Wayne County, Utah, includes Capitol Reef National Park, the petroglyphs, and Mount Boulder. It’s also the site of Utah Valley University’s Capitol Reef Station – a place for education and star gazing. But for a team of UVU University of Public Health students, the field station was a home base of community service.
UVU students, public health faculty, and health and wellness staff visited Wayne County in August to conduct free health screenings in rural communities, learn about sustainability and environmental health issues, and, in their spare time, visit the pristine sights of Capitol Reef National Park.
“[Capitol Reef Field Station] Dr. James Bimmel of the UVU Department of Public Health said. “It’s an interesting place. The station itself is completely off grid, so students cannot use their cell phones while they are there.”
At the station, students, faculty, and staff lived and worked together.
“My favorite part was just going and enjoying the casual interaction with the faculty and staff,” said Nursing student Healy Hassan. “It was great just to get out and connect with everyone on a different level than the standard student-teacher relationship.”
Students operated health assessment kiosks at the Wayne County Community Health Center in Bicknell, Utah; Royal Market in Luau, Utah; and Wayne County Farmer’s Market in Torrey, Utah. Students provided assessments of glucose levels, blood pressure, and body composition, as well as educating individuals on a variety of public health topics.
Health and Wellness Center Director Trevor Carter helped students provide this service to Wayne County residents.
“I am very interested in engaged learning,” Carter said. “I would love to see students talking to someone and educating them about general health. A student was talking to a young boy about smoking and tobacco use, and he told us how his father smoked and tried to quit. This student gave him little information and did not say that his father was a bad person. He They just said, “Hey, here is some information and some UVU items that can help him stop smoking.” And he was so excited he ran and gave it to his dad.”
Wayne County was selected as the location for the service due to its proximity to the UVU facility and the enormous need in the area.
“A lot of rural people are underserved when it comes to health care,” Bimmel said. “And there’s a double benefit to this: the students have to apply the things that they’ve been learning in the classroom, which is great for them, where they get a real-world experience, [and] We provide this service that rural people there do not necessarily get. it’s a wonderful feeling “.
“You can find out everything you want in a health book, a textbook, or from a teacher, but unless you actually go out and practice it, it won’t have the same effect,” public health advisor Kristi Dockstadter said. “These interactive learning opportunities are truly invaluable, and Capitol Reef Station is a great place to do it. We have all learned so much, including recycling, water management and the importance of being a good steward of the environment.”
Walking behind the field station, unconventional student and health care majors Sarah Forrest identifies the names of her grandparents and grandmothers from 1916 carved into the rock painting.
“It was kind of surreal,” Forrest said. “I was kind of overwhelmed by the fact that my grandmother was there. [My grandmother] She was nine years old – about the same age as my daughter now – when it happened, and just thinking about the generations of women in my family and what we’ve all been through made me really emotional.”
Learn more about Capitol Reef Station and the learning experiences involved at UVU by visiting Location of Capitol Reef Station
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