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Engaging With Our Community

RFU students find joy and meaning in contributing to the well-being of their community through student organizations like SOL (Salud Ofrecida a Latinos), which provides education and screenings with a special focus on the primary healthcare needs of uninsured Latinos.

"When I meet people who don't have health insurance, I think of my parents, my uncles, my aunts," said SOL's president, Jose Martinez-Perez, MS '18, CMS '22, who grew up in California, where more than half of the uninsured population is Latino.

Jose lived with undiagnosed psoriasis from age 14 to 22, when he obtained insurance after enrolling in the University of California, Davis. "I was finally able to get treatment and get rid of the rashes," he said. "That's the power of access. That's the power of medicine. I want to make that difference in people's lives."

Often accompanied by members of the Latino Medical Student Association, students in SOL work with community partners, including three local schools and the Waukegan Park District, to offer screenings for diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and obesity. They provide referrals to RFU's Interprofessional Community Clinic for those in need of a medical home.

"It's easy to develop tunnel vision in medical school," Jose said. "Screening someone whose blood sugar level is way out of whack and getting them the care they need gives you a boost, helps you push through the long hours of study for exams. It helps you see the big picture.

"Getting out in the community strengthens your motivation. It feeds your soul."

Posted April 16
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