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Kids 1st fair offers school physicals to underserved

Physician Assistant Kate Brugiglio examines Joshuah Maise 7 Beach Park during Kids 1st Health Fair Juarez Middle School Waukegan. |

Physician Assistant Kate Brugiglio examines Joshuah Maise, 7, of Beach Park, during the Kids 1st Health Fair at Juarez Middle School in Waukegan. | Submitted by Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

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Updated: October 8, 2013 2:39AM

Kids 1st has grown into the Lollapalooza of back-to-school health fairs, offering immunizations, health information and head-to-foot medical screenings for 1,000 low-income Lake County youngsters in a single day.

Cynthia Tyrone of Waukegan brought five children, ages 11 to 16, to the 21st annual event held Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Miguel Juarez Middle School in Waukegan and sponsored by the Lake County Health Department, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and United Way.

“I love it,” Tyrone said as the family left the school building, shots administered, physical exams performed, necessary school forms signed and completed.

Eleven-year-old Aliayah nearly glowed with the special attention she received during the fair.

Her favorite part was the cardboard briefcase of school supplies she clutched, “Kits for Kidz,” that she and every other child received as a parting reward.

About 400 volunteers flooded the school in shifts, including nurses, dentists, doctors, a dietitian and other medical personnel, plus a small army of clerical workers who performed intake and data collection.

“It provides a convenient place for parents to bring their kids at one time, in one place, where they can get all of their medical requirements done so that they can start school on time,” said Leslie Piotrowski, LCHD spokesperson.

Kate Briguglio, a young physician assistant who usually mans Rosalind Franklin Health System’s traveling Community Care Connection, examined a stream of children who shyly climbed atop a long table in a curtained-off area.

“Primary care, especially for young kids, is really important and there’s a lack of access around here to medical homes,” Briguglio. “This is a really great way to make sure kids can get into school and play sports.”

The physical examinations also serve to spot health issues for medically underserved kids, things like elevated blood sugar, obesity, scoliosis, flat feet, said Briguglio, who made referrals for kids who need more care.

Podiatric physicians, supplied by Rosalind Franklin University, also screened young patients, including one child, about age 10, who appeared to have an issue with “in-toeing” or an inward-turn of the legs and feet, a condition that can cause falls and pose problems with walking and running — and also invite teasing by peers,” said podiatrist Dr. David Kibrit, an instructor at Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine.

Alejandra Ruiz of Waukegan, who brought her daughter, Miriam, 10, and son Isaac, 5, said the health fair helped her family manage back-to-school expenses.

“Uniforms cost a lot,” she said. “Supplies cost a lot. Doctors and dentists cost a lot. This is a big help for us who don’t have a lot of money.”

Kids 1st Health Fair volunteers also arrived from companies including Abbott and Abbvie, Baxter, Hollister Inc., NorStates Bank, Trustmark, and health care providers including Advocate Condell Medical Center, Highland Park Hospital and Rush University/College of Nursing.

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