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Downstate Times

The Newsletter for SUNY Downstate
University Hospital of Brooklyn

Downstate Walks with NAMI


Downstate volunteers offer metabolic screening and counseling.

On May 11, Downstate occupational therapy educators, clinicians, and students joined the NYC METRO NAMIWalk across the Brooklyn Bridge, a project of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And as they have done every year since 2008, campus members provided screening for metabolic syndrome to all participants at the wellness fair following the walk.

At the Downstate screening booth, students measured blood pressure, weight and waist circumference, BMI, and glucose level. After each individual had been tested, Downstate psychiatric residents were on hand to interpret the results and offer health counseling.

"The metabolic screening booth is always a popular feature at the annual NAMIWalk," says Mabel Martinez- Almonte,OTR/L, "because it provides needed health information." Some 40 people were tested and received referral information this year.

"Our participation in NAMIWalks is an opportunity to demonstrate Downstate's commitment to serve the community, fight the stigma of mental illness, and support the recovery process," says Suzanne White, MA, OTR/L, clinical associate professor of occupational therapy and one of the founders of OTs Walk with NAMI.

A collaboration between the Department of Psychiatry, the OT Program in the College of Health Related Professions, the College of Medicine, the student-run Brooklyn Free Clinic, and the Downstate East Flatbush chapter of NAMI, the project promotes the benefits of walking to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome, and other health problems that often affect people with mental illnesses.