Medical Students Aim To Meet Community Needs

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Three students from the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine will have a chance to bring better health care to rural areas.

The students have been selected as Albert Schweitzer fellows to work on community service projects for the upcoming year.
Laura Ford is one of these fellows and says the fellowship is about like-minded people who want to make a difference and meet needs in community.
After observing the effects of the Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP) in Dr. Allison Batchelor's patients, Ford says she plans to adapt the CHIP program and make it accessible to under-served people living in Athens County.
"I saw the difference it was making in her patients. Their blood pressure was becoming lower, their glucose levels were lower and it was really making a positive difference and I wanted to do that for others in the community as well," said Ford.
Ford is working with the Athens County Health Department and Live Happy Live Healthy Appalachia to bring health programs and nutrition information to people who couldn't otherwise afford it.
"I saw that there are a lot of patients that can't get through, they can't get appointments because doctors are full and I thought, 'well I can bring this to them they don't have to come to me' we can go to where the people are," said Ford.
One aspect of the project is a program called "Farm to Table" which gives boxes of food to food pantry users and teaches them how to cook healthy meals.
"Because how can you tell people eat more of this, do more of that if they don't have resources to it?" questioned Ford.
The project is still in the planning phase, but Ford says the first major event of the program will be June 9 at the Bishopville Church of Christ. 
As for her own career aspirations, Ford says the fellowship fits in with her long-term goals.  She enjoys working with the health department and says as a physician, she wants to meet the needs of the people in the community where she lives.