By Wendy Sarubbi | February 5, 2015 3:49 pm

The College of Medicine’s volunteer efforts at this year’s Zora Neale Hurston festival certainly provided that medical education and community care are a small world.

UCF Medical students, core and volunteer faculty did health screenings for about 100 people January 31 as part of the three-day Zora festival that honors the author and her hometown of Eatonville, FL.

One of those volunteer faculty members was Dr. Danielle Henry, a surgical resident at Orlando Health who works with UCF students as part of their surgery clerkship training. Dr. Henry graduated from Florida State University’s medical school. One of her FSU teachers was Dr. Mariana Dangiolo, now assistant professor of family medicine and geriatrics at UCF, who also volunteered at Zora. The two hadn’t seen each other in more than five years. Now, former student and teacher worked alongside each other to help festival goers understand their health screenings for blood sugar and blood pressure levels, BMI and vision.

“It was so awesome to see where I came from,” Dr. Henry reflected. “You leave medical school and enter residency and it can be easy to lose track of the people who taught you. It was amazing to be here at Zora and have Dr. Dangiolo see the fruits of her labor and vice versa.”

Drs. Henry and Dangiolo discussed with Zora participants lifestyle changes they can make to improve their health and how to schedule follow-up visits to discuss the screenings with their physicians. Dr. Dangiolo used her cell phone to give a woman information on Orlando’s Grace Medical Home, which cares for uninsured patients and where UCF medical students run a free clinic. “She had lost her job and her insurance and she needed care,” Dr. Dangiolo said. “I was glad I could give her some options.”

The “small world” theme even went beyond the two physicians at Zora. Asked how she became interested in surgery as a specialty, Dr. Henry smiled and mentioned another well-known UCF College of Medicine faculty member: Anatomy Professor Dr. Andrew Payer, who also came to Orlando from FSU. “During my second year of medical school, I volunteered in Dr. Payer’s lab because I enjoyed dissection so much,” she said. “Dr. Payer is an amazing, amazing, amazing anatomy teacher.”

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