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Free flu shots draw crowd at WSU Spokane’s health fair

Shanshan Sun, a second-year pharmacy student at WSU, gives a flu shot to Kailen Earlscourt, 21, a student in the medical assistant program at Spokane Community College, during the health fair Thursday at WSU Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Shanshan Sun, a second-year pharmacy student at WSU, gives a flu shot to Kailen Earlscourt, 21, a student in the medical assistant program at Spokane Community College, during the health fair Thursday at WSU Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Free food is a given for drawing a crowd; apparently free flu shots are, too.

Hundreds of college students and people from across Spokane attended a health fair Thursday at Washington State University Spokane. Lines for one of the 200 free flu shots stretched halfway through a health science building; dozens more signed up to have their blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, bone density or aerobic heart rate checked.

This is great “especially for college students who basically live on their loans,” said Amanda Wright, 23, a WSU student who waited for almost 30 minutes to receive a flu shot.

The health fair also is a good opportunity for the community to come onto the Spokane campus and “be exposed to the different areas of health sciences care here.”

The College of Pharmacy students donated their time and money for the health fair, including paying for the flu shots or working to have them donated, said Jen Bilbrey, a student who helped organize the fair. The students also invited vendors in for the event, such as fitness, health care, mental health counseling and senior care providers – 47 in all.

The hum of voices rose steadily as people flowed into the building for the four-hour event organized by the nutrition and exercise physiology senior class.

WSU student Caitlyn Cordrey worked behind a privacy screen with a 25-year-old woman who wants to keep an eye on her cholesterol. Cordrey pricked the woman’s finger to collect a small blood sample before putting it into a machine to check for good and bad cholesterol levels. “It’s great to have clients come in and to talk with them,” she said. “It helps with what to say in real-life situations.”

Same goes for the pharmacy students administering flu shots, Wright said. “They get exposure to things they’ll use in their careers.”

To gain additional hands-on experience and deliver some community service, 60 students are signed up to go to different Spokane elementary schools to offer health checks to staff and faculty throughout the month.

“The students who are going out to the elementary schools represent all of the health sciences schools, and it’s important that they learn to work together,” said Terren Roloff, WSU Spokane spokeswoman.



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