Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 18, 2016

MU Students Bring 'Hope' to Wabash

Jensen Lassiter

Manchester University students are helping to provide hope at 85 Hope, a free clinic based in Wabash at the Wabash Friends Church located on State Road 13. Currently, the clinic serves residents in Wabash County that don't have health insurance. Eligible families are invited to fill out forms to attain cards in order to receive the medical help they may need.
Typically one night a week, the clinic hosts healthcare providers from the surrounding ar-ea who volunteer their services.

Beginning in the spring of 2016, recent MU graduate Salwa Nubani worked with biology professor Dr. Kristin Short on a collaboration between MU students and 85 Hope. "Salwa had a dream that the Manchester students who were planning to go into healthcare could give back to the community by helping at a free clinic,” said senior Cally Miller in an email. " After a lot of trips to 85 Hope in the spring of 2016, we discovered that their greatest need would be for a student intern to help them in clerical needs, [and] a community wide education program talking about their key issue for the year, diabetes."

After Nubani graduated, Yafet Leake stepped into the role as the intern at 85 Hope to assist the clinic with their needs. While Leake became the intern, Miller became the student coordinator who oversees the Diabetes Education Initiative. "Dr. Short and I have worked extensively with 85 Hope, the Purdue Extension, Parkview Health and students to teach five community sessions on diabetes,” she said.  “We have also collaborated with students and professors from Manchester University School of Pharmacy. They have helped us a great deal in each session, especially with foot checks and a detailed session on all of the diabetes medications. Some of the topics we are teaching include how diabetes works, medication monitoring, foot care, nutrition, exercise and goal setting."

One of the main goals for the Diabetes Education Initiative is to promote awareness. “We try to help people with diabetes and their families and friends to feel more knowledgeable about their health,” Miller said. “We want the people who come to our class to feel encouraged, supported, and to learn something as well. We want them to learn facts and info, but to also feel like some-one really cares.

”I decided to get involved because I have a passion for helping people feel empowered, and also for helping the underserved,” Miller continued. “I believe that educating people about their health gives them a new platform to be an advocate for themselves, and I think that is exciting.”  

While the collaboration gives students unique opportunities to practice what they've been taught, students also gain valuable experience. "I have realized the importance of community education, and it has given me perspective on what level of detail will be needed if I teach health to patients as a physician in the future,” Miller said.” It is a whole different ball game to teach about a health condition in a general setting versus in a scientific, academic setting. I hope that the people who come learn more about diabetes, and, if they are in need of medical care, that they become aware of the services that 85 Hope provides." 

One of the most challenging parts of volunteering for the clinic as an educator is the motivational factor. "Helping come up with creative ideas to help students find a platform to teach old material that a lot of diabetics already know in a new and creative way, so the material will really sink in." Miller said.