Curious eyes and big smiles filled the Kansas City campus with energy as 300 children from Scuola Vita Nuova (SVN) Charter School arrived to kick off the Score 1 for Health (Score 1) program for the 2019-2020 school year. The annual event gives KCU medical students hands-on clinical experience while providing free health screenings to kids who may not have access to health care.
But this year’s visit held a bit more excitement.
As the health screenings got underway, KCU kicked off its first Day of Giving—a 24-hour fundraising campaign—on both Kansas City and Joplin campuses.
“Score 1 for Health has had a profound impact on the Kansas City community, working with school-age children for over 25 years,” said Dr. Ed O’Connor, KCU provost and executive vice president for academic, research and student affairs. “We are now expanding that into our Joplin campus. The more funds we raise, the more children we help in both communities.”
Score 1 screens nearly 14,000 children in Kansas City and Joplin, and provides parents with a baseline report for their child following the screening. The program also enables nurses and staff to help children and families access health care through Medicaid and local health clinics if needed. KCU set a goal of raising $15,000 to help 200 additional children during the current school year. Thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of faculty, staff, students and alumni, and a donation from the Deron Cherry Charitable Foundation, KCU surpassed the goal, raising more than $22,000.
“Donors see the enthusiasm on campus and the number of students participating in the day. The number of donors who gave through social media as well as on campus was gratifying,” said Dr. Jane Lampo, vice president for institutional advancement. “We are grateful for their support and generosity.”
During Score 1 screenings, KCU medical students have discovered dental issues, vision problems, high blood pressure and even heart murmurs that have required life-saving surgery.
“You can really see our students come alive here,” said Dr. Jozia McGowan, a faculty supervisor. “They can read about medical findings in a textbook, and we can talk about it in lecture, but Score 1 screenings show them there is a real patient and pathology that helps them learn.”
The day also included STEM activities for the children of SVN in hopes of inspiring a future generation of physicians and scientists. Kids examined the anatomy of a dog through the interactive anatomage table, deconstructed a computer, and learned about healthy diet and exercise. However, it was clear the chance to meet a medical student and try out a stethoscope was a highlight for most of the small children. And the experience was a good way for young student doctors to work with small patients who may be scared, squirming or more than a little silly. “I think it’s a great way to practice our physical exam skills and we learn a lot from the kids,” noted Leah Ramaekers, a second-year medical student. “I’m really interested in community health and it’s great to get to know this community.”
KCU’s first Day of Giving was a win for all involved. It’s hoped that next year will be even better.