COA Local Branches get engaged with various community events throughout the year. Most of the events are specific to the location where officers live and work. Here are some examples. COA encourages all Local Branches to become active with their community partners. Send us the updates and photos of your activities.
Fireweed Branch: Informing Alaska Native Community about Flu Prevention and Poison Control
The COA Fireweed Branch participated in the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center (VNPCC) community health fair. The officers – comprised of registered nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists – provided information via two interactive booths.
A flu prevention booth helped customers identify ways to prevent the spread of germs by appropriately washing hands and covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze. Customers were also encouraged to get their flu vaccination and sign a flu prevention pledge to protect themselves and their family members against the flu.
A poison control booth informed customers on the potential hazards medications can cause in the home when not taken or stored properly. The booth also provided a striking visual display on different ways medication can be commonly confused with similar looking candy.
The VNPCC is located in the heart of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in Alaska and serves approximately 8,000 customers. The building is owned and operated by Southcentral Foundation in partnership with Chickaloon Village Traditional Council and Knik Tribal Council.
DC Branch: PACE Program Raises Visibility of USPHS
Commissioned Officers involved in the DC COA’s Prevention through Active Community Engagement (PACE) Subcommittee attended the Brown Station Elementary School Career Day. The goal of PACE is to enact the National Prevention Strategies through educational, civic and faith-based community outreach.
LT Jonathan Leshin and LT Shiny Mathew were assigned to a room of 24 fifth graders. The officers presented information about the USPHS and the Surgeon General’s National Prevention Strategy. The officers talked about the scientist career tract and highlighted training and education requirements to serve in the USPHS Commissioned Corps.
LT Leshin discussed his role as a toxicologist for the Environmental Protection Agency. LT Mathew discussed her role as a nonclinical reviewer for new psychiatric drugs at the Food and Drug Administration.
Afterwards, the students did a hands-on-activity to show the importance of mucous in keeping us healthy during flu and allergy season. The children made slime using borax and glue. Glitter, which was used to simulate either bacteria or viruses, was spread on a table, and the children used the slime to pick up the simulated pathogens. The children were amazed at the important role that mucous plays as part of our body’s defense system.
This fun activity not only engaged the young minds, but also allowed the officers to promote the public health message of ‘no smoking’ to children from a very young age. The activity was highly effective in making it clear to the children that smoking harms their lungs and overall health by impeding proper clearance of zoonotic diseases.
The school officials presented the officers with a small candle lamp as a token of appreciation for lighting the way for Brown Station Elementary School children.