NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University is taking its classrooms to the street and helping people in need at the same time.

Health professionals and students are running a series of free heath screenings in Virginia Beach.

“Our 30,000-foot vision is to move the needle in terms of wellness and public health,” said Associate Vice President for Regional Higher Education Renee Olander.

ODU health and education students and staff are providing free screenings through a program called I-Hear, which stands for Interprofessional Health Education and Research.

“We want to train our students. We also want to fill gaps in healthcare access.” Olander told

Clients received dental, vision, hearing, speech-language and mental health screenings during the first event, which was this week.

Student and Resident in Counseling Frankie Rivas told 10 On Your Side said many people simply didn’t have access to health services.

“What I’m finding is a lot of individuals who don’t have access to care, which is unfortunate
and that’s something that’s been prevalent in the 757 area that I’ve noticed,” Rivas said.

Rivas is one of about 30 students in the program. Through the program, they can provide some interventions on the spot.

Other times, students connect clients to community resources.

They even call to make appointments and find clients rides if needed.

“Really, kind of being in the trenches and in the streets with clients who really need these
services, its just something … one, rewarding for me as a clinician… but also rewarding for the clients in the community,” said Rivas.

I-Hear is a pilot program which they hope to eventually expand to help more students learn and grow in their profession, as well as help more people in need throughout the 757 — and beyond.

The next free screening community health fair will take place April 16 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Library at the Oceanfront, 700 Virginia Beach Blvd., right next to the Convention Center.