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On May 12, the Downstate Student Occupational Therapy Association and Suzanne White, OTR/L, FAOTA, program faculty, Mabel Martinez, MA MHC OTR/L, Downstate-East Flatbush NAMI, the Department of Psychiatry and Betty Jung, RN, BSN, DQE, Coordinator Patient Education Department and Center for Community Health Promotion and Wellness joined forces with New York City Metro chapter of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for the NAMIWALK. Each year, NAMI holds this walk for the purpose of fundraising. The NAMIWALK goals are to support all people who make walking an active part of their wellness regimen. They highlight mental illness awareness, and successfully fight the stigma of mental illness. NAMI is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide free support, education, and advocacy for people with mental illness and their families. Included in the day’s activities is a Wellness Fair.

For the past 11 years, Downstate has hosted a metabolic syndrome-screening booth at the Fair. It is well known that people who take an atypical antipsychotic medication are at a higher risk of metabolic syndrome and therefore are more prone to obesity, abnormalities in blood glucose such as type II diabetes, and elevated blood pressure that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. At the booth, various screenings are offered to the NAMI walkers including body mass index, body fat percentage, and blood pressure. NAMI Walkers are also given informational pamphlets on healthy diets, available free services, and other wellness information.

The Occupational Therapy program provides a Web-based intervention: OTs Walk With NAMI in support of the NAMIWALK. This multipurpose intervention provides extensive online materials and resources. The intervention considers the needs of the clients by providing a no-cost program, which includes a consumer-friendly video, PowerPoint session plans, evidenced-based articles and a detailed protocol. The Downstate Metabolic Screening booth and OTs Walk With NAMI program supports Downstate’s mission and commitment to serving the underserved of our community. Submitted by Sandra Gomez, OTS.

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