PCOM Primary Care Progress and Family Medicine Club DO students recently provided required summer camp physicals at no charge to underserved boys.
For many first- and second-years students, the opportunity to see patients in a clinical setting is rare. Several PCOM students not only recently received that opportunity, but also were able to help send underserved boys to Boy Scout camp, ensuring they have a fun-filled summer.
Physicals are a must for Scouts to attend camp, but many cannot afford the cost. But at two events, one in North Philadelphia and one in West Philadelphia, DO students in PCOM Primary Care Progress and the Family Medicine Club provided free physicals for Scouts from the Cradle of Liberty Council, Boy Scouts of America.
At each event, students checked the boys’ vitals; measured height and weight; administered blood pressure, hearing and sight tests; and performed evaluations of the nervous system and the heart and lungs, all with guidance from PCOM faculty.
Peter Bidey, DO ’08, MEd, assistant professor, family medicine, and faculty advisor for both Primary Care Progress and the Family Medicine Club, said the event is now in its fourth year, and the physicians and students are starting to see many of the same Scouts year over year—and that many are excited to learn from PCOM students about health and medicine.
“We’re doing our best to reach out to a community that is largely underserved,” he said. “We hold these events in areas that are very close to our Healthcare Centers, so it’s nice for our patient base to see us out in their community, rather than just in the clinical setting.”
Margot Penn (DO ’21), current president of Primary Care Progress, echoed Dr. Bidey’s sentiment.
“Transportation is a huge issue for many people in this population,” she said. “These events allow us to meet them where they are, and make it as easy as possible for them to get the care they need.”
Stormie Wagner (DO ’20), has participated in these events since her first year, and says they provide an opportunity for the students to practice skills they just learned in their Primary Care Skills classes.
“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to interact with real patients who are children,” she said. “We work with standardized patients but those are all adults, so it gives us another patient base to interact with in a real-world setting.”
“More than 4,100 youth attend our overnight summer camp each year, including more than 400 Philadelphia-area Scouts, who attend at no cost, thanks to the generous contributions of our donors. These Scouts, including many first-time campers, enjoy swimming, archery, BMX biking, canoeing, STEM activities and so much more,” said Dan Templar, scout executive/CEO, Cradle of Liberty Council, Boy Scouts of America. “We are so grateful to PCOM for covering the cost of the required physical exams and helping to make camping possible for youth who might not otherwise be able to attend summer camp.”
Dr. Bidey noted that the program has grown significantly since its first year, with the number of Scouts receiving free physicals nearly doubling. He noted that faculty members including Michael Becker, DO ’87, MS, assistant dean of clerkship education and professor, family medicine; Izola David, DO ’85, assistant professor, pediatrics; Larry Finkelstein, DO ’87, associate professor, family medicine; David Kuo, DO ’96, associate dean of graduate medical education and associate professor, family medicine; Erik Langenau, DO, chief academic technology officer and associate professor, family medicine; and Meghna Shah, DO, assistant professor, OMM, and several residents have helped contribute to the program’s success.
The Cradle of Liberty Council serves more than 16,500 young boys and girls throughout Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties in nearly 500 Scouting groups chartered to civic, faith-based, and educational community organizations. It provides youth with dynamic outdoor programs that build character, foster participating citizenship, and encourage personal fitness. For more information, visit www.colbsa.org. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained more than 15,000 highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach, treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy and doctor of psychology degrees and graduate programs in mental health counseling, school psychology, physician assistant studies, forensic medicine, organizational development and leadership, and biomedical sciences. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, education and service to the community and, through PCOM’s Healthcare Centers, provide care to the medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations.
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