TRENTON, S.C. — When asked why he came to an annual health screening Friday at Costa Layman Farms, Alberto Sanchez replies in a stream of Spanish but the word “cancer” pops out of it.
“As a precaution against cancer and, because he uses chemicals, to make sure they get tested, checked out,” Laura Marschalk, the Farm’s human resources coordinator, translated for Sanchez, 55, a supervisor at the large nursery. “And because they are in the sun all day.”
It is the eighth time Georgia Regents University has held the health fair and screening at the nursery and what started as a College of Nursing project has now blossomed to include teams from other GRU schools – the College of Dental Medicine, the College of Allied Health Sciences and Medical College of Georgia.
“This is our largest project so there are several teams working here,” said Dr. Lucy Marion, dean of the College of Nursing.
More than 330 employees were screened and more than 220 had blood drawn ahead of time so they could have lab work done, said Pam Cromer, associate professor of nursing, at GRU, who has helped coordinate the health fair for the last seven years. She also does a women’s clinic in October to help female employees get things like Pap smears.
“There are many workers I’ve seen year after year,” Cromer said.
Many of those workers are beginning to develop a relationship with the providers, she said.
“Relationships are important for the Hispanic population,” she said. “Once they trust you, they’ll seek you out” for health care.
That relationship is evident at the health fair as well, Marschalk said.
“They know them, they’ve seen them over the years, they trust them,” she said. “Trust is a key factor. They’re being followed year after year. And they will return to the doctors and say, ‘Look, I’ve improved my cholesterol. I’ve lost weight, I’ve quit smoking.’”