By Wendy Sarubbi | September 3, 2013 3:53 pm

Two UCF College of Medicine students worked with their physician faculty member in providing free physicals for students heading back to school at the  “School Days Health and Educational Fair” organized by Orange County Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell August 17..

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Dr. Lisa Barkley, a family, adolescent and sports medicine specialist at UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice, volunteered to do the health screenings that she said are unfortunately a luxury for many families. “Many families are not able to have access to the kind of healthcare that they need to keep their kids and themselves healthy,” Dr. Barkley said. “It was a great opportunity and an honor for us to be able to give back in a small way and help get kids ready for school. “Education is so important for kids, and being healthy in the classroom is key for being able to learn.”

Second-year medical students Ramone Eldemire and Christal Crooks assisted Dr. Barkley during the event and supplemented their classroom education by helping with the physicals. Both students are members of the college’s chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). The NMA, formed in 1895, represents the interests and concerns of African-American physicians and their patients.

Eldemire finds his motivation to serve in his own childhood where programs like “School Days” helped him get ready for the classroom.  “Just thinking back, I had humble beginnings, as well,” he said. “Those kids really reminded me of going to school at that age. Something about being there with real families and real kids brought a whole new spin to things.”

Dr. Barkley and the SNMA hope to continue growing the organization, and are working to bring more physicians-in-training to events like “School Days,” which was held at the Barnett Park Gymnasium in West Orlando. The group has assisted at health fairs and expos for the past year and wants to continue making an impact on the Central Florida community.

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