More than 60 students, alumni, faculty and staff gathered recently for the first Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work community day. Held at Camillus House, the event was an opportunity to give back to the community.
Camillus House, a partner of the college, is a nonprofit agency that provides humanitarian services to poor and homeless people in Miami.
“One thing that unites us all is our desire to help individuals and communities live healthier, better and safer lives,” says Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of Stempel College. “By joining our respective disciplines under one college, we have created an opportunity that can truly impact the community and community day is a perfect way to highlight the good that we can each do when we work together.”
Each area of the college – public health, social work, dietetics and nutrition and disaster management – participated. All activities were discussed and prioritized by Camillus House as areas of great need.
A public health group, with activities spearheaded by Melissa Howard and Florence Greer, conducted presentations and demonstrations to clients that focused on Hepatitis A prevention, personal hygiene and sun/heat exposure protection.
A social work group, led by Beatrice Farnsworth, offered information on community resources for non-residents at Camillus House through interactive games and activities, with the goal of providing them a more thorough understanding of how social workers can help those at risk of homelessness.
Adriana Campa and Sabrina Sales Martinez led the dietetics and nutrition activities and worked with the Camillus House staff to incorporate healthier options in the meals given, working within the framework of a limited budget to help Camillus House feed more than 12,500 people per year. They also participated in a resource fair, leading a diabetes exchange, body weight measurements for body composition analyses and nutrition education recommendations based on the analyses.
A disaster management group, led by Robin Yang, Dulce Suarez and Amy Aiken, reviewed the organization’s emergency plan ahead of the event and used the time at Camillus House to meet with leadership and incorporate alumni ideas into an updated emergency plan should the need arise.
“Camillus House is blessed with incredible partners that help us better prepare those we serve to progress on their journey to self-sufficiency,” says Camillus House CEO Hilda M. Fernandez. “From providing us exceptionally well-prepared interns to supporting us through a wonderful Community Day, we value our partnership with FIU’s Stempel College and look forward to other opportunities to join forces to help our clients.”
The half-day event highlighted Stempel College’s desire to make a positive impact on the local community and beyond. The event raised a $1,000 for student scholarships and gathered numerous items for donation to Camillus House, such as 100 emergency kits, 100 water bottles and 100 washcloths.
“The first Stempel College community day was a shining example of the college’s motto, as everyone truly came together for the greater good,” Guilarte says.