Following in the footsteps of the annual Costa Layman Health Fair, Augusta University students have again connected with the community to provide a health fair for employees of Horizon Motor Coach in Harlem.
The March 2 event not only provided bus and truck drivers an opportunity to receive health screenings, but also gave College of Nursing and Dental College of Georgia students a chance to become more familiar with Department of Transportation yearly physicals.
Pam Cromer, DNP, director of the Augusta University Costa Layman Outreach Programs, said this is an important tool for students to continue their education in practical settings.
“We have not done DOT physicals before, so this gives us another avenue to train our students to be able to work wherever they go for work, because this is a big need. The drivers on the road affect every one of us that are driving. We have to have healthy drivers to make sure we avoid accidents and keep them safe. That’s pretty much the focus of what we’re trying to instill in our students,” said Cromer.
The health fair came after Al Harris, president and CEO at Horizon Motor Coach and co-chair for the Augusta University Foundation, attended one of the Costa Layman health fairs. Harris saw firsthand how important these events are for the community and wanted to become involved. Debbie Layman, co-chair of the foundation with Harris, suggested he could do something similar with his drivers.
“I told Debbie we don’t have enough drivers, but then I began to realize if I only get three or four in here, then I’ll be blessed because I can help them become healthy drivers,” said Harris.
About 50 drivers from Horizon Motor Coach and the community attended the event and went through health screens that included vital sign checks, nutritional counseling, lung cancer screening, lab and dental services, and cholesterol and diabetes checks.
Occupational and physical therapists from the College of Allied Health Sciences were also on hand to offer advice on exercises drivers could use.
The Georgia Cancer Center and American Heart Association were in attendance to provide information, such as basic CPR training.
“The drivers are coming through and helping the students to learn. Most of the drivers have already gotten their DOTs, so we’re doing mock DOTs. It’s a wonderful opportunity for our nurse practitioner students to be able to do these so they’ll be ready once they graduate,” added Cromer.
Kayla Peterson is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing student and knows the importance of the health fairs to everyone involved.
“It’s giving us exposure to what it would be like doing assessments and evaluating these drivers because they do have some risks as truck drivers. Most of them have a sedentary lifestyle so just being able to assess and provide information is key,” said Peterson.
With drivers being behind the wheel for hours on end, they become more at risk for certain diseases.
“Especially with exercise, that’s important for them. They can decrease the cardiovascular risks since they definitely have a high risk for that with the sedentary lifestyle. Just getting them actively moving and having good blood flow and eating properly with nutrition is important,” added Peterson.
Wyman Pope Sr. has been with Horizon Motor Coach for seven years and is grateful to have a clinic like this.
“It is very important to us because one of the things we have to ensure is that we are healthy when we get behind the wheel. The last thing we want to do is to take on a trip and have 50-60 people sitting behind you, and you are feeling bad already,” said Pope.
“We know if they learn to do better and learn what’s best for them, they may do better,” Harris added. “This is an opportunity for them to take advantage of what we’ve been telling them all along.”