Hofstra’s Society of Public Health Advocates (SOPHA) held its first annual health and social services fair today at Nassau University Medical Center, bringing together 19 community-based organizations to offer Long Island residents information and referrals to available services in areas such as education, housing, health insurance, mental health, and tobacco cessation.
The free event was organized by SOPHA’s community health and public health graduate students who recruited local groups including the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Island Harvest, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, North Shore-LIJ Center for Tobacco Control, and the Health and Wellness Council of Long Island.
“My experience as a community health advocate reaffirmed my belief that healthcare is more than just prescriptive medicine,” said Nuzhat Quaderi, a community-health graduate student and co-president of SOPHA. “The idea for implementing the fair came from this simple idea that good health involves a multitude of factors that include access to housing, food, employment, health coverage, and so much more. SOPHA collaborated with local service providers and community-based organizations to create a fair that would allow residents access to a multitude of services at once.”
The fair and other Hofstra programming such as the annual National Public Health Week event series, sponsored by the School of Health Sciences and Human Services (HSHS), help graduate students foster valuable connections with local health and social services organizations as well as provide hands-on experience in addressing the social needs of the community’s most vulnerable residents.
Other groups collaborating with SOPHA included volunteers from the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, Hofstra’s Center for Civic Engagement, and HSHS.