Students provide free health assessments to the community

Students at Baylor’s Laboratory for Exercise Science and Technology giving a health exam.

By Magdalayna Drivas | Reporter

At 7 a.m. on Tuesdays, while most of Baylor is still asleep, one group of students is preparing to serve patients at Baylor’s Laboratory for Exercise Science and Technology.

The lab, located in Marrs-McLean Gymnasium, is home of Baylor’s Center for Healthy Living FitCheck program. The program, made possible through a partnership with the Waco Family Medicine Residency Program, offers free health and fitness assessments to the general public.

“We open our doors up to the general public to provide what we call a comprehensive health profile,” associate dean for research collaboration and graduate studies professor Dr. Peter Grandjean said. “A lot of the same procedures that you would get in a clinical setting under the direction of a physician are done by our students in our facilities with residents and with faculty that are training the residents.”

The assessments include a physician screening, blood panel, body composition and bone density analysis, exercise test, pulmonary function analysis and an evaluation of flexibility and musculoskeletal fitness. Grandjean said the tests are used to determine the patient’s physical fitness.

“Each of those tests give us a window or a little insight into some aspect of health. We do all of these tests at the same time and put a report together that gives us the picture of overall health and fitness,” Grandjean said.

The assessments are administered by exercise physiology students as part of the two-part Exercise Testing and Interpretation course. Students spend one semester learning how to conduct tests and analyze data and are able to conduct fitness assessments themselves the following semester.

“We run all of the tests on Tuesday and on Thursday all of the students come in and we analyze all of the data we took and make an exercise prescription and we mail it back to the client,” Midland senior Anthony Madrid said.

Madrid said the opportunity to make a difference in the community attracted him to Baylor’s exercise physiology program.

“A lot of undergraduate programs across the nation teach you about these things but you don’t get hands on with it,” Madrid said. “That’s why the exercise physiology program at Baylor is so great because it thinks about the student’s needs and what they can use.”

Grandjean said the program sees up to 100 patients per semester and has a waiting list going into the spring. He said keeping the assessments free allows the program to serve patients who need it the most.

“We’ve made it free because it really fits our mission, vision and values as a university,” Grandjean said. “We are able to infuse our profession with our Christian worldview and help people that may not have the opportunity to see a physician all the time.”

The wellness checks are three hours long and are offered Tuesday mornings at 7:30 a.m. in room 127 of the Marrs-McLean Gymnasium. Interested students, faculty and staff can e-mail FitCheck@baylor.edu to schedule an appointment.

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