Recently, Heart to Heart traveled to the edge of the Great Plains with the University of Kansas Medical Center to operate a health fair during the annual Emancipation Celebration in the historic town of Nicodemus, Kansas.
The whole town of Nicodemus is one of those quintessential American tales of hardship and hard work, westward expansion, newly-found freedom and finding a place to call one’s own and holding onto it.
Nicodemus was settled as a planned town in 1877, 12 years after the US Civil War during the Reconstruction era, by mostly former slaves from Kentucky and Tennessee. At its peak the town boasted around 800 townsfolk. Residents had petitioned for the Union Pacific Railroad to lay tracks trough the town, but the railroad dashed those hopes, bypassed the settlement and its long slow decline began. However, Nicodemus is a National Historic Site, and is the oldest and only remaining all Black Town west of the Mississippi. A couple of dozen people still reside there.
Every year since it’s founding, the town holds an Emancipation Celebration during the last weekend of July to commemorate the end to slavery, the freedmen and women who founded the town and the town’s heritage. This is a “coming home” celebration, as many descendents from across the nation come home to visit with friends and relatives while commemorating the rich history of Nicodemus.
It’s a purely small town Americana affair with a parade and talent show, even a pancake breakfast made from wheat grown in nearby fields.
But the celebration isn’t just about history, but the future too. A healthy future. And that’s what brought Heart to Heart International out here to work in partnership with KU-MED.
During last years Celebration’s health fair, 19 medical students and 4 HHI volunteers worked out of our Mobile Medical Unit to conduct laboratory tests, health screenings and physicals for 50 people.
Every year Heart to Heart is honored to have been a part of both the past and the present of this rich historic community and to have broadened access to healthcare out on the wide open Plains.
Heart to Heart International has teamed up with Welch Allyn to encourage medical students to give back to their communities. With the Ripple Effect contest, two more medical students can now make their own ripple effect with a humanitarian service trip to Haiti.
Matthew Schilling is presented with a ‘boarding pass’ by David Allyn of Welch Allyn, and Steve Hower of HHI, after being named a winner of the Ripple Effect contest. Photo by erietvnews.com
Matthew Schilling, a first-year medical student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, was announced as one of two winners of the 2014 Ripple Effect Contest, a joint initiative of Heart to Heart International and Welch Allyn designed to inspire medical students to “change the world by giving back to their communities.”
This summer, Schilling and a yet-to-be-revealed student, along with student winners from the 2013 Ripple Effect contest will work alongside Heart to Heart medical teams in Haiti.
The Ripple Effect Contest encourages medical students to use social media to share how they will create their own “ripple effect” of good in their community or globally. Entrants were asked to ‘like’ the Ripple Effect program page on Facebook and share a picture with a short essay or a short video showcasing their “ripple effect” — a brief narrative about how they would “change the world” by using their training to help those in greatest need.
The second winner will be announced March 17, 2015.
This week, program staff with Heart to Heart International (HHI) delivered medical equipment worth more than $30,000 to a free clinic established inside a Kansas City area high school.
The BullDoc Health Center occupies a handful of old classrooms in a corner of the historic Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas. The name is a clever play on words as Wyandotte High is the Home of the Bulldogs. The clinic operates one morning a week on Wednesdays and according to Robbie Howard, a Wyandotte High health sciences teacher, when it is open, 25 to 35 students will be seen by the volunteer medical staff. University of Kansas medical students staff the clinic along with a rotation of KU Hospital doctors who specialize in family medicine. Several of Howard’s students work in the clinic as well, gaining exposure to a ‘real world’ health clinic environment.
The BullDoc Health Center is just one of a several free and safety-net clinics that Heart to Heart supports around the greater Kansas City region. The recent delivery for BullDoc consisted of stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and other basic items to outfit and properly run a clinic. The equipment comes from medical equipment manufacturer Welch Allyn through its Ripple Effect program. Ripple Effect works like this: Medical students around the country purchase specific discounted Welch Allyn products; Welch Allyn then gives credits to HHI based on the sale; HHI then uses those credits to acquire Welch Allyn products and deliver needed items to clinics.
MED STUDENTS! Click the photo above to learn about Ripple Effect and enter to win a humanitarian trip with Welch Allyn & Heart to Heart International!
Click the photos below to see a slideshow of the delivery to the BullDoc Health Center at Wyandotte High School (email subscribers please visit the blog to view slideshow).