Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University graduate nursing students to present free health lectures during National Primary Care Week


Two graduate nursing students, from Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University, have joined forces with the Bridgeport Community Health Center to host three free health lectures during Connecticut's National Primary Care Week. The events, which are free and open to the general public, take place at noon on Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 19-21, at the Bridgeport Community Health Center, at 982 East Main Street in Bridgeport.

Following a written request from the nursing students, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has proclaimed the week of October 17-23 as National Primary Care Week in the state. Connecticut's initiative is part of a nationwide National Primary Care Week effort promoted by the American Medical Students Association (AMSA). This year's focus is on health care for the underserved population. Health professionals from across the country will host and participate in special educational programs, symposia, workshops, lectures, community outreach programs and health fairs. "I urge all our citizens to join me in recognizing the importance of general practitioners and primary care providers for their contributions to healthcare," wrote Gov. Rell in an official statement.

The AMSA has awarded the two local nursing students, Sharon Benard and Jennifer Nelson, $200 each to defray the costs of providing the lectures at the Bridgeport Community Health Center.

The association also provided another $200 to Connecticut's Southwestern Area Health Education Center, based at Sacred Heart University, to make additional support available to the schools in this effort.

The first lecture, which is on Tuesday, Oct. 19, will discuss "Current Treatment for Coronary Heart Disease and Hypertension." The speaker will be Denise Buonocore, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with Bridgeport Hospital and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Registered Dietician Cindy Kozak, CDE, will present "Diabetes and Your Body" on Wednesday; and Thursday's lecture will cover "Prescription Assistance Programs for Connecticut," presented by Gail Diez, CHOICES Coordinator from the Agency on Aging. Kevin Losty, a Senior Therapeutic Specialist from Glaxo Smith Kline, will also talk about prescription programs as part of the Thursday lecture. Each lecture will begin at 12 p.m. and run for approximately one hour.

"Our goal is to bring health care information to the underserved population so that they can take the information we give them and use it in their everyday lives," said Jennifer Nelson, a Sacred Heart University graduate student enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner program who is co-organizing the event as her final project. Nelson has worked at Yale-New Haven Hospital and The Hospital of St. Raphael.

In partnership with Nelson is Fairfield University graduate student Sharon Benard, who is also a Family Nurse Practitioner Student as well as a Nurse Associate with the Cardiothoracic and Vascular Group, Inc. Benard is also co-organizing this event for her final project. "We want to assist the Bridgeport community to obtain information that would help them improve their lifestyle," Benard said, noting that the purpose of National Primary Care Week is fourfold:

  • to improve the students' understanding of primary care;
  • to introduce role models and leaders in the field of primary care;
  • to describe clinical and non-clinical careers related to primary care, especially addressing community health and underserved populations; and
  • to help students to discover the importance of collaboration between primary care practitioners and the community.

For more information please contact the Bridgeport Community Health Center, located at 982 East Main Street, at 203-696-3260 and dial "0" for the operator.

Media contact: Funda Alp at Sacred Heart University,(203) 396-8241

Bookmark and Share

Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 8, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 76