An early morning sun was shining at Hazard Park on a recent Saturday, as several USC student groups and staff volunteers prepared for the 2016 Health and Fitness Expo, sponsored by the USC Good Neighbors Campaign.
Representatives from the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, the USC Pharmacy School, American Pharmacy Student Alliance, Phi Delta Chi, USC Graduate Student Government, USC Roski Eye Institute and the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC joined representatives from the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck Hospital of USC, USC Department of Public Safety and trained promotoras from the Ramona Gardens Women’s Health Initiative for the activities, held March 27 at Hazard Park.
Activities included an Easter celebration organized by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and free health screenings for blood pressure, body fat analysis, diabetes testing and eye exams. USC Physical Therapy staff and students who also run the USC Fit Families Program began performing a series of tests to assess each participant’s functional strength, balance, flexibility, and aerobic fitness.
“The purpose of these stations is not just to provide screening for public health,” USC physical therapy student Thomas Tai said, “but also to inform and encourage people to keep a healthy lifestyle.”
Through a $1 million investment made by USC, Hazard Park now has a fitness zone and walking path for the local community to use. Olga Perez, a local resident who participated in the physical fitness evaluation conducted by USC Physical Therapy students, noted the impact of the fitness zone on the local community.
“Before, we had to take the bus to other parks to use their equipment,” she said. “Now, it’s right over the hill here and we come every day: youth, young adults and the elderly.”
Zul Surani, director of community partnerships on the USC Health Sciences Campus, said, “we are grateful for all of our USC and community partners who came together to generously share their expertise and provide free health screenings for the community members we serve.”
Also attending the fair was Sister Mary Catherine Antczak, school principal of Santa Teresita Elementary School. Antczak noted the impact USC has had on the local community.
“USC gave more resources to Hazard Park with the equipment and the walking path,” she said. “We need to see beauty and USC is bringing natural beauty to our community.”
— Brian Manahan