PCH strives for improvement in the health of the community and for the creation of opportunities for the community to get involved in the care of their own health. We work with medical professionals, other health related UCLA organizations, and businesses to hold health fairs for the Los Angeles community and we are currently involved in two major health fairs. Not only do we work in our local community, but we also raise funds through various projects that will allow us to send medical supplies to the Philippines.
The West Angeles Community Development Corporation (WACDC) Community Health Fair was founded in 2019 by former PCH Health Fairs Directors Kyle Fontelera, Gianna Apoderado, and Jonathan Tangonan to replace a long-standing health fair held at Holy Family Parish in Artesia. In the year the WACDC Community Health Fair was established, the needs and concerns of hundreds of service recipients in the Crenshaw District were addressed through our collaborative health fair.
During winter quarter, we partner with other pre-health undergraduate student organizations at UCLA, including Asian Pacific Health Corps (APHC) and Latino Student Health Project (LSHP), to hold the Our Lady of Peace (OLP) Health fair at the Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in North Hills. In 2019, the OLP Health Fair celebrated its 18th year! This collective effort has brought essential health services and education to thousands of service recipients in the North Hills community since its inception.
The Health Fairs component of PCH organizes and executes 3 health fairs each school year to provide free culturally relevant care and health education to underserved communities in order to address health care inequities. At these health fairs, we also provide basic health services including blood pressure screenings, body mass index/body fat percentage measurements, dental check ups, mammograms, glucose and cholesterol screenings, and healthcare professional consultations. These services are provided free of charge, as we believe that cultural, financial, and/or linguistic barriers should not prevent anyone from receiving the care they need.
In the underserved rural communities of the Philippines, health services are in constant decline due in part to the nation’s economic weaknesses and rampant corruption. Recognizing the limited access to proper basic healthcare of these areas along with other critical needs, PCH continues its international efforts to support these communities. The Medical Outreach (MO) component of PCH aims to provide aid to underserved communities in the Philippines in the form of medical service and donations, which include medicine, equipment, care packages, and several others. With this goal in mind, this year’s MO has partnered with an esteemed volunteer group from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos (UPLB), known as Ugnayan ng Pahinungod (tr. Network of Volunteers), in order to hold an annual medical mission to the Philippines. In conjunction to the medical mission, MO raises funds through various creative fundraising activities that are needed to support PCH’s medical and aid endeavors in the Philippines. MO’s medical mission also receives great backing from organizations, such as the Medical Aid Initiative, that provide donations in different forms (e.g. finance and/or medical supplies). In the past years, PCH has been able to send supplies to areas such as Pangasinan and Calamba, and volunteer in several medical and surgical missions in the Quezon Province and Vigan.
Due to impacts of COVID-19, it is still uncertain if the medical mission will take place in the Philippines this coming summer. If conditions do not improve, MO is considering (1) sending donations and care packages to various underserved populations nationally and/or internationally in lieu of a medical mission; (2) financially supporting Filipinx organizations that are very vocal and active about their opposition against the healthcare corruption that has been plaguing the Philippines.
The Apo Project component is driven by one goal--for our volunteers to serve as the grandchildren, or “apos” (as our component name suggests). Our elderly recipients rarely, if ever, get to see or interact with their children or grandchildren. Since the component’s inception in 2012 (formerly known as Senior Smiles), PCH has worked to solve a long-standing problem in nursing homes/elder care culture in the United States, that problem being the social isolation and lack of intergenerational interaction the elderly endure every day in our communities. Through the Apo Project, PCH aids the increasingly underserved elderly populations of the greater Los Angeles area by sending volunteers to several nursing homes (those being Belmont Village and Santa Monica Home and Care). Our job as volunteers is to engage in recreational and physically stimulating activities with the elderly residents, give them the company they seek, and leave our seniors with smiles at least once a week. The Apo Project also works to raise more awareness amongst PCH’s members about the mental disorders our recipients typically suffer from, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, PCH’s Apo Project component has begun to provide services to the elderly remotely through recreational and informative webinars, courtesy of those at the Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI). Additionally, the Apo Project also plans on holding a pen pal system to keep in contact with both past and new residents over at Belmont Village and Santa Monica Home and Care. Although the ongoing pandemic has arguably hit the Apo Project component the hardest, PCH strives to go above and beyond the call of duty to help those that need it most regardless of the circumstances, including our elders.