West Virginia University’s Health Sciences & Technology Academy is hosting two free community health fairs to raise awareness of the organization and to highlight students’ research projects.

The first event will take place on Saturday, March 23, at Braxton County High School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local businesses will provide free health screenings, such as glucose tests, diabetes counseling and blood pressure checks. Students from the Braxton and Webster County clubs will also offer a free smoothie-sampling table, memory game and other activities.

Selected HSTA students will have their research projects on display throughout the event, highlighting their progress prior to the HSTA symposiums in April. Guest speakers include Delegate Brent Boggs, Legislator Doug Facemire and HSTA alum Eric Campbell, who is now working as a pharmacist at Braxton County Hospital.

The second health fair is set to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at John Marshall High School in Glen Dale, W.Va. Businesses from the Marshall and Ohio County areas will provide free posture screenings, tobacco education information, varicose vein detection and other free health services. Students chosen from the John Marshall, Wheeling Park and Cameron High School clubs will also have their research projects displayed. HSTA alum Jarrett Isler will speak at the event.

Giveaways for both events include iPad minis and VISA cash cards.

“These events are a wonderful opportunity for HSTA to showcase to the community what we do,” said Cathy Morton-McSwain, HSTA education coordinator. “These events are a way to begin practicing what we preach. We want to improve the quality of health in our community.”

To implement the events, HSTA has partnered with seven public relations seniors in the P.I. Reed School of Journalism. These capstone students are learning about their future profession through the experience of planning an event-based PR campaign.

“This campaign is a great opportunity for us to gain real-world experience,” said Tara Calbat, account executive of the HSTA team. “The hands-on approach teaches us the ins and outs of everyday life in public relations, which cannot be learned in a traditional classroom setting. Most importantly, we still have the guidance of our professor, Dr. Rita Colistra, to help us grow into better PR professionals. This unique combination of education and experience will help us get a job and do well after we graduate.”

Founded in 1994, the Health Sciences & Technology Academy is a nonprofit organization that aims to increase the number of underrepresented West Virginia students that obtain a degree in a health, science or technology related field. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible for a tuition waiver at state colleges, universities and graduate schools.

For more information about HSTA and the events, visit www.facebook.com/WVHSTA. Follow the new HSTA Twitter account www.twitter.com/WVHSTA for other updates and information.



CONTACT: Hilari Barton, HSTA project PR director
304-921-0782, hbarton3@mix.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.