the Medical Student Education Division for the ETSU Department of Family Medicine, is the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Continuing medical education credit is available for this event.

The Quillen AMSA chapter has made a rapid ascension since it was reinstated in 2011 after a period of inactivity. Since that time, it has received the Paul R. Wright Chapter Success award in consecutive years. AMSA bestows the award on chapters that show commitment to building strength in numbers by increasing awareness and chapter involvement through inventive recruitment endeavors.