October 9, 2021, was filled with activity at the grounds of the Philipsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church as doctors and students of American University of the Caribbean (AUC) embarked on the annual Health Screening Expo, in collaboration with the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church’s Health Ministries Department.
This event was open to the public and attracted persons desirous of knowing their personal health status as well as those who were seeking consultation to improve their current health situation. The goal of this event was to sensitize the community to the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and share hope to all. Local police officers attended the event and delivered a presentation on drug/substance abuse. Drug Awareness and Emotional Intelligence were two hot button topics that generated great interest. The Philipsburg Seventh-day Adventist Pioneer Pathfinder Club members were on hand to guide attendees and ensure protocols were adhered to, throughout the entire event.
These efforts between AUC and Philipsburg SDA Health Ministries have been ongoing, for more than three years. PROJECT HELP, which started in 2013, is a collaborative effort between AUC and the Government of Sint Maarten. During such public efforts, participants are screened for non-communicable diseases by AUC students; after this they can consult with licensed, local physicians, who also volunteer at the event and can advise the participants on the next, best steps.
The participants and organizers were graced with a visit by the Sint Maarten Minister of Health, the Honorable Omar E. C. Ottley, who also participated in the health screenings. The dean, doctors and students of AUC and the Health team of the church expressed appreciation to the community of Sint Maarten for visiting and for their interest in creating a healthier and happier environment. They encouraged each citizen and resident to focus on staying healthy and regularly monitoring their health.
The event was cancelled in 2020 because of concerns related to aggressive COVID-19 transmission rates. In 2021, planning was done over the course of three months and the organizers included AUC doctors and the Philipsburg Health Ministries team. Commendations were extended to: Natalie Humphrey, Ph.D., CEACP (Assistant Dean of Community Engagement, AUC); Dr. Shorma Houston, MD (Assistant Professor Clinical Medicine, AUC); Sherryl Carty (SDA Health Ministries Director, Philipsburg); Jacky Barry (SDA Assistant Health Ministries Director, Philipsburg) and other team members at AUC and Philipsburg SDA Church.