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A Healthy Affair

With programs and projects spanning the world, The George Washington University Medical Center’s influence is increasingly global. But at the eighth annual Foggy Bottom/West End Block Party, October 17, its mission stayed close to home. In collaboration with the GW Hospital and the GW Medical Faculty Associates (MFA), the Medical Center offered free health screenings, information, and giveaways to residents of the Foggy Bottom/West End community.

“Every day, our faculty, students, and staff strive to make the world a healthier place; so where better to begin than in our very own neighborhood?” said John F. Williams, M.D., Ed.D., M.P.H., senior vice provost and vice president for Health Affairs. “During the annual block party, the Medical Center has a chance to demonstrate its integral role in the community by sharing health information, offering free screenings, and showcasing its unique programs and activities. We hope to continue fostering these relationships with our Foggy Bottom/West End neighbors and the greater GW community throughout the year.”

The annual Foggy Bottom/West End block party is hosted by FRIENDS, a community organization dedicated to enhancing the neighborhood through open discussions between Foggy Bottom/West End residents and GW. This year was the second in which the Medical Center partnered with the GW Hospital and the MFA to offer free health services.

In the health tent, students in GW’s doctor of Physical Therapy program offered balance testing, posture screening, and a grip strength assessment; representatives from the GW Training Center demonstrated CPR; and volunteers from the Cheney Cardiovascular Institute showed patrons how to use Automated External Defibrillators.  Tables were displayed by various organizations and institutes, including the Interdisciplinary Student Community Oriented Prevention Enhancement Service, the Public Health Student Association, Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, the GW Cancer Institute, and the GW department of Emergency Medicine’s OnSite Medical Services. Additionally, the Food Nutrition department and the Senior Advantage program from the GW Hospital presented information. Finally, the division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension sponsored blood pressure screenings inside of Ross Hall.

"The block party was a great venue to spread the word about GW’s exciting hypertension research, as well as the importance of blood pressure control,” said Dominic Raj, M.D., professor of Medicine in the division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension. “By offering free blood pressure screenings, we helped people in our community take the first step in adopting a lifestyle more conducive to their risks."  

The afternoon also featured several GW choirs, theater troupes, and a cappella groups. Local bands performed as well, including the award-winning Ballou High School Majestic Marching Knights. GW President Stephen Knapp presented remarks, as did Vincent Gray, the district’s Democratic mayoral nominee; and Carla Hall, a finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef and former chef at a Foggy Bottom restaurant.