By Chip Chandler

West Texas A&M University will offer free healthcare services for Amarillo-area residents April 23.

The WT Department of Nursing Community Health Fair will run from 4 to 7 p.m. April 23 at Hillside Church’s North Grand Campus, 3508 N.E. 24th Ave. in Amarillo.

Area medical professionals and agencies will collaborate to offer health screenings for STDs, HIV, colorectal cancer, blood sugar and blood pressure measurements, among others, at the outdoor fair. Plus, the fair will offer free COVID vaccines, low-cost adult immunizations, and free car seats and other baby supplies to those who qualify. Educational booths will offer information on resources and programs available to community members.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center physicians will conduct on-site breast exams and pap smears from 2 to 5 p.m. at no cost for qualifying individuals. Appointments also will be set for mammograms to be conducted at a later date.

WT’s Department of Nursing began offering health fairs for underserved populations in 2012. This is the first since 2019; the last two years were canceled in recognition of the Covid-19 pandemic. In their history, the health fairs have served nearly 1,500 individuals.

“We are happy to be able to partner with our colleagues to once more offer health fairs for the underserved populations in this region,” said Dr. Priscella Correa, WT’s Baptist Community Services Professor of Nursing. “Not only are we able to address the critical screening needs of our neighbors, especially as we are hopefully past the worst of the pandemic, but our nursing students also gain valuable field experience in community and public health nursing efforts.”

WT is partnering with Hillside Church and Project Safe Neighborhood to conduct the fair, which offers community members an invaluable array of resources. The fair also will include the participation of High Plains Food Bank, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, Texas Panhandle Centers, Coalition of Health Services: Nurse Family Partnership, Uniting Parents, Storybridge, Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Services, FirstCare Health Plans, Region 16 Education Service Center, Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle, Family Support Services, Haven Health Clinics, Amarillo Public Health Department, Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance and Get FIT to Stay Fit, among others.

Established in 1972 and graduating its first students in 1974, WT’s Department of Nursing in its College of Nursing and Health Sciences currently provides about 70 percent of nurses employed throughout the Texas Panhandle.

WT nursing graduates, over the past five years, have averaged a 97 percent score on the National Council Licensure Examination, required by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to test the competency of nursing school graduates in the United States and Canada. Nationally, the average is 85 percent; in Texas, it’s 87 percent.

For information or to donate or volunteer, contact Correa at 806-651-2660 or pcorrea@wtamu.edu.