The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Drive-thru health fair REACHes essential Aggies for healthcare needs

Photo by Photo by John Corrales

Cars waiting in line for the REACH Health Fair.

Among essential on-campus employees, there’s a need for healthcare assistance and education. 
REACH, a student organization dedicated to Texas A&M’s essential workers, addressed health needs with a drive-thru health fair on Friday, Oct. 15.
Different versions of health fairs have happened in previous years, but the first time a drive-thru format was utilized was last spring, Reagan Isbell, the chief operations officer for Ags REACH, said.
“Last year we were able to serve about 180 essential Aggies and their families, and then we’ve just kind of been replicating it for this year,” Isbell said. “We’re keeping it a drive-thru just for [COVID-19] cautions and everything, [but] we have big plans for the health fair. Hopefully we’ll be in person next year, which means that we [will] have a lot more [of the] hands-on personalized health education that we like to do.” 
Some of the more in-depth and hands-on education REACH is able to do in person includes cancer screenings, body mass index testing and, potentially, first aid lessons, Isbell said.
Other programs, including A&M’s Center for Population Health and Aging, worked with REACH to run this fair, Wendy Creighton, a nurse and diabetes educator, said.
“We’re participating by letting Ags Reach know about our diabetes study, it’s a six-month study and participants can earn up to $200 in e-cards [which] all has to do with diabetes education,” Creighton said. “I’m also here … to help Ags get health screenings in the month of November.”
REACH has been marketing for the past few weeks to coordinate with the essential Aggies and Transportation Services to organize the drive-thru, Eliza Hailey, the health fair’s operation director, said.
“We’ve done everything that we can to make sure that we’ve got as many people here as possible,” Hailey said. “Today, it’s just all about getting as many cars through the lane as we can … [and] to make today as efficient and influential as possible for them.”
These types of events have helped REACH to understand the need for healthcare access and have fueled the organization’s push to expand its healthcare footprint, REACH founder and CEO Max Gerall said.
“We have a vision for creating a student-run health clinic that would be a free health clinic to [A&M’s] essential employees and their family members,”Gerall said. “We are already in conversation with the Health Science Center trying to figure out how we can make that happen, so that’s something that we feel is really important to be able to expand the services we provide.”
Events hosted by the REACH project have been appreciated by essential Aggies on campus, Christina Castilleja, an on-campus dorm custodian, said, with many workers hearing about REACH from Max and then continuing to attend future events.
“All of us [have] pretty much been involved in REACH for about a year now. before [COVID-19] had hit, we used to go to the food pantries,” Castilleja said. “It helps a lot of us out a lot, we’re thankful for this.”

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