Carolina Nursing students lead community health fair in partnership with El Centro Hispano

Carolina Nursing students with El Centro Hispano staff

The Health Fair Experience is an integral part of the N484 Public Health Nursing in the Community Setting course developed by Assistant Professor Kandyce Brennan, DNP, CNM, and Cara Winstead, RN, MPH, COHN-S. Through this service-learning course, students gain hands-on experience in applying evidence-based public health concepts by organizing and implementing a student-led community-based health fair in partnership with El Centro Hispano, a local community organization.

Throughout the semester, students actively engage with course concepts, such as social determinants of health, health equity, community health planning and health promotion, within the context of their community. This approach aligns with El Centro Hispano’s mission to strengthen and advance the Hispanic/Latino/Latinx community, fostering inclusivity and advocating for equity within North Carolina.

The Health Fair Experience aims to address health disparities and promote primary and secondary prevention within the community by providing access to screenings, education and resources. In addition, it seeks to establish lasting partnerships with individuals, families, community partners, and organizations. Recognizing its impact, the Health Fair Experience has been awarded an APPLES Service-Learning Designation and Grant.

Students who have participated in the Health Fair Experience have shared their positive and transformative perspectives:

“I think the health fair at The Consulate of Mexico was a great success! The skills that we learned and practiced for this day came together in such a cool way to help the patients that we were seeing. I am thankful for this experience and believe we did a lot of good at this health fair.” – Emma Brown

“The health fair experience was so positive and uplifting. I did not think that public health nursing was something that I would be interested in, but my health fair experience changed my mind. I was so happy with how much of a difference we made, and how efficient our process was.” – Zoe Montjoy

“This health fair experience with the Consulate of Mexico was incredible. I think this was a perfect way to show us how to be community health workers.” – Paige Diana

“This experience finally made me feel like I was truly helping people in the public health setting. I believe this is at the core of public health. Doing the best you can, with the resources you have, trying to help the most people, with as few barriers to care as possible. While I may not be prepared to be a full-time public health nurse, I believe this experience sparked a passion in me for this kind of work, and a desire to volunteer with this population in the future.” – Justin McDuffie

Through this experience, Carolina Nursing students are able to make a meaningful difference while gaining first-hand experience that prepares them to provide excellent care to the patients and communities they will serve.