CI Nursing students transform dilapidated trailer into health center

Camarillo, CA - A trailer headed for the junk pile was transformed into a community health center that will open to the public on Saturday, March 7, thanks to muscle, imagination, and a little seed money from a CSU Channel Islands (CI) allocation.

The project was a collaboration between about 50 CI nursing students and Assistant Professor of Nursing LaSonya Davis, DNP, and the B.A. Huggins Outreach and Worship Center in Oxnard.

Davis had always wanted to create a health center for the working poor and homeless, and so did the minister of the church she attends, St. Paul Baptist Church in Oxnard.

St. Paul minister Broderick Huggins had grown up on the south side of Stockton to a single mother.

"We weren't poor, we were po'!" Huggins said.

Although she had little for herself and her children, Huggins' mother, Frances, worked as a nurse's aide for those less fortunate.

In 2014, Huggins purchased a building at 840 South G Street in Oxnard so he could set up an annex to minister to the working poor and homeless in the area. The property came with a weary-looking trailer riddled with dry rot.

"I said 'This is an eyesore, I'm going to have it hauled away,'" Huggins said. "And LaSonya said 'mobile health clinic!'"

Davis was the advisor to a group of students seeking a "capstone" project, which is a multi-faceted project that culminates the academic experience for undergraduates.

She suggested the Nursing students transform the trailer into a health center as their capstone project.

CI senior Nursing student Andrea Ives was enthusiastic to hear Davis' idea, but it was going to be a challenge.

"We had no budget at all, so I applied for one of the student seed grants," Ives said. "A lot of our work was getting down and dirty, then getting donations of paint, supplies and so forth."

Ives applied for $500 of seed money available from $45,000 allocation from California State University Office of the Chancellor.

The money goes to each CSU campus with the goal of funding service learning programs, which are programs that combine learning with providing a service to the community.

CI's Center for Community Engagement granted the Nursing students the $500 and they got to work, tearing out rotted wood, hammering, sawing, painting and even getting help from CI's Art students, who painted a mural on the outside of the trailer.

The project was completed in December of 2014 with a dedication of the new Frances Huggins Community Health Clinic.

March 7 marks the first time CI Nursing students have ever held a health fair for the community.

Health organizations such as the Ventura County Health Department; the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Association will be there with the Nursing students offering information and presentations.

Nursing students will provide free health screenings for blood pressure, hemoglobin and blood sugar.

Guest speakers will address health concerns like Alzheimer's disease; strokes; cardiovascular disease; and mental illness.

The First Annual Free Health Fair will be Saturday, March 7 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the Frances Huggins Community Health Clinic at 840 South G Street in Oxnard.

Spanish translators will be available.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.

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